How Insurance Works

Ethical and Efficient Infrastructure Resilience: The Battle for Better Building Codes


Hello everyone. my name is Lori Peek, and I am a professor of sociology and the director of the Natural Hazards Center here at the University of Colorado Boulder. It is my great pleasure to welcome you to the Making Mitigation Work webinar series hosted by the Natural Hazards Center with the support of the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the National Science Foundation. Mitigation is absolutely necessary to keep natural hazards from turning into human disasters, but mitigation does not work all by itself. It is up to all of us to make it happen. This recently launched webinar series features innovative speakers and highlights recent progress in mitigation, policy, practice, and research. We are so grateful that you have joined with us today. Before we launch into the webinar, please note that this forum is being recorded. The recording and an edited version of the transcript will be posted online at the Natural Hazards Center website hazards.colorado.edu. This is also where you can find the recording and transcript from last month’s inaugural Making Mitigation Work webinar which featured Angela Gladwell from FEMA. She provided a comprehensive overview of the goals and recommendations in the National Mitigation Investment Strategy during her presentation. On behalf of the entire team here at the Natural Hazards Center, we want to thank the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the National Science Foundation for their support which has helped to make this webinar series possible. In addition, we acknowledge and thank all of you who have dialed in today, we know your time is valuable and we appreciate your focus and attention. If at any point during the presentation you have questions or comments you can share those either via the chat function or via the Q&A box on zoom. You can set the chat function so either only the administrators and presenters see your comments or everyone on the webinar sees them. If our speaker does not have time to answer all of your questions today, we will share them with him and then post his written responses via the Making Mitigation Work webinar page on our hazards.colorado.edu website. It is a great honor and pleasure to now introduce you to our speaker for today’s webinar, Dr. Keith Porter. Keith Porter is a research professor here at the University of Colorado Boulder and principal of the risk consulting company for Spa Risk LLC. He has three decades of professional and research experience in natural hazards risk management and structural design. Among his many other activities, Keith led much of the engineering research for the U.S. Geological Surveys ShakeOut, ARkStorm, Tsunami and HayWired disaster planning scenarios. Keith also leads the natural hazards mitigation saves benefit cost analyses of code adoption above code design retrofit of private sector and public sector buildings and retrofit of lifelines. I served on the review committee for that work, so I had the chance to observe close at hand the rigor of Keith’s work and the passion that he brings to building safer, stronger, and more resilient communities. We are so pleased that Keith has agreed to join us today and to share some of his recent research and thinking with us. So without further ado, I am going to turn the slide presentation capabilities over to Keith. I hope you will join me in offering him a warm, virtual welcomE. And again, thank you to all of you for being here with us today. Thanks, Lori. Thank you, Keith, and I’ll stop sharing my slides so you can start sharing yours in just a moment. Are you seeing my presentation slide? Yes, thank you. Terrific! Okay, thank you so much Lori and the Natural Hazards Center and the National Science Foundation for inviting me to give this talk. I want to talk to you about ethical and efficient infrastructure resilience the battle for better building codes. Now the building code that most communities in the United States use is based on the what are called the eye codes. These are a set of codes published by the International Code Council, and for the most part adopted by States and in a few states adopted by local communities, oftentimes with minor modifications, but most of the country is using what we call the I-Codes of some recent edition. Now I’m gonna focus on the seismic performance objectives of the I-Codes which are shown here. They’re basically about avoiding injury and life loss. They also try to preserve egress, avoid loss of function in critical facilities and where it’s convenient, cheap, easy, and reduce structural and non-structural repair costs. The I-Codes draw from a series of documents that sort of begins with this one that’s cited down here at the bottom the NEHRP Recommended Seismic Provisions for New Buildings and Other Structures. And the I-Codes do that job of protecting life safety very well. This table shows a few of the leading causes of death of Americans; the leading cause of death being heart disease. What you’re seeing there are the way that public health people quantify death rates in terms of deaths per hundred thousand people per year. Heart disease kills about 200 people per hundred thousand population per year. Below there is just a few sample other ways to die; falling off a roof while you are doing your job, 32 deaths per hundred thousand roofers per year; automobile accidents kill about 11 people per 100,000 per year; and new buildings in earthquakes if they perform exactly and know better than we intend them to do should kill about 0.1 people per hundred thousand per year. That’s for 40 hours per week occupancy but, as a matter of fact, they do better than that. California fatality rates over the last 15 years have been more than an order of magnitude smaller than that in terms of killing people. So the building codes do a really good job of of what they’re trying to do which is protecting life safety, but are the I-Codes ethical? Can they be said to be ethical? Now ethics imply some deliberate choices about what one should do, what should be in the code, for instance, what should be the codes objective. What choices have the code writers actually made as they developed codes? Now codes have developed over long, many, many decades. You