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Sue Klawans
Vice President, Director of Operational Excellence and Planning
Gilbane Building Company
Providence, R.I.

We see increasing emphasis on resilience and sustainability, coupled with more sophisticated materials and systems. At the same time, we must deliver buildings faster, more safely and with higher quality. 

To mount these challenges, we turn to lean methodologies. We begin with the end in mind and plan for outcomes. This requires a holistic, high-performance planning and decision-making approach. Consider frameworks such as the National Institute of Building Sciences’ Integrated Resilient Design Program and the National Performance Based Design Guide.

We also implement advanced planning and scheduling techniques to improve our reliability and production planning and we utilize virtual design and construction to build it before we build it. We incorporate offsite construction to improve safety and quality as well. 

It takes truly integrated, cohesive teams to openly share knowledge and commit to continuous improvement. 

Rachel Minnery
Director of Built Environment Policy
American Institute of Architects
Washington, D.C.

Disasters are increasing in frequency and severity and are further impacted by a changing climate. As a building owner, how do I know the risk to my building and business? While model codes provide owners and occupants with an accepted standard for fire and life safety, they provide limited property protection. Some owners choose a higher building performance when they know the difference between a code-compliant building and one that is “above code.”

New regulations already are emerging for public buildings, and the private sector won’t be far behind in order to afford building owners (and taxpayers) additional safety and security in their investments.

Aligning building performance expectations with community resilience is essential for continuity of service during and after a disaster and for the service life of a building; thus, development decisions, building science and construction methodologies will evolve to reflect consumer expectations.  

Ryan Colker
Director of the Council on Finance, Insurance and Real Estate
National Institute of Building Sciences
Washington, D.C.

Resilience is really about moving beyond cost-based decision-making to capture the long-term benefits that will accrue over the life of the building.

Contractors will be increasingly looked to for practical solutions on how to remain viable before, during and after a disruptive event. Working with architects, engineers, building owners and regulators, contractors can help identify the most cost-effective strategy to meet community and owner expectations.

Contractors should educate themselves on current strategies for resilience (e.g., locating critical equipment above flood levels, elevating structures, etc.) and then share that knowledge with their clients. By understanding the long-term value of investment in resilience strategies and being able to convey that to clients, contractors can help support expanded retrofit opportunities and show their interest in the long-term viability of the project, the owner and the community.

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