May 27, 2017

Resilient Building Design with Bautex Wall System

Resilient design protects a building and its occupants from high winds, flooding, and other extreme weather events and natural disasters. The resilient building design concept has grown in recent decades in response to a rise in severe weather and natural disasters occurrences due to climate change. The buildup of greenhouse gasses from the burning of fossil fuels (gas and coal) has contributed to adverse impacts:: more acidic oceans due to increasing carbon dioxide levels, rising sea levels due to increasing rates of glacial melting, and more frequent and severe weather events. Securing the integrity of a building and the safety of the occupants from severe weather and natural disaster events drives resilient building design.

Builders and architects understand that resilient design must take into account what happens during and after a disaster. It is also vital that resilience design address both the acute and chronic events that are unique to a location. Acute events are single occurrences like hurricanes, tornadoes, and earthquakes. Chronic events are long-term changes like climate changes and shifting weather patterns. Resilient building design focuses on the chronic and acute disaster events, specific to an area, for the purpose of ensuring a building’s integrity along with the immediate safety and short-term survivability of the occupants.

Disaster Resilient Building Design

Disaster resilient building design emphasizes durability and strength. The building should maintain or regain its functionality when faced with a significant weather event or natural disaster, like the deadly storm that ripped through the southwest in early May killing 13 people. Builders and architects can turn to several federal agencies for advice on disaster resilient building design. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) provides building code advice on the hazard-resistant provisions for earthquake, flood, wind and hurricane and tornado shelters. The International Code Council (ICC) Family of Companies recommends utilizing current International Codes (I-Codes) to create a cost effective, disaster resilient building.

The I-Codes cover all aspects of construction, including, but not limited to:

  • The International Building Code (IBC) for existing and new buildings
  • The International Residential Code (IRC) for new and existing one- and two-family homes and townhouses no more than three stories in height
  • The International Property Maintenance Code (IPMC) addresses maintenance issues for continued safe use of existing buildings
  • The International Existing Building Code (IEBC) addresses alteration, repair, addition, or change in occupancy of existing structures.

Resilient building design utilizes strong and properly implemented national building codes for water, earthquake, storm and fire resistance. Resilient building design must also ensure the short-term survival of occupants after a disaster that disrupts normal life. After a disaster, a resilient building should provide trapped occupants adequate natural lighting, ventilation, heating or cooling, water and accessible, safe escape ladders or hatches. Contractors, architects, and building owners can refer to the national building codes for guidance in constructing disaster resilient structures.

Bautex Wall Assembly Fits the Standards for Resilient Building Design  

  • Bautex Block Wall Assembly meets the FEMA 320 and FEMA 361 guidelines in storm zones with possible wind speeds up to 250 miles per hour. The Bautex Blocks also meet or exceed ICC-500 and FEMA standards for debris impact.
  • Bautex Block Wall Assembly meets and exceed industry's standard for fire resistance. They have an ASTM E119 fire rating of four-hours (twice the two-hour requirement), and ASTM E84 reported values for flame speed of zero and smoke development of twenty. In addition the Bautex Blocks meet the E84 and NFPA 286 and therefore meet the NFPA 101 code.

As severe weather events and natural disasters increase resilient building techniques are quickly becoming essential. Unfortunately, many technologies to achieve higher resiliency can be more expensive than traditional building techniques.. However, a FEMA study done by the National Institute of Building Sciences’ Multihazard Mitigation Council, shows that for every dollar spent on mitigation efforts, like adopting current codes, post-disaster relief costs are reduced by four dollars. In the long run, resilient building design is better financially, environmentally, and for the safety of the building’s occupants. Visit Bautex™ Wall Systems for more information on the benefits of insulated concrete blocks in resilient building design.