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APEGBC to Help Develop Tools to Increase Post-Disaster Community Resilience

Posted on May 1, 2017
APEGBC to Help Develop Tools to Increase Post-Disaster Community Resilience
A major earthquake, flood, wildfire or tsunami could cripple BC communities and leave thousands of residents homeless, with many buildings and residences no longer safe to occupy or even enter.

APEGBC is partnering with BC Housing, the Architectural Institute of British Columbia and the Justice Institute of British Columbia to design a framework that will enable communities to manage and recover more quickly from major disasters. The framework will allow communities experiencing a disruptive emergency to quickly assess the safety of structures and allow people to remain in or return to their homes and businesses as soon as possible, thereby increasing the communities’ resilience.

The Canadian Safety and Security Program – Post-Disaster Damage and Safety Assessment of the Built Environment is the first such project in Canada. Although developed in BC, the assessment system will be scalable and apply to rural and urban communities of all sizes throughout Canada.

Damage assessment gauges the type, quantity, cause and sometimes cost of damage to a building and can include an evaluation of the repairs needed. Safety assessment determines whether the building can be occupied and used immediately and, in some cases, identifies short-term countermeasures to reduce risk in order for the building to be occupied.

The goal of the two-year, multi-agency research project is to develop tools, models, processes and approaches to empower community-level professional and public engagement in emergency planning and safety assessment. Specifically, the research team will develop a model that allows, enables and supports credentialed and non-credentialed members of the public to assess safety in an emergency situation. Such a model would reduce the social impact of disruptive events, allowing communities to recover more quickly and reducing impact on emergency and social services.

Defence Research and Development Canada is funding the project. 

In March, the Province of BC announced a partnership with APEGBC to develop training for qualified professionals, such as engineers, architects, building inspectors and those identified as post-earthquake administrators to evaluate buildings after earthquakes. The BC Government is providing funding for the training program as part of its emergency preparedness initiatives.

For information, contact Peter Mitchell, APEGBC Director, Professional Practice.