The Australian Sustainable Built Environment Council (ASBEC) has joined a new initiative to coordinate an international response to improve the resilience of the built environment.
At a time when the level of risk to the built environment is increasing globally due to greater intensity and frequency of extreme weather events, international cooperation is key to ensuring the built environment can weather the storms ahead.
The Australian Building Codes Board, which oversees issues relating to the health, safety, amenity and accessibility, and sustainability of Australian buildings, has teamed up with the National Research Council of Canada, the New Zealand Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, and the International Code Council to launch the Global Resiliency Dialogue, with the purpose of sharing information and best practice for a more resilient built environment.
As a first step, the Findings on Changing Risk and Building Codes statement was released last week and endorsed by building sector organisations from across the world.
The statement emphasised the need for building codes to adapt to the changing risk from extreme weather events as the effects of global climate change grow.
ASBEC executive director, Suzanne Toumbourou, said Australia’s built environment includes the places where we live, work, play and educate our kids.
“We rely on our built environment for our health and prosperity, but it is vulnerable to climate change,” she said.
“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.”
ASBEC’s Preparing for Change report noted that building codes tend to be slow and reactive. To meet Australia’s need for a resilient built environment in the future, Toumbourou said building codes need to be based on reliable data, a performance based approach and rigorous cost benefit analysis to ensure proposed changes are realistic.
“Regular reviews of Australia’s building code, and collaborating to share research and information, are critical to adapt our built environment in the face of catastrophic climate change,” she said.