can track model building codes in the United States at least seismic versions back to the 1927 UBC where a handful two, three, four building officials or structural engineers sitting around a room decided that if they made buildings resist 10 percent of their weight in lateral side-to-side motion, that was practical and okay. That’s as much thought as went into that process. Maybe that’s oversimplifying slightly but not much. For the next several decades we designed by a design paradigm called Allowable Stress Design that did not allow us to quantify the risk inherent in the code. Now in 1980, some pioneers of Load and Resistance factor design created a new design paradigm where we actually could quantify the risk inherent in our buildings, the risk of life-threatening damage. They back calibrated the design requirements to achieve the level of safety that was implicit in prior codes. That is to say they didn’t adjust anything they just said okay we’re gonna use this new design paradigm and it’s going to give us the same safety that was in this old design paradigm and we’re not going to change anything because we don’t think that’s our job and we think there should be a profession wide debate to decide whether seismic and wind safety is acceptable because they had questions about that. That debate never took place, and then for several decades no real change occurred to the way we design the fundamental way we design buildings using Load resistance factor design. Now about a decade ago, Luco and several others created a new design paradigm where our new buildings would have a consistent level of collapse risk as opposed to life-threatening damage. It’s a subtle difference, but it’s an important one. At that time, they back calibrated collapse risk to the level of collapse risk that was implicit in Load and Resistance factor design. They literally engaged in no debate to determine whether that was an appropriate level of risk and since then we’ve been using Risk-Targeted seismic design with this back calibrated level of collapse risk which was back calibrated to life safety, the probability of life threatening damage which was back calibrated to allow stress design which had no deliberate choices made. So we never deliberately chose a resilience code resilience goals for buildings. Why did we never do so? I would assert that it’s because we engineers, the people who for the most part write code objectives, have never been trained to do so. We are very good at understanding science and making things work. If you set us a goal we will be very good at achieving it, but we are not good at setting setting the goal itself. And you know what we did by just back calibrating implies that it’s whatever was acceptable in the past is therefore good. A philosopher from the 18th century moral philosopher named David Hume showed that you can’t do that. You can’t say that whatever is is okay. You can’t get an ought from an is. That’s called Hume’s law or Hume’s guillotine or the fact value divide. You can’t infer that we ought to have a degree of risk currently in our codes just because that risk is present in pass codes. So if engineering is ill qualified to set what level of safety ought to be in building codes. because we don’t study ought, what branch of scholarly study does? What branch of scholarly study focuses on norms or shoulds or oughts and what are its three approaches? That branch of scholarly study is called ethics or moral philosophy. It is very mature it goes back at least 2,500 years. Aristotle laid out one approach to setting ethics to this deciding what is proper behavior and he set out a set of ethics that people have subsequently called virtue ethics, which is basically be a good person, that the good, right behavior comes from the nature of the person. Some of the ethics that Aristotle laid out is be truthful, be modest, be intelligent, use science, apply theoretical wisdom, learn art and craftsmanship. Now those ethics about you know what kind of people engineers should be, they’re fine, but they’re silent about desired outcomes for new buildings. Virtue ethics doesn’t really tell us anything about how to set building code objectives. In the late 18th century, Immanuel Kant came up with duty ethics, or deontological ethics, the categorical imperative which says act so that the rule upon which you act would admit of being adopted as a law by all rational beings. That it’s basically that you would have everybody behave this way, and the building code does embody that kind of categorical imperative. It has consistent, universal goals that everybody has to live-in, but on the other hand, any set of consistent performance objectives could meet that categorical imperative. So the question I’m asking is what should the performance level be? Should it be higher? Should it be lower? Should it be just what we’ve got now? And Kant’s categorical imperative doesn’t answer that question. A third branch of moral philosophy or ethics is called utilitarian or ethics or consequentialism. Act to achieve the greatest good for the greatest number, and one of its early proponents was Jeremy Bentham who said that a good action is one that results in an increase in pleasure and the best action is one that results in the most pleasure for the greatest number. Basically, everybody being held equal and nobody being more equal than anybody else. Now the U.S Constitution was written with utilitarian legislation in mind. Utilitarianism is an American ideal, and the good news is we can set building performance objectives mathematically once we accept that principle. Once we decide that we’re going to set our building performance objectives according to a utilitarian ideal, we can decide whether our performance levels are too high, too low, or just right. So how do we do that? I have to take you on a bit of a tangent to a 2005 study called Natural Hazard Mitigation Saves. This was a study performed for the U.S Congress, which in 1999 was skeptical that money that FEMA was spending on natural hazard mitigation was was worth spending, and they wanted to cut off that spending and they wanted evidence to show that it wasn’t cost-effective, so they required this independent study to be performed that double checked FEMA’s statements about how every dollar of mitigation money was saving