Building Owners Must Protect Themselves from Climate Change

The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Terra satellite image of Hurricane Sandy off the southeastern United States. Image Credit: Public domain NASA image courtesy LANCE MODIS Rapid Response Team at NASA GSFC.

Canada’s current infrastructure faces a challenge similar to every other country: its roads, bridges, and public structures are slowly aging. But this is not the only problem Canada is facing.

According to President Michael Atkinson of the Canadian Construction Association (CCA), “That one in 100 year storm…it’s not coming one in 100 now, it’s one in every 50 and they’re more severe so as a result there’s been many more instances where weather has overpowered the existing infrastructure. Climate change adaptation. There’s no question that that will be a major theme of infrastructure strategy and planning in Canada going forward.”

President Atkinson’s thinking presents a point of view that most construction firms and countries refuse to face: that there is a need to adjust construction standards to ensure that they can withstand fortuitous events especially storms that wreak havoc much more often than they used to.

The CCA emphasized why a long-term infrastructure plan is of primary importance. According to the Municipal Infrastructure Forum in a press conference, they recently held, there is an urgent need for funding for long-term infrastructure once the Building Canada Plan reaches its expiry in 2014.

The Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) is a forum that started in February 2012. It was a partnership among key stakeholders and groups across Canada, to ensure that the right plan is produced for the country.

Robert Tremblay, the Insurance Bureau of Canada director of research said, “What we’ve seen over the past few years is disturbing trends in both wind and water damage. The fastest growing pressure on our infrastructure is the coming of flash rain, wind and ice storms.” He noted the estimated damage that is expected to be caused by Superstorm Sandy in insured losses: as much as $20 billion.

Homeowners and building owners must likewise take a step to protecting their buildings from climate change and other harsh weather elements. Is yours ready?

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