Support for Our Role in Creating a Safer World


Rick Yelton

I often wonder what I’ve accomplished in my 25 years of reporting on the concrete industry. In this quarter century of word-crafting, I’ve written about the need for better acceptance of our materials to protect our communities from fire, wind, flood, and earthquakes, but lately I wonder if anyone is listening.

I hit this low point two weeks ago. First, there was a call from my son who lives in New Orleans discussing mobilization plans as forecasters warned that a hurricane was moving towards the Crescent City. The storm turned eastward, minimizing his exposure this time, but still devastated thousands of others. The next day, a close friend told me about the exploits of brave souls who were working on saving structures from advancing wildfires in Oregon.

I’m sure many of you have had similar phone calls. The extent of these mass destruction events is especially disturbing to concrete and masonry professionals. We know that our building methods and materials can create more resilient structures, communities, and lives, but how do we convince the public? Now have another resource to help spread the message of the importance of investing in resilience.

In August 2020, the Multi-Hazard Mitigation Council of the National Institute of Building Sciences published “A Roadmap to Resilience Incentivization.” This informative, 37-page document outlines several incentives, such as mortgage discounts, insurance premium discounts, tax incentives, grants, and other inducements that can reduce owner costs while making new and existing infrastructure more disaster resilient. 

The roadmap offers some very somber financial consequences when structures cannot withstand the forces of natural catastrophes. For example, in 2017, the cost of destruction in the U.S. was about $300 billion, with losses increasing about 6% annually, 10 times faster than the population growth.

There are two ways to look at these figures. On our current path, the council states that in 2017 disasters effectively unmade one-quarter of that year’s new building value. While not adopting more resilient standards and building codes might create more business for some, I’m sure everyone would rather have projects that expand our society, not just replace it.

This roadmap was not written for the contractors and producers who attend the World of Concrete. The target audience is key decision makers in your communities and within your customer base. It’s the type of information that insurance executives, loan officers, and development executives should know when considering new projects. And just as important, local officials should understand how opting for more resilient structures will benefit their communities.

This document is also useful to our industry promoters. The unbiased information melds well with the messages that masonry and concrete organizations are sharing every day.

I encourage you download the report by clicking here and then share it. Perhaps we can use this as ammunition to convince our communities to create more resilient structures, resulting in less news about destruction of buildings and loss of life, and helping people everywhere to know their loved ones are safer.