As the nation marks the one-year anniversary of Hurricane Sandy and its devastating effects to many Mid-Atlantic and Northeastern states, the Ready Mixed Concrete (RMC) Research & Education Foundation continues its mission to educate builders, homeowners, designers, specifiers, legislators, municipal representatives and others of the vital need to consider strength, durability and resiliency as part of community rebuilding. Important work funded by the Foundation in this area includes the report Coast in the Eye of the Storm - Hurricane Katrina: August 29, 2005 as well as the groundbreaking research taking place at the Concrete Sustainability Hub (CSH) at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).
Co-funded by the RMC Research & Education Foundation and the Mississippi Concrete Industries Association, the Hurricane Katrina study was conducted by Mississippi State University's Civil Engineering Department in the fall of 2005 within weeks of the storm. The report includes a forensic evaluation of how different building systems withstand catastrophic weather events including the high winds, projectile damage, storm surge and flooding associated with hurricanes. The report also includes recommendations for strengthening building codes, which may be important as areas rebuild. The findings of the study helped to affect changes in building codes along Mississippi's coastal region.
Co-founded by the Portland Cement Association (PCA) and the Foundation in 2009, the MIT CSH research includes work on the life cycle assessment of buildings and, in its next phase of work, will involve important resiliency research as well. The focus on resiliency will include close partnering with the National Ready Mixed Concrete Association (NRMCA) and will dovetail with its emphasis on resilient construction.
"We live in a time where weather can be both unpredictable and catastrophic," said Foundation Executive Director Julie Garbini. "For too long, the country has had to be reactive when a disaster such as Hurricane Sandy demolishes communities. But, the bright spot is that the rebuilding of these communities offers the opportunity to plan for the possibility of another major weather event. By rebuilding with an eye toward protecting life and property through the strengthening of building codes and the implementation of resilient construction practices, work from organizations such as NRMCA and the Foundation can assist these communities in their rebuilding efforts and offer hope that these areas won't suffer like this again," she added.
Copies of the Hurricane Katrina report may be obtained on CD or as a hardcopy. Information on the work taking place at MIT may be accessed at cshub.mit.edu and information about NRMCA's work may be found at www.nrmca.org. Additional information about this study and others funded by the RMC Research & Education Foundation may be found at www.rmc-foundation.org.