Small Project Practitioners

Topic: Risk & Building Codes & Zoning Ordinances

1.  Risk & Building Codes & Zoning Ordinances

Posted 12-03-2012 11:25
This message has been cross posted to the following Discussion Forums: Committee of Corporate Architects and Facility Management and Small Project Practitioners .
I have written this in reaction to an article posted on BD+C News on Dec. 3 "

Storms like Sandy highlight the need for stricter codes, says insurance expert

by Anya Khalamayzer,

Great  article and comments about storms, climate change, and their associated risk.  It seems that we can all agree that storms are destructive whether or not it is man made climate change or not.  As an architect having to use building codes day IN and day out I don't find them to be the real point of attack that is needed.  WHat insurance companies need to understand is that you need to foot down and determine the break point of diminishing return.  Developers and private property owners are incapable of making these decisions on any level when profit is at risk.  When ever there is a real outcry declaring how could this-whole neighborhoods wiped out-HAPPEN???  No building code is strong enough to prevent that kind of destruction.  The only cure is ZONING.  Who prevents good sound zoning that would say that vulnerable areas can't be built on??  Developers and property owners that cry property rights are being violated.  Zoning officials and city councils  that are swayed by to promise of tax base.   Who are the victims of these stupid property value decisions???? Any community along an coastline or river valley can enumerate the countless victims.   They can also give endless examples of efforts to use zoning ordinances to effectively reduce the potential risks that nature an cause.  The insurance industry has effectively lobbied to improve building codes, particularly in relation to wind and earthquake events.  But now a similar effort needs rot be made to support effective zoning ordinances in every vulnerable community.  I am an architect and member the AIA.  I would welcome any partnership to more effectively pursue.  I empathize with Governors Chris Christy and Andrew Cuomo, FEMA, Congress, The President, and all those effected by Katrina and any other natural disaster before.  But as a community that really feels that we need to help those that have suffered the loss of every thing they own, we can't absorb financially any more.  NOW IS THE TIME TO ACT!!!

Chris LaShorne AIA
Chris LaShorne Architecture
La Crosse WI

2.  RE:Risk & Building Codes & Zoning Ordinances

Posted 12-04-2012 16:59

For most of early part of my life I always assumed the people that built and bought houses along rivers and on the cost knew the risk to their property and took that risk so they could live in the otherwise ideal and picturesque setting. I figured one balanced out the other and they knew it. Boy was I naïve. They had no idea and they want you and me to pay for it and prevent it in the future now that the inevitable happened. This sounds harsh but it was bound to happen.  I was not surprised at the tide surge and last year's inland New England flooding, go back thousands of years and it all happened before, look in your Jr. High earth science text book.   I feel for people that lost their homes and I do want to help if I can but nature is constantly trying to, and will eventually wipe it all out. It will all be rebuilt and sometime in the future, 10 years, 10,000 years? It will happen again. -------------------------------------------
Thomas Streicher AIA
Thomas Streicher, Architect
Monroe NY