four dollars in avoided future losses. Well as it happens, this independent study confirmed FEMA’s findings right down to the ratio of benefits to costs. We found, I was on that team, we found that money spent on reducing the natural hazards is a sound investment. On average, a dollar spent by FEMA on natural hazard mitigation provides the nation about $4 in future benefits. Now that study, which subsequently came to be called the four to one study, informed thousands of mitigation decisions, but they were mostly mitigation decisions about existing public sector buildings being retrofitted, so existing buildings being strengthened in some ways and for the most part they were public buildings. So that left a bunch of open questions. What about all the other ways we can enhance the resilience of the building stock and a lifeline infrastructure. What about retrofitting private sector buildings. What about the building code. What about the past development of the building code. What about going beyond the building code. What about making private sector utility and transportation infrastructure stronger, better, more resistant to natural disasters. And we revisited the question of public sector retrofit. We revisited it again with a benefit cost analysis which produces a benefit cost ratio, which is just the ratio of the present value of avoided future losses that’s the benefit divided by the present value of the upfront and maintenance costs that’s the cost. And in that second category there, adopt or exceed building codes, we actually found a way to find the design level that maximizes the total good that achieves Bentham’s utilitarian ideal. Now in doing so, we had to add up all the public benefits from all these different kinds of natural hazard mitigation. We weren’t able to add them all up. We were able to turn into monetary equivalents; avoided future property damage, avoided future direct business interruption, that’s DBI; indirect business interruption, that’s the business interruption that you suffer because my business goes down and you buy or sell you trade with me; and avoided additional living expenses, that’s ALE. We also found monetary equivalence of deaths and injuries avoided, avoided future cases post-traumatic stress disorder, a little piece of the insurance premiums that people pay, some environmental losses, and we also count jobs gained and savings to the federal treasury. Now it would be better if we were able to count all of the benefits that mitigation provide; avoided social stress, that is to say the fact that your kid can go to school in his or her school tomorrow the same as he did today, that’s a benefit; saved mementos, memorabilia, protecting culture, protecting disadvantaged populations, our pets, and the environment. These are largely intangible benefits that if we could turn them into monetary equivalent things would increase our benefit cost ratios and make mitigation look better. Now how would we do mitigation? How do we achieve the greatest good? What exactly do we do physically to our infrastructure to make it better and maximize the public good. Well, when it comes to hurricanes and flooding we can raise our buildings up, when it comes to fire in the wild land urban interface we can create a defensible space around our buildings where there’s no accumulations of fuel, we make the exterior of the building fire resistive, we imposed foundation and stuff having to do with water supply. For earthquakes, basically we make our buildings stronger and stiffer, and for wind forces, for example, and hurricane we improve the connections and we put shutters on windows and doors and that sort of thing. All these things can be done to various degrees, they can be adopted or not adopted, they can be enhanced or reduced. These are the dials that we can turn to measure costs and benefits and achieve this public good. Okay, so the building codes have developed over decades let’s talk next about how much good that development has done in the past. The seismic and wind provisions have evolved since about 1927, at least in the western United States, and it’s possible to read every one of these editions of the Uniform Building Code in the International Building Code and calculate the the strength and stiffness of new buildings as if they were designed to each one of these codes. We did all of that. We put into a great big spreadsheet, and we found that buildings have generally gotten stronger and stiffer over time. This figure on the left shows the the design base shear of a new building that is to say that the the force that it can resist side-to-side as a fraction of its weight versus time, so a value of you know 0.2 would mean that a building can resist 20% of its weight pushing it side to side in an earthquake or a hurricane without falling down. And you can see that when we take a whole bunch of different buildings and a whole bunch of different locations and a whole bunch of different height categories and just sort of equally weight them, we find that new buildings have gotten stronger and stiffer by about 50% about every generation. So every 30 years, a new building built in the exact same place as an old building would be 50% stronger than that old building would have been designed. Codes have made newer buildings gradually stronger and stiffer. In the last 30 years, that has saved society a great deal of money. We’re seeing here is the benefit cost ratio of the you know the avoided future losses from building new buildings today to meet today’s codes versus building new buildings today to me codes of about 1990, and that benefit cost ratio can it can reach 30 to one. You’re seeing everywhere there’s color here is a place where the building code governs the seismic forces are greater than the wind forces so the seismic provisions kind of matter. All the gray areas are places where the wind forces are greater, so we can sort of ignore the codes seismic provisions there. But in any case, the building codes development over the past several decades has done society a lot of good with benefits greatly exceeding costs by as much as 30 to 1. On average over all, over the entire country, that nationwide average is 12 to 1. Every year of new construction that we build to today’s codes rather than 30 years ago saves society 7 billion dollars in