ICC: Adapting building standards to changing weather risks

WOBO thanks Judy Zakreski, Vice President of Global Services ICC, for the link to the article on adapting building standards.


The devastating storms and associated power outages in Texas are yet another reminder that our infrastructure and #buildings need to be #resilient to #extremeweather. We’re working globally to ensure that #buildingcodes are designed to protect against ongoing and future risks. Check out my article in the Building Safety Journal for an overview of the work being undertaken by the Global Resiliency Dialogue. #buildingsafety365

The city of Norfolk, Va., is plagued with challenges due to sea-level rise, which results in so-called “sunny day flooding” — that is, encroachment of coastal waters unrelated to storm surge or rain. Norfolk, like many coastal cities throughout the United States and around the world, realizes that this problem will only intensify with time. Drastic measures are required to ensure the resiliency of the city for decades to come.

Norfolk participated in the 100 Resilient Cities (100RC) program1. As a result, the coastal city developed a robust plan for community resilience, called Vision 2100,2 which maps the city using anticipated natural hazard planning based on forecasts for the year 2100. Norfolk’s Vision 2100 plan recommends several large-scale actions, including:

  • focusing major infrastructure investments, such as schools, water treatment facilities, recreation centers, and libraries, in the areas of the city at the lowest risk of long-term flooding;
  • improving transportation, including road transportation for cars and public transportation, bicycles, and pedestrians, to these most resilient areas and all other areas of the city;
  • encouraging individual responsibility by residents, businesses, and organizations to implement resiliency strategies, even if their own property is not directly threatened by flooding due to sea-level rise;
  • adjusting zoning and incentive programs to encourage the development of housing in areas at the lowest risk of flooding, especially those that create mixed-income neighborhoods to eliminate the greatest risk from being posed to those who are already economically disadvantaged; and
  • fostering emergent resiliency-based industries that can develop new technologies and industries.

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