Facilities Managers Focused on Resilience Strategies
In March of 2021, New York City passed a law requiring that all public buildings have to meet resilience guidelines as well as a resilience score. Almost a year and a half later, few cities have taken such bold steps to put laws in place but Facility Managers across the country are taking a harder look at how to incorporate resilience measures in conjunction with business continuity planning.
After the pandemic, many schools, government agencies, and libraries-not just businesses-realized thattheir continuity plans for recovering after an interruption due to a disaster were not what they thought it would be. With the IPCC reports showing a significant increase in weather related disasters and predictions of a continued rise in occurrences, resilience strategies are no longer just about making sure that the building is still standing and can hold up to physical damage. Being able to install operational and mechanical systems that can be restored quickly, and/or avoid going down all together, are some of the biggest changes being made to comply with both resilience and business continuity.
Three tips to keep in mind when working on resilience improvements and business continuity planning:
- Take into account the area in which you are located. Understand the power company’s grid and main terminals. (Are you near a hospital so you will likely get restored service sooner than others, or in a remote area that will be one of the last to get brought back on line?) Other utilities like water treatment and sewer systems-proximity, chances of contamination, their restoration time frames. Damns, levies, nuclear power plants-other types of facilities that if impacted severely create issues that you will have to deal with. These are all things to account for in relationship to how near they are to you. There are other hazards such as power lines over head, tree lines, etc.
- Focus on making sure critical systems are up to date and operating properly. Is it time for them to be upgraded? Think of not only things like life safety equipment and emergency power units, but also ventilation systems to help stave of mold growth. What systems are most critical to get you back up and running again, at least partially?
- Have as many systems as possible be able to work remotely. This is not just data and operational systems for employees but what mechanical systems can also be operated and monitored remotely. Is it time to find these add-ons or replace them all together? And then test them!! Run the systems remotely to make sure everything operates correctly. Don’t wait until there is a need and then things don’t go the way you wanted them to.
Architects, engineers, and building material producers are very focused on creating new strategies and products that help improve the resiliency of existing buildings. There are now ways to help create less vulnerability to your facility in the event of forest fires, droughts, flooding, and extreme heat. Science and technology are very much in this game already. So there is no need to wait for future breakthroughs.
If you aren’t sure where to begin, Service1st can assist you. From help with reviewing and planning for business continuity, or making some changes to the structures themselves, our team of disaster professionals can help make designing and implementing your individualized resilience strategies much easier. Reach out today to discuss our Emergency Preparedness Planning (EPP) program or get an estimate for modifications that need to be made.