avoided future losses at a cost of about six hundred million dollars in higher construction cost because a little bit stronger and a little bit stiffer means a little bit more steel or concrete or whatever. And you’re seeing in this pie chart where all those benefits come from- three billion dollars in avoided property losses and two billion dollars in avoided living expenses in direct business interruption etc.. But as I showed you on a chart a few minutes ago there doesn’t seem to, we haven’t leveled off at some ideal. What if we were to go higher? Is there some optimal level of strength and stiffness that we could put into our code to achieve that utilitarian ideal? So how do we know what is ideal? Engineering economics answers that question in general principle. You could-if you had any kind of investment where you could invest more or less and produce more or less benefit, you could chart the benefit versus the investment, that’s this blue line here. The point where an additional increment of investment no longer an additional dollar of investment produces less than a dollar of benefit that’s the point where you want to stop. That’s the point where this blue line has a slope of 1. Now if you calculate the total ownership cost- the present value of you know how much money we put in today to build the building and how much money we put in tomorrow to maintain it and the next day to repair earthquake damage- that’s the red line. That’s the total ownership cost, and it turns out that optimizing the benefit cost ratio stopping where you get a slope of 1 in that curve gives you a minimum total ownership cost of a building, so this is the least total cost of owning buildings for society at the same point where this benefit cost ratio just reaches a slope of 1. That that’s the point that does the most public good for that building and we actually did this for seismic loads. We didn’t do a nice smooth curve, we set a few choices in each census tract over the entire country. We considered what buildings are built there today and what if we made them 25 percent stronger, 50 percent stronger, twice as stronger, etcetera etcetera, up to six times as strong as the current code would require. So instead of a nice smooth line we have this sort of jerky line connected of straight lines connected by dots and we just find the last level of additional strength that has a slope greater than one. What we found was that we have not reached an ideal yet. So this is that plot I showed you earlier of how buildings are getting stronger and stiffer, and we haven’t passed the point of diminishing returns yet it is still in the future. That curve is going up and in the future if it continues to go up the future will lead to more efficient buildings. A utilitarian optimal for seismic design is shown here on the on the right side. The optimal level of design for several counties around the country is three times as strong and stiff as the code currently requires, but in many places is 25 percent strong or 50 percent stronger 100 percent stronger would be cost-effective. On the left side, you’re seeing the benefit cost ratios. so designing to the optimal level in many places around the country would save up to 8 dollars for every additional dollar in construction cost. Okay, so we did this for several perils not just earthquake. We looked at riverine flood, we looked at hurricane surge, we looked at greater wind design, and we looked at adopting the international wild land urban interface code, and what we found was that the utilitarian optimum for these five perils has an overall cost to the country of four billion dollars per year. That is to say if we built to the optimum, next year new construction would cost four billion dollars more in construction cost, but it would save society 16 billion dollars in avoided future losses for an overall benefit cost ratio of four-to-one. And that means building houses and other buildings that are next to rivers with five feet of freeboard rather than zero, one, or two which is what we currently do; building coastal buildings basically a one-story above the 100-year flood line, base flood elevation plus 8 feet; and for when we looked at the IBHS fortified home hurricane standards for earthquake I’ve just talked about that and I’ve just talked about the wild land urban interface fire, but you can see the benefit cost ratios are all in the range of four to one and up to seven to one, all very, very good returns for an investment. Let me recap a little bit about the ethics of the Building Code. The current code is sub-optimal in many places. Well accepted fundamental utilitarian and duty ethics underlie the U.S Constitution, and we found that utilitarian optimal performance goals with well established engineering economic principles. This is not you know sneering at philosophy kind of pie in the sky stuff, this is using engineering economic principles just with the assumption that we should design to the level that benefits still just exceed costs. We found that leaving the current minimum in the rest of the country makes a sense from a duty ethics perspective of you know just being fair across the country and then together utilitarianism and duty ethics could provide an ethical foundation for a resilient building stock. Unfortunately, ethics is messier than just optimizing a utilitarian ideal. This woman, Patricia Churchland, she’s a modern-day philosopher who specializes in Neurology. She’s what’s called a neuro philosopher and what she has found is that there are no exceptionless moral rules. You cannot simply adopt utilitarian ethics because there will always be exceptions and there will be exceptions to exceptions, so you have to look at the problem from multiple perspectives and somehow weigh them and put them together. Now what are the moral exceptions here to utilitarian ethics? Here’s a couple; National Commission, called the Belmont report, found that we place extra value on protecting vulnerable populations which conflicts with the every person to count for one and nobody for more than one principle that Bentham advanced; a bunch of psychologists including Paul Slovic and others found that we care very much about the dreaded nests the unknowingness and the catastrophic potential of disasters, that is to say we care a lot about the big one we