August 30, 2016 / Member Resources

Top 10 Resilient Design Resources

1     FEMA Design Guides

FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) has developed hundreds of guidelines specific to resilient architecture and design strategies.  There are guides for specific building types (including residential, hospital, school, and non-residential), and specific hazards (flood, high wind, seismic, etc.)  Sifting through all of the guides can be a challenge for any architect.  To get you started, we recommend checking out the Building Science publications available through FEMA.

2     Lessons Learned

Case studies and lessons learned from past disasters are very helpful for learning about resilient design.  In the Maryland area, particularly in coastal regions, we can learn a lot from case studies developed out of Post- Hurricane Sandy initiatives.  New York and New Jersey have put together many resources in response to the Hurricane Sandy disaster. “Retrofitting Buildings for Flood Risk” from NYC Planning reviews strategies for coastal communities.  PlaNYC, a special initiative for rebuilding and resiliency is an ongoing project that seeks to address the growing population, the rise in inequality, and economic change.  You can download reports and monitor the progress at their website about OneNYC.  Baltimore city is doing a similar project with their DP3 initiative.

3     Action Lists

Action lists and checklists have become popular tools to verify if a building’s design is meeting desired criteria.  One example of a popular action list many architects use to verify if a building is sustainable or not is LEED.  Similar kinds of lists and programs exist for resilient design.  LEED itself has pilot credits for resilient design under the Integrative Process category:

  • IPpc98 – Assessment and Planning for Resilience
  • IPpc99 – Design for Enhanced Resilience
  • IPpc100 – Passive Survivability and Functionality During Emergencies

These reference other programs, developed in partnership with insurance companies such as Fortified and the REDi rating system, which are, in themselves, their own action lists.  The Fortified program is more specific to single family residential and REDi is focused on earthquake design.
Another checklist similar to LEED, but specific to resilient design is the RELi Resiliency Action List developed by C3 Living Design Project.

4     US Climate Resilience Toolkit

This is probably one of the best “one stop shop” resources for resilient design and supporting documentation for issues related to climate change.  The US Climate Resilience Toolkit was built as a way for people to access available federal government information about resilience in one, easy to use location. The effort to build the site is led by NOAA and NASA and provides information for citizens, policy makers, and designers alike.  It is great for architects to use and share with clients and developers.

5     National Institute of Building Sciences

NIBS is a non-profit government organization that brings together stakeholders from all sides of the table from policy makers to architects to community members, to develop and distribute the latest information in building science.  They have a whole section of their website dedicated to Building Resilience Resources.  This includes links to other, similar sites such as the Whole Building Design Guide which is a NIBS program specifically developed for designers.

6     FLASH Resilient Design Guide

FLASH, the Federal Alliance for Safe Homes, and AIA teamed up to create a comprehensive graphic guide comparing ordinary construction, high wind construction and resilient construction.  While the techniques are more specific to single family homes, the lessons offered in this guide can be applied to any project.  The FLASH Resilient Design Guide is available as a free pdf download online.

7     Historic Preservation Guides

Historic preservation organizations such as the Maryland Trust for Historic Preservation have a wealth of information about how to retrofit existing buildings and appropriately repair historic buildings affected by disasters, particularly flooding.  The National Trust for Historic Preservation has a guide that is helpful about The Treatment of Flood Damaged Older and Historic Buildings.

8     Maps for High Wind and Flooding

There are many resources online that feature the latest maps for high wind and flooding.  FEMA has a very comprehensive wind zone map featuring maps for tornados and hurricanes.  FEMA also has a flood map resource available online where you can enter a specific address for your site to see available flood maps.  If you want more information on maps, FEMA’s GeoPlatform includes maps for all sorts of data related to emergency management is also available online.  The EPA Climate Projections Map is also a fascinating resource that can be helpful with predicting how a site will be affected by climate change in the future.  NOAA’s Sea Level Rise map is also good for analysis of coastal areas.

9     UN ESCAP Resilient Construction and Design Guide

The United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and Pacific has very comprehensive resources related to design for high winds and seismic loads.  Although specifically targeted at addressing typhoons and earthquakes, the information within their Resilient Construction and Design Guide is easy to understand with clear visuals and graphics.  Similar principles can be applied for buildings on the east coast, which are prone to some seismic and hurricane hazards.

10   AIA Resources

AIA National has many resources for architects on the subject of resilient design, including many of the links in this list.  More information will be added very soon as AIA develops new curriculum on resilient design.

Additional Resources

The Resilient Design Institute
Rebuild by Design 
Better Buildings
Resource guide written by COTE | R co-chair Martina Reilly.