Haigh, R. and Amaratunga, D. (2010), "Consequences, challenges and opportunities", International Journal of Disaster Resilience in the Built Environment, Vol. 1 No. 3. https://doi.org/10.1108/ijdrbe.2010.43501caa.001Download as .RIS
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Copyright © 2010, Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Consequences, challenges and opportunities
Article Type: Editorial From: International Journal of Disaster Resilience in the Built Environment, Volume 1, Issue 3
This themed issue, which also concludes the inaugural volume of the International Journal of Disaster Resilience in the Built Environment (IJDRBE), is a collection of extended papers from the recent The International Council for Research and Innovation in Building and Construction (CIB) World Congress. CIB is the acronym of the abbreviated French name, “Conseil International du Bâtiment”. The abbreviation has been kept but the full name changed into the International Council for Research and Innovation in Building and Construction. CIB was established to stimulate and facilitate international cooperation and information exchange between governmental research institutes in the building and construction sector, with an emphasis on those institutes engaged in technical fields of research. CIB has developed into a worldwide network of over 5,000 experts from about 500 member organisations with a research, university, industry or government background, who collectively are active in all aspects of research and innovation for building and construction.
The World Congress of the CIB is held every three years and is an opportunity for the whole CIB community to gather and exchange views across the usual disciplinary boundaries. An unprecedented majority of the CIB working commissions and task groups were represented at this 2010 Congress. It focused on “Building a Better World”, recognising that the construction and built environment sectors are hugely important to achieving a world in which people are properly housed, in which buildings and transport systems support the efficient operation of our economies and in which people are happy and healthy.
Disasters are often portrayed as acts of nature. Yet readers of this journal will be aware that this is mostly far from reality. The major factors influencing disaster risks are human and social vulnerability, matched with the capacity of society to respond to or reduce the impact of hazards. Poverty is, therefore, a major factor increasing disaster risk, by increasing vulnerability to disasters and reducing existing coping capacities. It is only by addressing these two issues together that we can make the difference between a community trapped in a relentless poverty cycle, to one with secure lives and livelihoods. The more we know about the causes and consequences of disasters on societies and on our built environment, the more we are able to be better prepared to respond, to rebuild and to reduce risks.
It is, therefore, encouraging that the vital role that the built environment community plays in reducing disaster risk is increasingly recognised by researchers within the CIB. It was notable that the 2010 Congress brought together 32 scientific research papers about disasters and the built environment, a significant increase on the level that has been seen in previous events. A large number of these papers were from postgraduate researchers, which suggests that there will be ongoing attention toward these challenges in the years ahead.
The six papers presented within this themed issue are extended versions of papers that were short-listed by the Congress’ Scientific Committee during a double-blind peer review process and finally selected by the Journal’s Editorial Board. Two papers were selected for special best paper awards, one for an experienced researcher and the other for a postgraduate researcher.
The winner of the Best Paper Award, by Nebil Achour and Andrew D.F. Price, explores UK healthcare resilience strategies by defining gaps and providing suggestions based on international best practice. Their results show that despite robust emergency planning in the UK, many issues could have been avoided if international experience was reviewed carefully. They attribute this to a failure to work closer with multi-disciplinary experts that can provide technical and tactical help and lessons learned from international best practices in addition to limiting accessibility of experts to information.
Roshani Palliyaguru, Dilanthi Amaratunga and Richard Haigh who were awarded Best Paper by a Postgraduate Researcher explore how integration of disaster risk reduction into infrastructure reconstruction can be done in such a way as to contribute to socio-economic development process. They review current policies on post-disaster reconstruction in Sri Lanka and examine the integration of disaster risk reduction within these policies. They conclude that there is a lack of individual policies for disaster risk reduction within reconstruction projects at the national and intermediate-organisational level. They also found problems in the implementation of these policies due to an absence of legitimacy, inadequate awareness by relevant bodies, the attitude of construction professionals, the required speed and quality of reconstruction and the availability of finance for reconstruction.
In the third paper, Mats Persson describes the development of guidelines for the integration of costs and benefits in decision making on investments in coastal zones. These guidelines have been developed in recognition of the growing threat to urban areas that are close to the sea and other water bodies, as they may be adversely affected by erosion and flooding from climate change. Mitigating and adapting to these risks in urban areas are huge challenges for society. The results of two case studies are presented and the prerequisites for impact assessment and project appraisal discussed.
Temitope Kikelomo Egbelakin and Suzanne Wilkinson examine the behavioural and sociological impediments to successful implementation of earthquake hazard mitigation and recommend possible intervention strategies. The paper investigates earthquake hazard mitigation of commercial buildings at the stakeholders level by adopting a multi-disciplinary approach that incorporates decision sciences, policy perspectives and socio-behavioural perspectives. Temitope Kikelomo Egbelakin and Suzanne Wilkinson conclude that stakeholders involved in retrofit decision making need a better understanding of the risks faced, as well as the implications of their decisions.
In “Post-disaster recovery and reconstruction safety training”, K.R. Grosskopf describes a project to facilitate greater awareness of safety hazards likely to be encountered during post-disaster recovery and reconstruction and provide actionable guidance on methods to safely identify, avoid and abate such hazards. K.R. Grosskopf presents the results of pre- and post-training surveys that were administered to evaluate the effectiveness of the training, and, to survey participant demographics, safety attitudes and safety work practices. The findings are statistically significant and applicable to the health and safety of potentially millions of workers engaged in disaster recovery and reconstruction worldwide each year.
In the last research paper of Volume 1, H. Taheri and A. Beitollahi describe the development of a tool for structural analysis and design in near-fault regions, where due to less attenuation, strong ground motion has much more energy. They use near-fault records and pulse extraction using wavelet analysis and finally the design spectra concept.
The concluding article in Volume 1 is a report on the official launch event for the IJDRBE, which was held in the Lowry, Salford Quays, UK, during the CIB World Congress. The event was marked by a key note address and speeches that were witnessed by over 600 delegates.
Richard Haigh, Dilanthi Amaratunga