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Are Construction Innovations Enough for the Future of Florida?

[/vc_column_text][vc_column_text css_animation=”none”]After what seemed like a never-ending week of torrential rainfall and flood warnings across several counties in Florida, residents can expect at least a few more days of scattered thunderstorms.  Luckily, the meteorologists of the National Hurricane Center do not believe that the activity in the Atlantic is going to accumulate into anything more severe.  Regardless of the common flooding that plagues Florida every year due to the climate change, this sunshine state continues to build and build.

Even after the amendments to the Florida Resistant Construction and the 5th Edition Florida Building Code, we need to honestly ask ourselves, are we doing enough to protect our communities from the rising sea levels?  This means more than just building new condominiums away from flood zones.  Megan Bergman points out that The Union of Concerned Scientists views the impact of floods to include “roads, bridges, power plants, airports, ports, public buildings, military bases and other critical infrastructure along the coast” (qtd. in Items).  Current and future projects addressing the impact of flooding may include “raising roads, shoring up sea walls, adding pumps and drainage upgrades, beginning dredging projects,” and others to name a few (qtd. in Items).

According to John Squerciati, a senior associate and engineer for the Hazard Mitigation Technical Assistance Program at the Dewberry company, there are five flood resistant building techniques:

  1. Building Relocation- most effective and obvious technique entailing the building of new construction outside of floodplain locales. In cases where buildings are already in existence, relocating the structure is an option. Situations where the previous option is impractical, acquiring these buildings with plans of demolition will serve its purpose in restricting any future construction in floodplains.
  2. Elevate building above the flood level- another solution that is simple for new construction but remains more complex for preexisting structures. In the case of the latter, a foundation can be built underneath and serves to lift the building up. Other options are to eliminate the lowest floor or demolish the entire structure to rebuild another according to codes and standards.
  3. Dry Floodproofing- When the previous two options are not viable, this solution may be one to pursue. This practice of “waterproofing” by adding sealants to walls, shielding openings, and creating a secondary drainage system to pump out water is effective for concrete and masonry construction.
  4. Wet Floodproofing- Contrary to its opposite technique discussed above, here water is allowed into the structures with implementation of flood damage resistant materials, hydrostatic openings, and superior protection of the valuable assets. This is a less costly approach but requires a greater amount of cleaning after flooding.
  5. Permanent Barriers- requires maintenance, land area, and soil layers when using levees. If deciding to go with the floodwall approach, concrete and masonry are the building materials needed. Either approach will provide a permanent barrier around the building to protect against floods and related damages. (Five)

There is no reason to ignore the inevitable effects we are experiencing from the changes of our climate.  Flood resilient construction is more important than ever.  This field alone is a major contributor in managing one of the biggest obstacles we will see in the near-future of construction.

At GreenLight Maximum Recovery, we support contractors dedicating their careers to solving such problems.  We also know that after projects have been completed in efforts of promoting sustainability, not all contractors are getting paid what is owed to them.  Let us step in and collect your money without your business skipping a beat.

 

Sources

Bergman, Megan Mayhew. “Florida Is Drowning. Condos Are Still Being Built.

Can’t Humans See the Writing on the Wall?” The Guardian, Guardian News

and Media, 15 Feb. 2019,

www.theguardian.com/environment/2019/feb/15/florida-climate-change-

coastal-real-estate-rising-seas.

Five Prominent Flood Resistant Building Techniques,

www.dewberry.com/news/blog/post/blog/2018/10/18/five-prominent-

flood-resistant-building-techniques.

Harris, Alex. “After a Rainy Weekend, South Florida Is in for More

Thunderstorms This Week.” Miamiherald, Miami Herald,

www.miamiherald.com/news/weather-news/article233519977.html.

Items Where Year Is 2017 – Birmingham City University.

www.open.access.bcu.ac.uk/view/year/2017.html.

Lamond, Jessica. “Flood Resilient Construction and Adaptation of

Buildings.” Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Natural Hazard Science, 16

Jan. 2018,

oxfordre.com/naturalhazardscience/abstract/10.1093/acrefore/978019938

9407.001.0001/acrefore-9780199389407-e-111.

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