feel greater risk and we want to and we desire to spend more to avoid those those catastrophic risks. Now those issues conflict with risk neutral benefit cost analysis although they don’t conflict with setting code minimum. Okay so we have to look at other perspectives including catastrophic potential. One other approach is this useful duty ethic of considering the public’s preferences when we set our performance objectives. This gentleman in the lower left here, Michael Davis, one of the country’s leading philosophers of engineering ethics found, and his colleagues Stone from Hollander to Martin down at the bottom of the screen can agree, that the American Society of Civil Engineers code of ethics requires civil engineers to make a reasonable effort to elicit and reflect the Preferences of the public whose lives and livelihoods are at stake when setting seismic performance objectives something that we have never actually done. And when one does elicit from the public what it is they want, you find this. This is the first scholarly, rigorous public study of what the public wants new buildings to do in the big one. We asked 800 people in California and the central United States what they expected a new building to how they wanted a new building to perform in a once-in-a-lifetime disaster. Now only 22 percent of respondents said that they they were happy with the building just being safe which is what the code is currently providing, so a small minority agree with the code writers. A significant majority believe that if you’re gonna buy a new building it ought to be occupiable or functional after after a big earthquake. Well that’s fine, everybody wants better performance, but would they be willing to pay for it? Well as it turns out, yes they would. The respondents were also asked you know if you could get that level of this occupiable or functional performance, would you be willing to pay zero dollars per square, foot one dollar per square foot, three dollars, etcetera, etcetera, and this was all expressed also in terms of additional dollars on a 2,000 additional monthly dollars on a two thousand dollar mortgage so that they understood what it was that we were asking them it wasn’t just numbers that you couldn’t really wrap your mind around. And as it turns out, yes, the answer is they would be willing to pay for what they were asking for. It would cost about three dollars per square foot to achieve this level of performance of occupiable of functional buildings. Okay so that’s the public’s perspective, but we’re not simply engineers and the public. We are a heterogeneous society with multiple perspectives, so what are the other perspectives that that matter? Well obviously jobs matter, and as it turns out building better would produce more jobs. The last 30 years of code development added 30,000 long-term U.S jobs that go into constructing built and producing more construction materials. An optimal design would add another 60,000 more long-term jobs. affordability matters. Now you increase the cost of construction and maybe that impacts the affordability of housing and what not, but maybe it doesn’t. A hero of mine, Ed Wilson, a emeritus professor at UC Berkeley said several decades ago that, “The common statement that is often made, that it is not possible to design structures to resist earthquakes, is not true. We have the technology to design earthquake resistant structures and it is an economica decision whether or not to it to obtain this goal.” So he’s making this assertion several decades ago, so let’s find out if he’s right. Now several studies have looked into what it would actually cost to make our building stronger and stiffer. On the lower left, you’re seeing a study by the National Institute of Standards and Technology that found that making buildings about 60 percent stiffer and stronger adds about zero to one percent to their construction cost. The CUREE-Caltech wood frame project looking at one particular wood frame building found that it would cost about three percent more construction cost to make that building better resist earthquakes. And several leading structural engineers when I asked them what it would cost to make buildings 50 percent stronger said you know order of magnitude one percent. So there’s a little bit more evidence to suggest that the cost is on the order of one percent, now how can that be? How can it be that making buildings 50 percent stronger can only increase construction cost by one percent? The answer is that very little of the cost of new construction goes into the stuff that makes buildings resist earthquakes. In fact, only 2 percent of the construction cost for a new building goes into the lateral system materials, so increasing those materials the concrete, the steel that resists lateral forces adds about 1 percent to the construction cost if you just go by this this pie chart, which agrees with the the prior examples. Now we have further evidence that it is a very small cost because we do this all the time without actually thinking about it. We build buildings to varying levels of strength and stiffness depending on where they are relative to earthquake faults. We could build a building in downtown Los Angeles just to meet code, pick it up bodily, imagine that you’re Superman you can pluck that office building out of the ground and fly it over to San Bernardino and pop it down into the ground there. It would be 50% stronger and stiffer than it would have to be if it were designed for San Bernardino. Assumably you could take a building in San Francisco or downtown San Francisco or downtown LA just that just met code put it down in Seattle it would be 50% stronger and stiffer than it needs to be. Put it down in Sacramento, 50% stronger and stiffer than it needed to be, twice as strong as it needed to be in San Diego, so we do this all the time without noticing. Now is that expense with the expense of greater strength and stiffness be objectionable. Lucy Jones, the famous seismologist, spoke with the building owners and managers Association of Southern California, greater Los Angeles, and she said that most members of Bowman know the code is life safety, but they told me they wished it was higher. They don’t want to own a building, it’ll be a total loss, but they can’t afford to do it alone and be more expensive than their competitors, so greater cost is objectionable if you have to do it voluntarily but maybe not if it is mandatory across the board. A little bit more evidence that the code doesn’t add much cost when it comes to developing seismic visions is a study by Rob Olshansky and others in 1998 that said that the codes as a whole only add about 1 percent to the construction cost to meet seismic provisions. So would that 1 percent affect affordability? Well, it’s really hard to make that case when housing is already incredibly expensive. In San Francisco, housing costs a thousand dollars a square foot. In Santa Clara County, it’s 600 dollars a square foot, of which only a small part 30 to 40 percent is construction and of that 0.5 to 1 percent is the lateral system. 