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Business Advice4 min

Embracing the Balance Between Resilient Design and Building Codes

From destructive hurricanes to fierce tornadoes, it seems news of catastrophic events is happening with alarming frequency. In fact, on March 3, 2020, an EF3 tornado tracked less than one mile from the LP Building Solutions headquarters in downtown Nashville, Tennessee, ripping through homes and businesses. While no traditional building can withstand the tremendous forces of disastrous weather events, it reminds us that embracing resilient construction and adopting stronger building codes could help protect our families, friends and neighbors.

What is sustainability in building design?

In some areas, the definitions of sustainability and resiliency dovetail together. Sustainable construction is the practice of reducing or eliminating environmental impact.

Resilient design architecture is the intentional design of buildings and communities in response to natural and manmade disasters. “Disaster-resistant homes are designed to withstand a disaster event while making that building operational—or able to occupy—after the event,” says housing expert and licensed architect Sam Rashkin, founder of Retooling the Housing Industry. “Disaster resistance is part of high-performance home construction, helping occupants survive the event and live in the structure after the fact.” 

Sustainability and resiliency in the national building code

National building codes set the standard for safe, affordable construction of all buildings and specify the minimum requirements for safeguarding people and property. The national building codes do not address resilient building construction. However, as the country endures natural disasters and the aftereffects of wind and flooding, revisions to the building codes may influence resilient design and building. As the impacts of climate change accelerate, the need to rapidly assess and integrate the economic benefits of building resiliently, both in the public and private sectors, is imperative. 

Impact of resilient building codes

Certain areas of the U.S. have adopted tough building codes to help safeguard residents and their property from disasters. From hurricane-resistant construction in Florida to Wildland Urban Interface (WUI) structure policies in wildfire-prone California, surveying damage after a disaster has hit has shown that stricter local codes are working.

Advocates who enthusiastically adopt means to strengthen building structures against wind, fire and water are better equipped to adhere to and exceed local, state and federal building. A host of nonprofit consumer advocate groups—such as Federal Alliance for Safe Homes, Alliance for National and Community Resilience, BuildStrong Coalition, and even the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers—work with builders, architects, construction professionals, local government and homeowners to adopt structural and aftermarket products to create more resilient homes.

Prioritizing resilient design in building codes

As builders and professional contractors know, flood risk changes over time and for many reasons. As a result, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) updates flood hazard maps to indicate risk at a property-by-property level. 

However, stronger building codes do not follow behind these flood maps. Homeowners mapped in high-risk areas are thereby required to purchase flood insurance if their mortgage is supported by a federally regulated or insured lender. 

Prioritizing the design and construction of a resilient building envelope that is supported by locally enforced building codes can help save lives and significantly reduce property damage. Many areas across the country are recognizing the need for resilient design, and architects and builders are exploring ways to build above the standard required for building codes.

RELATED: Exploring Building Envelope Innovations that Improve Air Quality.

In large metropolitan areas and in progressive cities, building codes are strictly enforced. However, in many areas, there is no codes enforcement.

At LP, we are hopeful builders and professionals look to constantly innovate, both in resilient and sustainable construction, seeking to build long-lasting and enduring homes built over and above the local code.

Sustainability affects us all. See how LP manages the environmental footprint of all our operations and the details guiding our environmental management initiatives.

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Business Advice4 min

Radiant Barriers For Attic: A Quick Guide

Maybe you’ve been thinking about installing a radiant barrier in your attic but have a few questions. Is the upfront cost worth it in the long run? What are the advantages? What areas of the country are appropriate for a radiant barrier? How do I make sure I install it properly? Let’s take a look at a few of these questions and see if a radiant barrier is right for you.

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Industry Trends5 min
Trends: Five Best Sustainable Building Materials Best Practices

Sustainability and green construction are dominating homebuilding trends as homeowners are choosing energy efficiency as a primary driver in their purchase consideration. However, just as all trends evolve, we’re seeing the definition of sustainability expand to include health and wellness. What does this mean for you when installing sustainable building materials? Choosing non-toxic building materials and safe building materials have tremendous benefits not only for homeowners but for you and your crew, too.

Business Advice4 min
Prepare for the 2021 Storm Season With More Weather Resistant Siding

Do you frequently build in regions with heavy rain or strong winds? 2021 is projected to be a severe storm season, which means your builds will need some extra reinforcement. Finding the most durable siding or building solution for your projects can be confusing. Thankfully there are practical ways and durable products to help prevent damage and help protect against harsh weather so you can be prepared before the storm season arrives.

Inspiration5 min
Small Home Design Ideas: Best Exterior Colors for Your Custom Smaller Home

You’re likely building more smaller houses than you were about five years ago. Homeowners across the country want affordability, energy efficiency, or simply less home to clean and maintain so they have the weekend to explore—or they’re empty nesters. Whatever the reason, they still want their small home exterior to have maximum curb appeal and have all the charm and pizzazz of a larger home.