New research led by an MIT graduate student at the school’s Concrete Sustainability Hub suggests that the value of buildings constructed to resist wind damage in hurricanes may be significantly underestimated.
The research found that the failure of wind loss models to account for neighborhood texture—the density and configuration of surrounding buildings—may result in a more than 80% undervaluation of structures built with stronger construction methods in Florida. Hazus, a loss estimation tool used by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), estimates physical and economic damage to buildings due to wind and the impact of windborne debris.
The tool assumes that all buildings in a neighborhood experience the same wind loading, but buildings come in many different shapes and sizes can be arranged in numerous ways. Their configuration and positioning can amplify or reduce the wind load on buildings within the neighborhood.
In a model developed by MIT researchers, the texture-related loss implications were found to be higher in census tracts along the coast. These areas tend to be more dense and ordered, leading to higher wind load amplifications. Loss implications are particularly high for single-family homes, which are more susceptible to damage and have a higher replacement cost per housing unit.
Concrete | Mar 17, 2023
American Concrete Institute releases new guide for shotcrete construction
The American Concrete Institute, through the work of ACI Committee 506, has released ACI PRC-506-22: Shotcrete—Guide. The newly introduced guide provides information on materials and properties of both dry-mix and wet-mix shotcrete and covers most facets of the shotcrete process including application procedures, equipment requirements, and responsibilities of the shotcrete crew.
Architects | Mar 16, 2023
HKS launches partner diversity program to create a more diverse workforce and partnership network
Design firm HKS has launched a new partner diversity program that will work to build a more diverse AEC ecosystem. The HKS xBE program will give xBE firms (a term encompassing all disadvantaged businesses) and their members “access to opportunities to build relationships, pursue new work, and bolster innovation within the architecture and design professions,” according to HKS.
Sustainability | Mar 16, 2023
Lack of standards for carbon accounting hamper emissions reduction
A lack of universally accepted standards for collecting, managing, and storing greenhouse gas emissions data (i.e., carbon accounting) is holding back carbon reduction efforts, according to an essay published by the Rocky Mountain Institute.
Building Tech | Mar 14, 2023
Reaping the benefits of offsite construction, with ICC's Ryan Colker
Ryan Colker, VP of Innovation at the International Code Council, discusses how municipal regulations and inspections are keeping up with the expansion of off-site manufacturing for commercial construction. Colker speaks with BD+C's John Caulfield.
Student Housing | Mar 13, 2023
University of Oklahoma, Missouri S&T add storm-safe spaces in student housing buildings for tornado protection
More universities are incorporating reinforced rooms in student housing designs to provide an extra layer of protection for students. Storm shelters have been included in recent KWK Architects-designed university projects in the Great Plains where there is a high incidence of tornadoes. Projects include Headington and Dunham Residential Colleges at the University of Oklahoma and the University Commons residential complex at Missouri S&T.
Adaptive Reuse | Mar 5, 2023
Pittsburgh offers funds for office-to-residential conversions
The City of Pittsburgh’s redevelopment agency is accepting applications for funding from developers on projects to convert office buildings into affordable housing. The city’s goals are to improve downtown vitality, make better use of underutilized and vacant commercial office space, and alleviate a housing shortage.
Student Housing | Mar 5, 2023
Calif. governor Gavin Newsom seeks to reform environmental law used to block student housing
California Gov. Gavin Newsom wants to reform a landmark state environmental law that he says was weaponized by wealthy homeowners to block badly needed housing for students at the University of California, Berkeley.
Green Renovation | Mar 5, 2023
Dept. of Energy offers $22 million for energy efficiency and building electrification upgrades
The Buildings Upgrade Prize (Buildings UP) sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy is offering more than $22 million in cash prizes and technical assistance to teams across America. Prize recipients will be selected based on their ideas to accelerate widespread, equitable energy efficiency and building electrification upgrades.
Windows and Doors | Mar 5, 2023
2022 North American Fenestration Standard released
The 2022 edition of AAMA/WDMA/CSA 101/I.S.2/A440, “North American Fenestration Standard/Specification for windows, doors, and skylights” (NAFS) has been published. The updated 2022 standard replaces the 2017 edition, part of a continued evolution of the standard to improve harmonization across North America, according to a news release.
Codes | Mar 2, 2023
Biden Administration’s proposed building materials rules increase domestic requirements
The Biden Administration’s proposal on building materials rules used on federal construction and federally funded state and local buildings would significantly boost the made-in-America mandate. In the past, products could qualify as domestically made if at least 55% of the value of their components were from the U.S.