60 to 70 percent of that six hundred to a thousand dollars per square foot goes to developers and seller,s so if they can get rich from 600 dollars a square foot or 1000 dollars square foot housing, can’t buyers and tenants expect a little bit more resilience for all that money? I would suggest that there’s plenty of money to go around and that the marginal cost is just noise, statistical noise in the market value of housing and other construction. Furthermore, we have a experimental evidence to show that there would not be a huge out migration of people from places that have higher codes. Simmons and Kovacs studied what happened in Moore, Oklahoma after that city increased its wind design requirements following three fatal tornadoes in 15 years. So that city increased its wind design requirements that added about 1 percent to the construction cost of new houses, and they found that the code had no effect either on home sales or prices of new homes in Moore, Oklahoma, so predictions of a catastrophic drop in home sales and affordability just aren’t borne out by the evidence from Moore, Oklahoma. Okay, so you can tell this story in different places and get different reaction. Geography matters. If I told this story in the Midwest or the southeast, I would hear well we don’t have earthquakes or we don’t have this or that or the other peril in our state, and the response that is, well actually, they probably do have some peril in their state. These are billion dollar weather disasters over the last three decades or so and basically every state has very, very costly weather disasters in their state. Most Americans, in fact, are subject to natural hazards. 42 million people live in the floodplain; 85 million people live in places where earthquake loads governed design, that is to say the building has its lateral strength because of earthquake rather than because of wind; 127 million people live in hurricane country; and 59 million people live in the wild land urban interface. This very confusing Ven Diagram in the middle just goes to show how many people live in hurricane and flood country, it’s that intersection between the two upper-left circles. Six million people are subject to flood and hurricane. 25 million people are subject to earthquake and wind, etcetera, so most of the country is subject to natural hazards. The second answer to we don’t have some such and such peril in our state is that the I-codes are already calibrated to hazards so the lesser seismic hazard, the lower the design requirements are for you. So if earthquakes are less of an issue because they happen less frequently, well they contribute less to the construction cost of your building because the codes are calibrated that way. Furthermore, just because you don’t have earthquakes doesn’t mean that you’re immune from them. My disaster, my earthquake is your disaster. The economy is so intermixed that an earthquake in Southern California would affect virtually the entire country. What you’re seeing here is the volume of cargo shipped from the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach across the country. 70 percent of the goods that are brought into the United States, from the Pacific Ocean, come through the ports of LA and Long Beach and reach across the country, so a big earthquake in Southern California means stuff at Walmart costs more in Illinois. So, my earthquake is your earthquake- we are all in this together. What role you have in the building also matters. Are you a lender, are you community, are you a tenant, are you a title holder, that is to say an owner, or are you a developer? Well, as it turns out, setting the ideal level of earthquake loads benefits everybody. These are the net benefits, the benefit minus the cost to the ideal design levels for wind, earthquake, WUI fire, riverine flood, and hurricane surge. Everybody benefits when we set an ideal level. Okay but short-term interests of different populations can also diverge. Now for a little bit of context you have to understand that we’re building about 1.3 trillion dollars per year of new construction and we’re losing about a hundred billion dollars a year, probably more, to catastrophe losses. Adopting the modern codes, using today’s codes rather than those of 30 years ago, has cost builders about a billion dollars per year in higher construction costs. Now if you compare that with 1.3 trillion dollars a year in construction expenses that’s a few hours of added construction cost, but it has saved society 13 billion dollars per year. That is to say about 0.13 years of catastrophe losses. If we were to designed to the optimal level, it would cost builders about 4 billion dollars per year or about what the cost of one day of construction but would save society about 16 billion dollars per year, that is about you know like 2 months, about 7 weeks of of catastrophe losses. So there are, in a sense, in the short-term there are winners and losers. Developers would pay more to develop new building while society saved, but the costs and the benefits are very disproportionate. Also, enforcement certainly matters. If we don’t enforce the codes that we’ve got now, we build in catastrophe. So no debate there. But also catastrophes matter. People care about the big one. They don’t care about benefit cost ratios and long term averages and the outcomes of of using engineering economics and whatnot. But even from a catastrophe perspective, you can make the case that stronger buildings are better. In a hypothetical Hayward Fault earthquake the San Francisco Bay Area