A number of organisations have welcomed moves by building codes in Australia, New Zealand, Canada and the US to collectively improve the resilience of built environments in preparation for extreme weather.
The Australian Building Codes Board has teamed up with The National Research Council of Canada, the New Zealand Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment and the International Code Council (US) to launch the Global Resiliency Dialogue.
The collective has released 'Findings on Changing Risk and Building Codes', which outlines the need to act collaboratively.
"Across the globe, the intensity, duration, frequency and location of extreme weather events are changing," says the document. "Communities and the built environment they rely on to support their economic and social prosperity must be prepared to respond to these changing risks.
"Building codes are fundamental to assuring buildings support the health, safety and welfare of communities, including protecting life during hazardous events. Therefore, building code development and research organisations recognise the need to work collaboratively to address the challenges posed by changing risks."
Building code developers and industry representatives must work with climate scientists and regulators to establish appropriate models and methodologies that allow development of forward-looking strategies to address changing risks, it states. "To create a more resilient future, adapting to changing conditions while also mitigating the environmental impacts of buildings is needed. While building codes are a fundamental component of a resilient built environment, resilience relies on deployment of a comprehensive strategy that engages the public and private sectors."
Australian organisations endorsing the Dialogue and its recommendations include the Australian Sustainable Built Environment Council (ASBEC), Australian Institute for Disaster Resilience, Australian Fire and Emergency Services Authorities Council, Engineers Australia, Geoscience Australia, Insurance Council of Australia, Planning Institute of Australia and Standards Australia.
"Australia's built environment includes the places where we live, work, play and educate our kids," says ASBEC director Suzanne Toumbourou. "We rely on our built environment for our health and prosperity, but it is vulnerable to climate change. Our building code can play a vital role in protecting us from a future of extreme weather and wild fluctuations in temperature.
"Like COVID-19, climate change knows no borders and the best response is an international one. Strong building codes, which take climate change into account, are the key to buildings which are safer, healthier, more energy efficient and sustainable," she concludes.