The recent storms that ravaged islands in the Caribbean and a number of southern states and the wildfires that devastated large areas of California will require many thousands of construction workers to labor years in the recovery effort. These catastrophic events underscore the high priority that is needed to ensure construction personnel are equipped to deliver state-of-the art, resilient construction in the aftermath of these and future disasters. Toward this end, a three-day Development and Research Planning Forum in 2015 at the American Institute of Architects headquarters in Washington launched a Disaster Recovery Construction Specialist Certification Initiative for the US and Canada. Convened by Green Advantage, the International Code Council (ICC), and Antioch University New England Center for Academic Innovation, the experts gathered made significant progress toward the development of a proof of concept for a Disaster Recovery Construction Specialist Certification as well as other desirable dimensions of the Initiative. <p”>In 2016, letters of support from leaders such as Denis Hayes and Bryan Koon further emphasized the importance of the Initiative:
“As founder of the global Earth Day Network, former director of the National Renewable Energy Laboratory and developer of the world’s largest ‘living building’ (the Bullitt Center), I am very pleased to support the development of a Disaster Recovery Construction Specialist Certification that meets ANSI/ISO/IEC 17024 requirements…..The existing plans for this certification aim to apply it in the U.S. and Canada, but every country could benefit from such initiatives…..If human habitats are to be resilient in the face of catastrophic events, we must cultivate foresight, preparation, and competent disaster response. Construction personnel perform a critical role in the aftermath of disasters. Their knowledge, skills, and labor are the raw materials of community reconstruction…..I wholeheartedly support the pursuit of public or private funds to develop this worthwhile certification. Once it achieves ANSI/ISO/IEC 17024 accreditation I would urge states, provinces, and other jurisdictions to adopt and utilize it.”
“In my roles as the Director of the Florida Division of Emergency Management, President of the National Emergency Management Association, and Vice-Chairman of the Multi-Hazard Mitigation Council of the National Institute of Building Sciences, I recognize the importance of a well-constructed built environment on protecting the lives and property of Americans in the aftermath of a disaster. I have seen firsthand the results of strong, well-enforced building codes and modern building techniques…..The development of this certification that meets the rigorous ANSI/ISO/IEC standards would provide an excellent screening device for states and jurisdictions to improve construction results and protect the public. Moreover, it could be used to help rebuild local economies that are impacted by disasters by enabling the prioritization of the use of qualified construction personnel who live and work in closer proximity to disaster stricken areas.”
This year an Advisory Board has been established to help shape the Initiative, participate in the search for its funding, and engage with local jurisdictional officials. We are very pleased that the following leaders serve on the Advisory Board.
- Bob Berkebile, Founding Chairman of the American Institute of Architect’s Environmental Committee, instrumental in creating the U.S. Green Building Council, the LEED rating system and the Living Building Challenge
- Stuart Brodsky, Founder of Energy Star Commercial and Director for the Sustainable Built Environment, NYU
- Daniel Castro, Professor and Chair School of Building Construction, Georgia Tech
- Randy Keiser, National Healthcare Director, Turner Construction Company
- Charles Kibert, Holland Professor of in the M.E. Rinker Sr. School of Building Construction at the University of Florida and Director of the Powell Center for Construction and the Environment
- Bryan Koon, Vice President of Homeland Security and Emergency Management at IEM, former Director of the Florida Division of Emergency Management, past President of the National Emergency Management Association, and Vice-Chairman of the Multi-Hazard Mitigation Council of the National Institute of Building Sciences
- John Martinez, Chairman of the Board, National Hispanic Construction Association, President, Regional Hispanic Contractors Association
- Margot McDonald, Professor of Architecture and Department Head, Cal Poly-San Luis Obispo
For more information about the Disaster Recovery Construction Specialist Certification Initiative or how you can participate or support it, please contact CES@greenadvantage.org.