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Architects brief lawmakers and policy-makers on disaster recovery as hurricane season approaches

Urge senate passage of disaster recovery reform act; Relationship-building with local communities.

May 17, 2018 |
A hurricane in Key West

The American Institute of Architects (AIA) is urging Senate lawmakers to adopt the Disaster Recovery Reform Act (DRRA) to ensure communities across America can recover from natural disasters more efficiently and cost-effectively.

AIA is supporting the legislation as it will prioritize pre-disaster mitigation and ensure that post-disaster assistance enables communities to rebuild with the latest model building codes to ensure future resiliency.

“Strong, disaster-resilient building codes are a vital foundation to creating safer communities,” said Rose Grant, chair of AIA’s disaster assistance committee. “Adoption of these codes go even further to help the built-environment battle the onslaught of billion-dollar disasters.”

Grant was speaking at the AIA’s educational briefing for policy makers Tuesday night, which provided insights on the lessons architects have learned serving as responders with AIA’s Disaster Assistance Program following hurricanes Maria, Harvey and Irma last year. The briefing also featured insights into how communities can prepare for the 2018 hurricane season that commences June 1.

“As hurricane season approaches, architects stand ready to help communities prepare for and recover from the kind of weather related events that victimized so many,” said AIA EVP and Chief Executive Officer Robert Ivy, FAIA. “We hope this discussion brings new insights and appreciation for how architects can assist communities in recovering from disasters and help to prepare for them in the future.”

AIA's Disaster Assistance Program has trained thousands of architect volunteers in responding to disasters. Through the program, architects serve as second responders providing critical safety inspections of buildings and infrastructures following disasters. In addition, architects provide lawmakers with insights and lessons they learn in the field to help shape better policies around disasters, which includes resilient-building policies.

“Forging relationships between architects and local officials is key to mitigating and preventing the damage caused by weather related disasters,” said Illya Azaroff, AIA (principal of +LAB Architect PLLC). “Of the post-Sandy policies AIA recommended, nine were enacted into law in New York and 10 were included in the New York City building code. This is just one of the many examples where architects have been able to lend their expertise to shape policies that support a better built environment.”

Visit AIA’s website for more information on its Disaster Assistance Program.

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