What does the next unpredicted catastrophic event hold for your business?

This is the third in a series of posts about designing for resiliency. In the first post, our Founder and CEO, Sandra Leigh Lester, spoke about a catastrophic weather event that affected her home town when she was a child and how it continues to inspire her work. In the second post, she spoke about an example of how resilient design strategies were used in a project rebuild over twenty years after the original building was constructed and why climate change made these design changes necessary. Today, she is going to speak about how you need to carefully hire your architect so that they have enough knowledge and time to create a resilient building.

An organization either has capacity within its organization to determine what their needs are for their facilities or they need to hire experts to help them discover their needs. You decide whether a new facility will be built or if you will renovate an existing facility. You choose a location for your new facility. It’s perfect. You will write up the space program for the facility. You get excited! You create a budget for the construction or for the renovations. But what are your assumptions going to be when you create your “wish list” and budget? 

How is this development going to serve your organization? What are the priorities? How do you decide how resilient to make the building?

Will you be building into your budget for anything that is beyond what is required to meet the building code? Will you build a green building? Will you build a resilient building? Will you build a healthy building? What is the difference between all of these terms and what combination of parameters or measures of success is best for you? (That is one of our specialties so if this is an urgent need, then contact us right away! We can help!)

Usually you will procure your building design service by sending out a “Request for Proposal for Design Services” (RFP). At this point, there is a building site, an idea of a function that the building will facilitate, and a budget. Within this document is the Scope of Work that the Architect is responsible for executing. This is where you tell your Architect what regulations and standards that they have to achieve in order to complete their project.

We mentioned in the last part of our port about how we cannot predict actual events but we can predict the odds of occurence. What design performance parameters will your design team design for? If they are designing for situations that are beyond what the normal code-compliant building they are doing additional design work that they have to budget for, and those performance standards have to be in your RFP in order for you to get a competitive quote.

If you are a publicly-traded company then you have a duty to your shareholders to conscientiously operate the organization so that you are mitigating financial risk to your shareholder. In terms of property insurance and business continuity, it is in your best interest to have your Architects design a building that is resilient.

But how resilient? Are you asking your Architects to design for: one-in-a-hundred-year storm events; one-in-two-hundred-year storm events; or one-in-five-hundred-year storm events? What is the difference in first costs? What is the difference in ongoing overland flood insurance?

We named this series of webinars with a snarky pessimistic title, but we truly don’t believe that, “We all are screwed!!”. With foresight, and a tight RFP, you can truly create a resilient building that allows you to have capacity for riding out potential natural disasters and future weather events.

Want to find out more? We’ll be doing a webinar on this topic soon! Sign up now.