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New Rating System Establishes Facility Resilience


Resilience is one of the hot-button words du jour. It indicates an ability to withstand an external force and bounce back. While the merit of focusing on raising resilient kids can be debated, the merit of building and managing resilient facilities and communities can not. As talks in Paris debate the proper course of action to stabilize the climate in the future, the current reality is that facilities throughout the nation and the world are already dealing with more extreme external forces. Building and rebuilding in a status quo fashion is not an option.

To this end, the commercial real estate industry at all levels has been seeking ways to create and operate facilities in a more resilient fashion. A recent addition to the conversation is the US Resiliency Council, which just came online in the last quarter of 2015. Modeled after the USGBC, the US Resiliency Council (USRC) says it seeks to establish and implement "a building rating system, education about the vulnerability of our built environment, certification of engineers, and deliver credible evaluations of building performance in natural and man-made disasters."

The USRC includes 64 founding members made up of organizations in earthquake and structural engineering, many large and small structural engineering firms, architects, contractors and hardware and software suppliers.  

In November it launched the USRC Earthquake Building Rating System. The Rating System assigns one to five stars for three performance measures—safety, damage (repair cost) and recovery (time to regain basic function). "The USRC rating system allows an owner to specify the desired level of performance rather than accept by default the life safety performance of a building designed to the minimum level prescribed by the building code," according to the organization.

Future rating systems are planned for hurricanes, tornadoes and floods.

To learn more about the current conversation around resilience in commercial facilities, go to Building Operating Management.

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