the world are developing and implementing strategies to strengthen their
communities in hopes of surviving
and thriving after the next storm.
Storms on the Gulf Coast.
Hurricanes Ivan and Katrina
scratched away at Orange Beach’s
already depleted beachfront—the
city’s first line of defense.
Since the storms, Orange Beach has
poured millions of dollars into building up the beachfront through beach
nourishment practices and building
up the dune system, Smith said.
If storms are ever strong enough
to best Orange Beach’s developed
beaches, the beachfront structures
are now stronger and meet up-to-date
building codes. The city’s flood hazards maps have also been stringently
upgraded, he said.
Prior to Hurricane Ivan in 2004,
Orange Beach was using older building codes. The city now uses the most
current international codes with a
coastal code supplement.
The FORTIFIED Home code-plus
program is one supplement that
emphasizes resilient roofing, and roof
Green Building Council awarded the
first LEED Resilient Design Pilot
Credit in October 2016.
Resiliency Varies by Location
Climatic and economic challenges
vary city-by-city and region-by-region,
so no one-size-fits-all resiliency plan
exists that can protect cities, buildings
and people against weather events.
More than half—52%—of Americans live near a coast along a body
of water, according to the National
Ocean Service. Historically, the more
populated cities are situated along
coasts internationally as well. These
locations near waterways provided
convenient access to trade routes, but
the nearness to water and its climatic
effects and storms also challenge the
cities’ infrastructures. The threats
vary by coast, challenging each
city to find customized strategies
When it comes to building resilient
buildings and communities, cities, engineers, architects and other
industry professionals throughout
Since the storms, Orange Beach mandates various resiliency requirements to fortify its buildings. “Resiliency has got to
be achieved at the community level.
If you’ve got one resilient house over
here and one over there, that’s not
resilience. Even though you’ve got
those families back, you still don’t
have your community back,” he said.
Storms come fast and bring destruction often described as unprecedented
During the last weekend in August,
Hurricane Harvey stalled over Texas,
dumping excessive rainfall amounts
on southeast Texas and parts of
Louisiana. Harvey’s floods turned
roads into waterways as first responders used boats to rescue those in danger from the rising waters.
As HPB Magazine was going to
press, some parts of the Houston
metropolitan area had already seen
more than 30 inches of rain, and the
Weather Channel reported the city
could be inundated with more rain in
the week after Harvey made landfall.
The flood disaster could be the
worst in American history, according
to the Weather Channel.
Resilient buildings are strong
enough to survive and operate during
climate events—such as floods—and
can adapt to deal with future threats.
How It’s Been Done:
•Build up the beachfront
•Enforce strong roof
•Use unvented roofs
•Install impact-resistant windows
Army National Guard Lt. Zachary West
A Texas National Guardsman
carries a resident from her home
during flooding caused by Hurricane
Harvey in Houston, Texas.