Monday, December 17, 2012

Rethinking Dunes (and Codes) after Sandy

(Note: Scroll to the bottom of the post for hurricane-related courses from RedVector.)

Hurricanes Sandy and Andrew were very different storms more than 20 years apart, but they will have an impact on the way local governments build for decades to come. Andrew spurred major wind mitigation rethinking. Early indications point to flooding and storm surges as being the thrust of Sandy’s legacy.

To that end, seaside communities from Fire Island to Atlantic Beach are reevaluating their dunes strategies. In the recent past, not every community was willing to pony up several million dollars for mounds of sand that would disrupt views and ruin the fun for surfers. But Sandy changed a lot of that thinking.

Long Beach, NY, turned down dunes six years ago. Myriad local opinions drove the city council to vote it down unanimously. Neighboring beach communities to the north and the south swallowed the cost and voted it in. The Army Corps of Engineers designed and built the 15-foot-tall dunes where approved.

The result?

After the storm blew through, Long Beach (with a population of 30,000 people) suffered more than $200 million in damages. Nearby towns with dunes saw a fraction of those damages. Even where the dunes were breached, scientists and community leaders say the damage wasn't as bad as it could have been.

Damage estimates and comparisons between the towns are still being calculated, but the wheels of emergency federal funds are already moving forward with dunes projects. Local government is ready to approve the measures. There is a good chance this won’t be the only policy revisited after Sandy.

When Andrew rolled through South Florida, strict building codes were enacted that reverberated throughout the state. Those in high-risk counties strapped down their roofs and purchased specially-designed doors and windows. Even builders hundreds of miles away from the affected area were impacted by revised codes. And the state’s property insurance landscape has forever changed since the storm.

RedVector training helped architects, engineers and construction companies in Florida adjust to the new restrictions. We’ll be sure to keep you updated on any changes in the Northeast as well. In the meantime, we have a variety of courses designed to keep your customers safe, including:








And our package:


  

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