5 Standards that Support Resilience

Cicely Enright

As we see increasingly severe storms and natural disasters take their toll worldwide, it is clear that better planning for infrastructure is required. And resilience — the ability of an object or material to withstand events over time — has taken on greater significance in the built environment in recent years. Numerous ASTM International standards address resilience or aspects of it. Here is a sampling.

1) The Guide for Climate Resiliency Planning and Strategy (E3032)

This guide reflects the collaboration of the more than 800 members of the committee on environmental assessment, risk management, and corrective action (E50). Its purpose: to help plan to address extreme weather and related physical changes. The matrix approach and the strategies included in the standard touch on general types of risks such as fires, floods, storms, drought, and extreme temperatures, and recommends how to prioritize them. The standard helps an individual, organization, or community to prepare for, or respond to, the impacts of extreme weather.

2) The Guide for Seismic Risk Assessment of Buildings (E2026)

From the committee on performance of buildings (E06), helps users — lenders, loan services, insurers, equity investors, and others — with assessing buildings for possible earthquake-related losses. The standard includes five different types of assessments, building stability, site stability, building damageability, contents damageability, and business interruption, and serves the varying financial and management needs of the user.

3) The Practice for Probable Maximum Loss (PML) Evaluations for Earthquake Due-Diligence Assessments (E2557)

Also from E06, the standards covers how to evaluate and rate buildings’ seismic risk and report on the findings. As a result, lenders, investors, underwriters, rating agencies, and others will be able to compare information about different buildings or groups of buildings and make decisions based on that. Hazards addressed in the practice include earthquake-caused ground shaking, site instability, flooding, and related occurrences (excluding fires and toxic material releases).

4) The Test Method for Water Immersion and Drying for Evaluation of Flood Damage Resistance (E3075)

A third standard from E06, this test method describes the process for exposing a test specimen to conditions that simulate what happens during a flood and after. Also developed by the committee on performance of buildings, the standard provides an approach to compare water absorption and drying characteristics for different specimens, as well as their changes in physical appearance, following immersion, drying, and cleaning. The building materials and their combinations could include floors, walls, ceilings, stairways, finishes, cladding, and more.

5) The Practice for Infrastructure Management (E3210)

Developed by the committee on asset management (E53), the standard provides a framework to assess, plan, and act on infrastructure, from operating and maintaining/repairing existing systems to building new ones. The organization can then make funding decisions accordingly, in a transparent and accountable manner, and decide whether to prioritize expenditures or to compare needs when insufficient funds are available. The 15 systems covered in the standard range from potable water and power to waste disposal, security, entertainment, and more. The standard’s text notes that this information does not supersede or replace regulations or reporting guidelines.

Attend ASTM's ongoing webinar series on Resilience.

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