The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) recently published a series of guides, Designing for Natural Hazards: A Resilience Guide for Builders & Developers, to help home builders incorporate resilience in their home designs.
The guides were authored by Home Innovation Research Labs with technical assistance from NAHB members and staff.
The United States spends billions of dollars annually helping communities recover from natural disasters caused by wildfires, hurricanes, floods, tornadoes, blizzards and other natural hazards. To reduce the impacts associated with these natural hazard events, federal agencies, including HUD, pursue initiatives to improve the resilience of housing, including the development of technical guidance.
Home Innovation Research Labs was tasked by HUD to convene a technical advisory group of industry stakeholders including builders, architects, structural engineers and building officials charged with developing a set of practical, cost-effective guidelines to assist home builders and developers in designing and constructing residential buildings and structures to improve their resistance to natural hazards and promote community resiliency.
The resilience guides provide technical content in a straightforward way that is easy to understand, while also providing full details for design professionals, builders, developers and public officials. The guides can be used for new construction, retrofits and remodeling, and post-disaster repair and reconstruction.
The guide comprises five volumes, each focusing on a major category of natural hazard that may impact a given project:
- Designing for Natural Hazards Series Volume 1: Wind
- Designing for Natural Hazards Series Volume 2: Water
- Designing for Natural Hazards Series Volume 3: Fire
- Designing for Natural Hazards Series Volume 4: Earth
- Designing for Natural Hazards Series Volume 5: Auxiliary (volcanoes, temperature extremes, etc.)
The technical advisory group recognized that natural hazards are more likely to cause certain types of damage. To address this, the guidelines provide a mitigation strategy that prioritizes high-frequency damage as identified in post-event damage assessments over damage that rarely occurs. This novel approach encourages improving those elements of a house that are most susceptible to damage and can be used to leverage disaster mitigation grants intended to reduce future damage to our housing stock.
Former NAHB Chairman Randy Noel served as the chair of the technical advisory group, which included many prominent NAHB members. Additional NAHB members and staff also served on the task groups for each guide.