just building to our current codes and having a big one would lead to something like 25 percent of our buildings either collapsing, being red tagged, or being yellow tagged. Red tag means it’s unsafe to enter and occupy, yellow tag means there’s some limitation on the way you use the building. If we built all those buildings to 50% stronger, something like six percent of the building stock would be impaired in some way after that big one. A big change, and that 25 percent figure is staggering. We cannot afford to have 25 percent of our building stock rendered unoccupable in some way after big earthquake. That would mean out migration from the San Francisco Bay Area after that big one. Now there’s some limitations here. Benefit cost ratios average over buildings and over time, so two buildings might both put more cost into stronger or stiffer better and only one actually benefits because one suffers damage and you know they don’t all suffer the same level of damage in the same earthquake as this picture illustrates. Some additional social challenges to better buildings. Engineers commonly pushback when I talk about who should decide and on what basis they said who better to judge then us engineers. Well that argument would be more valid if we had ever judged. We have never actually judged what the appropriate level of seismic resistance was. We always back calibrate, and we never asked anybody else to judge. And, the back calibration vastly diverges from the public’s preferences as I suggested in with that public opinion survey. When you say the public ought to decide, engineers are members of the public, so we can decide on behalf of the public because we are the public. That actually isn’t true at all. If you look at the subcommittee on seismic loads for ASCE 7, 84 percent of them are professional engineers or structural engineers, so they’re they’re all engineers basically, and the main committee is 90 percent engineers. So are engineers the public? The American Society of Civil Engineers code of ethics distinguishes between five groups the public comes number one, our clients is number two, our employers are number three, the profession is number four, and number five our individual civil engineers. There is a distinction there and that distinction matters because the interests of those five groups diverge. Only one groups interest can be held to be paramount and that’s what the ASCE code of ethics does. It says you shall hold paramount the safety, health, and welfare of the public, and in that case its distinguishing between the public and civil engineers. So, no, engineers are not the public. Well, engineers sometimes push back and say well you know it says right up front of what we’re trying to do with code and when states and cities adopt the code they’re giving informed consent. No, they’re not because they can’t give informed consent. Michael Davis, that engineering ethicist, said that the public comprises all persons whose lack of information training or time for deliberation renders them vulnerable to the powers of an engineer wields on behalf of his client or employer, so they lack the information, the training, and the time to deliberate. They cannot give informed consent if they lack the information, training, and time to deliberate. Furthermore, Lucy Jones again who speaks regularly with City Council’s and mayors says that the City Council’s and mayor’s absolutely don’t know about the life-safety objective and how damaged the code-compliant building stock will be in the aggregate and they’re unsatisfied when they do learn it. Sometimes engineers and others push back and say well costlier buildings would be bad for the economy. The fact is that earthquakes, floods, and hurricanes would be much worse to the economy than costlier buildings. We’re now at a state where the average catastrophe the average year costs us 100 billion dollars a year in catastrophe losses, and we’re now exceeding three hundred billion. In 2017 we exceeded 300 billion dollars in monetary losses from natural disasters. Some short-term. We tend to design for the short-term. In California construction, we’re spending about $1,000 per person per year which is about thirty five billion dollars per year on new construction, of which about 1.4 billion is for lateral strength. The California earthquake losses, according to FEMA, are several times that. We are losing much more than we’re spending to earthquakes. That’s what we can call an investment gap, not an excess of spending on seismic provisions. Some conclusions. Engineer’s never chose appropriate resilience because we are equipped to do so. We are not philosophers, we are not ethicists, we aren’t trained in utilitarian ethics. The size and provisions of the I-codes do protect life, but they provide a false economy protecting developers at the public’s expense. The public expects and is willing to pay for resilient infrastructure. It’s practical and ethical to build more resilient infrastructure. Society can afford it. We would save more than we spend in lives, property, economic shock, and government resources. And if we think resilience is costly, let’s just look at the bill for the lack of resilience. How shall engineers hold paramount the public’s health safety and welfare? We have a choice that looks like this. We can continue to give the public a disposable building stock akin to this one use paper cup that you pay four dollars for a cup of coffee at Starbucks. Imagine that we could give that same cup of coffee in a metal cup that would survive multiple uses for two cents more. That’s the kind of cost difference that we’re talking about, so if you had this choice when you walked into Starbucks four dollars for a paper cup or four dollars and two cents for a reusable cup, what do you think you would prefer and what do you think the society would prefer? A final thought on ethical efficient infrastructure. I showed this research to my hero Ed Wilson from UC Berkeley and he said this is not research it’s common sense, so that’s that’s the thought that I want to leave you with. That it is simply common sense to build buildings better, and with that, I’ll take questions. Keith, thank you so much for the presentation. The questions have been pouring in as you have been speaking, and you’ve received several very kind comments