After an all to familiar round of storms jolted us awake early Monday morning with sounds of hail bashing our windows and of trees blowing apart all around us, we turned on our TV sets to see the horror of what happened in Joplin.
From the flooding along the Mississippi, the horrific carnage in Alabama, to the extreme snow events in the North East causing infrastructural collapse, it got me wondering if our current building codes are adequate for the increasingly extreme weather patterns plaguing our nation.
A rise in global natural disasters
After a quick consultation with Dr. Google, I found I’m not the only one asking this question. Increasingly insurance companies and engineers are pointing to a rather staggering increase in events causing property damage worldwide and wondering how to deal with it. A direct quote from this article at the Homeland Security News Wire:
“According to Munich Re, one of the world’s largest insurance companies, weather related incidents serious enough to cause property damage have risen sharply since 1980. The company says that extreme floods and windstorms have approximately tripled, while the number of days with heavy rainfall in South America, North America, and parts of Europe has also increased.“
In addition, the NYTimes notes that major metropolitan city planners (Chicago was highlighted in this article) are adjusting their views on building infrastructure in terms of more heat, more storms, and more water. Chicago is laying more previous pavement and has gone so far as banning the state tree, replacing them with more water friendly cypress and types of foliage more typical to the deep South.
After two years of multiple snow events in Nashville, a city that normally sees just a few inches a year, our school system is expanding the school year to allow for more snow days and after last years floods (supposedly a 1000 year event) thousands of homes and businesses have been “bought out” and demolished and are now flood ways.
How could this impact our business?
For one thing, it may become more difficult or expensive to get insurance on homes unless they are built to higher standards. This is already happening in other countries. When you look at the huge loss of life in the tornadoes this year even with the advanced warning available to us these days, and the fact that these super storms are affecting densely populated areas, homes will need to be built to withstand these weather extremes as they become more common.
At the very least, we may end up with a new type of consumer looking for homes that they feel can withstand the harsher weather conditions and it would be. Are you prepared to discuss building technology and how it might impact your consumer?