Washington, DC – In the aftermath of Hurricane Matthew’s deadly and costly onslaught along the Atlantic coast last month, Build with Strength, a coalition of the National Ready Mixed Concrete Association, is calling attention to a Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) study entitled “A Break-Even Hazard Mitigation Metric,” and urging its use as a tool that can assist designers, developers and architects in North Carolina and South Carolina looking to build and re-build with resiliency in mind. The study confirms the importance of using resilient construction materials, like concrete and steel rebar in regions prone to extreme weather events such as Hurricane Mathew.

The study found a $10 million non-engineered wood building could be expected to face more than half a million dollars in hazard related damages over 50 years, while a $10 million engineered concrete building is expected to face only $165,000 over the same period.

The North Carolina Department of Public Safety puts the estimate as of mid-October for the cost of storm damage at $1.5 billion. However, that figure doesn’t include the cost of repairing damaged roads and bridges or replacing belongings inside damaged buildings, which are often covered by insurance policies, or account for other costs to the economy including loss of economic output from businesses that were forced to close during the evacuation.  And although the cost of damages from Hurricane Matthew have not yet been determined by South Carolina officials, state lawmakers are expecting access to fewer tax dollars in the state budget.  According to The State, if last October’s flooding is an indicator, the state will have to send roughly $150 million in flood-recovery money to local governments and farmers, and to repair roads.

“With the expectation that storms like Hurricane Matthew will continue to batter the Atlantic coastal states with increased ferocity over the next century, it is imperative public officials and architects mitigate weather related hazards with greater initial investment in their structures,” said Jeremy Gregory, Executive Director of the Concrete Sustainability Hub at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. “The Break Even Metric tool proves that if a community wishes to save costs in the long run, they must invest in the future.”

With the high likelihood of changes to the flood zones, it’s highly probable that North Carolina residents will see increased insurance costs for current policies and potentially new ones in the form of mandatory flood insurance policies. Structures built with resilient materials will have lower insurance costs.

Despite a declaration to provide federal disaster relief to more than a third of South Carolina counties as a result of flood damage from Hurricane Matthew, some communities like Nichols, South Carolina fear residents won’t return as black mold has rendered many homes completely uninhabitable.

“We must all adapt to the reality of a changing environment, and that starts with building with strength and resiliency,” said Gregory.

Please join Build with Strength on November 16th at 11 a.m. EST for a webinar outlining the BEMP tool and its usefulness for new and existing construction projects.  More information to follow…

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Learn more at www.buildwithstrength.com