as well. We only have a few minutes to respond, but we let the persons on the webinar know that we’ll be compiling all the questions from the chat and the Q&A and sending them to you for written responses, but we’ll dive in and try to get a few of these before we need to do some wrap-up announcement. So first and foremost, we have a question Keith wanting to know, does the estimation of benefit cost ratio considered the changing profile of risk in many places due to climate change? No, it doesn’t, at least not much. The coastal resilience study included sea-level rise. The riverine flooding study did not. It didn’t account for local changes in precipitation, flooding frequency. It’s all using backward-looking hazard information. Okay, thank you. We also had a question, Keith, about whether engineers are working with urban planners to make sure that resilient buildings are being utilized and contribute to the overall social resilience of community, so where we put the buildings as it involves that partnership with urban planners, are you doing that as part of your work? So if you’re talking about as you say where we put the buildings, no, we did not do a study. We wanted to do a study of zoning you know what if you just zoned off the hundred year flood plain and didn’t build there it would probably be very, very cost effective, but there was a great deal of pushback from the people who were funding the study and from some of our own engineers who said you know there’s some serious practical issues to address when we talk about zoning. The fact that communities zone for revenue they have to keep their tax base alive and so on and we thought that, you know, people want to live in the wild land urban interface because that’s where it’s pretty, and you know it just might not be practical at all to prevent people from living in the high hazard areas, so I would still like to pursue that question it’s just very complicated and we haven’t done it yet. A question I know you can answer right now, are the construction jobs data available related to how if we did this mitigation work it would change the construction employment profile, are those available in the mitigation safe study? Yes, the explanation of how we derived the 30,000 jobs added over the past 30 years and 60,000 jobs added for optimal design that’s all documented in glory detail on the mitigation saves report. Wonderful! Another question related to vulnerability and really social vulnerability. One of our participants asked, obviously the disasters impact people differently. Some people have insurance and may be able to rebuild others cannot afford and may lose all they have. Do you have any numbers or any social vulnerability assessments that are embedded into this really important work. No, we don’t. We recognize that disadvantaged populations are disproportionately harmed by natural disasters, but we were not able to put monetary value on that. This is a sort of simple, straightforward utilitarian everyone counts for one and nobody counts for more or less so every life is the same. The loss of a dollar to a rich person is treated the same as the loss of a dollar to a poor person and obviously that’s problematic. Keith, were going to do one more question, and then I’m going to share my slides and do the wrap-up. One of our attendees said, I think we all agree on this mitigation phase, but how do we get our elected community leaders to actually adopt better codes and regulation? Is there a good guide or talking points to help to get them to realize this? We can lead them to waters of resilience, but we cannot make them drink it. So what advice you have on that, Keith? Well I think that’s a really important problem, and it’s one that the National Institute of Building Science’s Multi- Hazard Mitigation Council, the MMC that under whose auspices we produced this study, is going to try to tackle next. I mean many people are dealing with that question, but in our annual meeting next April, we will ask the question if mitigation is such a good idea why aren’t more people doing it and how do we get more people to to do it? So, we’re addressing that question. FEMA’s asking that question. A whole bunch of organizations are struggling with that question, and I hope that in the coming few years with the benefit of the mitigation saves benefit cost ratios the question will be easier to answer, and we’ll have a little bit more evidence to push states and local governments to adopt stricter codes. Wonderful, so Keith, one of the things that came through loud and clear were many many thanks from our participants on the webinar today as many questions about whether they can get access to your slides, and so everyone on the webinar please know we will be sharing the video recording of Keith. We will be compiling your questions and hopefully his answers within a week or two and posting those on our website, and I hope that everyone on the call can join me in thanking Keith for this incredibly rigorous and thought-provoking presentation, thanking FEMA and the National Science Foundation for supporting the Making Mitigation Work Webinar series, and before we sign off, two quick announcements from us here. So one, on behalf of the Natural Hazard Center team we are so excited to announce that we have a new small grants program called Mitigation Matters that is open to researchers who are interested in proposing studies related to mitigation research and this joins our long-standing Quick Response Grant Program. The deadline is October 1st, 2019, so we hope you’ll go to our Natural Hazards Center website and check out this information. We also want to again thank everyone for joining us today and ask you to save the date for Tuesday October 8, 2019 at 1 p.m. Eastern when we will have our third in this new mitigation webinar series. We will be hearing from Eric Letvin at FEMA who will be talking about the past, present, and future of hazard mitigation assistance. We hope you will sign up via our website and that we will see you in a month. And last but not not least, again please join me in thanking Keith for this presentation today. Please take care of yourself and others everyone. Have a great day! Thank you, Lori, it has been my pleasure. Thank You, Keith. Bye, everyone.


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