2006-09-12, 10:41

Disaster preparedness is crucial for developers and others

By: Jonathan Groner
The following was posted this week on Womble Carlyle's Construction Law blog by Karen Carey, one of our partners in the Real Estate Development Group, and I thought it was relevant here as well as the fifth anniversary of 9/11 is commemorated:

Shortly after 9/11, Rudolph Giuliani made this statement: "Most buildings are run not by the government but by private companies . . . I think we need a lot more participation from the private sector." (Money Magazine, October 2003).

The draft guidelines of ASHRAE (the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air Conditioning Engineers) and numerous other published materials demonstrate that many people, at least in the design sector, have disaster preparedness and mitigation much on their minds.

It seems that every architect and engineer must assess the "terror threat" associated with their design of a facility in the following categories (at a minimum), because these categories are listed as the most important in virtually every published checklist addressing vulnerability assessments:

site planning and design
building design
landscaping design
lighting
HVAC system design
parking facility design

The risk to design professionals is that, should an incident occur that causes death or serious injury to inhabitants of, visitors to, or passers-by a facility they have designed, they will very likely be asked to produce the vulnerability assessment they performed with respect to these categories prior to and during their design of the facility.

Vulnerability assessments and follow-on actions are important not only to designers, but also to developers, constructors, landlords and property managers.

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