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Suggested Citation:"8 A Resilient Built Environment for the Research Enterprise." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2017. Strengthening the Disaster Resilience of the Academic Biomedical Research Community: Protecting the Nation's Investment. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/24827.
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8

A Resilient Built Environment for the Research Enterprise

From what we saw during our visit, I can tell you the damage is truly appalling. The violent surge of water from the East River at 31st Street topped all predictions and came with great swiftness, bursting through concrete walls and blowing open iron doors. The lab animal facility was quickly submerged, and thousands of valuable mice and rats were lost. Central facilities for electrical power and heating in an older building were severely damaged; this will take many months to repair since the flood also exposed vast amounts of asbestos.

Francis Collins (2012)

In an ideal academic research institution, all the buildings and infrastructure systems that support the research enterprise would have been designed, constructed, and maintained to withstand serious disasters with little interruption to the programs and occupants. The academic research buildings and supporting infrastructure systems would remain operational; the experiments, research-related assets, and research animals would not be affected; and only a few hours or days would be needed to clean up the mess and get back to normal. Unfortunately, as illustrated in Chapter 2, this is not the case.

Buildings—and the information technology, structural and nonstructural systems, mechanical, electrical, plumbing, natural gas, water, wastewater systems, and building automation control systems that support them—were built over many generations and were typically the product of constrained capital budgets, changing program needs, and design criteria that became outdated over time and were subject to ongoing deterioration

Suggested Citation:"8 A Resilient Built Environment for the Research Enterprise." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2017. Strengthening the Disaster Resilience of the Academic Biomedical Research Community: Protecting the Nation's Investment. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/24827.
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as the building and infrastructure components aged. Historically, buildings and their infrastructure support systems were designed to meet minimum building code requirements at the time that they were built—requirements that intended that the facilities and supporting infrastructure systems would remain usable under normal conditions and protect the life and safety of their human occupants from severe injury or death in the event of natural disasters (McAllister, 2013). Today, building code requirements still represent the minimum design requirements that are needed to support emergency response and the life and safety of human occupants, but they do not include requirements that support the continued operation of the research enterprise or the safety and well-being of research animals following severe natural disasters.

New research buildings may at times be constructed on unsafe sites because the location could be chosen without consideration of the risks and existing hazards. If a threat and hazard identification and a risk assessment are not conducted, the site hazards go unrecognized and there is no consideration of incorporating additional safety features to mitigate these hazards in the new building (FEMA, 2013). There has also been a tendency for institutions to develop a consistent pattern for the floor assignment of vivaria (i.e., locating the vivarium in the basement). This is a particularly dangerous combination if the research building is constructed on a flood-susceptible site—and a combination that has yielded tragic outcomes for research animals over the course of many different disasters (Dalton, 2005; Goodwin and Donaho, 2010; Hartocollis, 2012).

Academic research institutions and researchers may or may not clearly understand the impact that these practices and building code requirements are having on the operations of their research enterprise. Without a clear understanding of the extent of damage that research facilities experience in a disaster and the length of time that is needed to restore function, the ability of academic research institutions and researchers to prepare for the worst is unnecessarily limited, and the opportunity to design and build more resilient facilities is overlooked. This chapter provides guidance on how resilience can be built into an institution through understanding needs, the status quo, the available design criteria, and a holistic, system of system planning.

WHAT DOES THE ACADEMIC RESEARCH INSTITUTION NEED FROM THE BUILT ENVIRONMENT?

Because of the unique value of experiments, research-related assets, and research animals and the generally neutral priority that their protection is given by the building codes and emergency response operations, academic research institutions should establish and implement comprehensive perfor-

Suggested Citation:"8 A Resilient Built Environment for the Research Enterprise." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2017. Strengthening the Disaster Resilience of the Academic Biomedical Research Community: Protecting the Nation's Investment. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/24827.
×

mance-based design criteria for their research facilities that will adequately protect the experiments, research-related assets, and research animals in the event of a disaster. Such criteria, which can exceed the building code’s minimal requirements, have been developed for research facilities that have been affected by disasters. For example, because of multiple flood events, the University of Texas Health Science Center relocated critical research equipment, infrastructure systems, and vivaria above the design elevation so that operations could be fully sustained during and following a flood event (Goodwin and Donaho, 2010).

Research facilities, such as vivaria, that are intended to fully function during and following a natural disaster require space, equipment, and infrastructure support systems that will likely need to be designed beyond the minimum building code requirements, be constructed with adequate independent building inspection to meet the design requirements, and be maintained by trained and credentialed professional facilities operations staff (see Chapter 7 for more details). Academic research institutions control the space and the infrastructure support systems that they own, but they remain dependent on external utility providers for many of their built-environment needs. As a result, regular and close collaboration with local utility providers is critically important in developing research facilities that will remain functional following a disaster.

The resilience of academic research facilities is improved when all elements and systems are considered as an integrated whole, when the possible effects of disruption of the building systems are understood, when the immediate repair and long-term restoration plans are considered ahead of time, and when the institutional capital plans include ongoing incremental financial investments to achieve research facilities’ resilience objectives (NIST, 2015). Constructing new research facilities outside of a hazard zone is a good first step, but anyone attempting to create resilient research facilities should also ensure that research space, equipment, and infrastructure support systems can withstand a disaster with limited damage and that the necessary utilities will be continuously available during and after a disaster, either from their usual source or from reliable temporary back-up sources. Integrated planning that includes considerations of the built environment is needed to mitigate risk and achieve the goal of a resilient academic biomedical research community.

As noted throughout the committee’s report, there is ample evidence that a gradual shift toward disaster-resilient design and the development of resilient design guidelines and standards is now under way, led by federal, state, and local private and public institutions. In February 2016, President Obama issued Executive Order 13717, Establishing a Federal Earthquake Risk Management Standard, which sought to promote resilient construction by directing agencies as follows:

Suggested Citation:"8 A Resilient Built Environment for the Research Enterprise." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2017. Strengthening the Disaster Resilience of the Academic Biomedical Research Community: Protecting the Nation's Investment. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/24827.
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When making investment decisions related to Federal buildings, each executive department and agency responsible for implementing this order shall seek to enhance resilience by reducing risk to the lives of building occupants and improving continued performance of essential functions following future earthquakes.1

This shift toward resilient design has strong similarity to the gradual adoption of sustainable design standards that has occurred over the past 20 years. Initiated at the time as a relatively new and unwelcome challenge from environmentally concerned architects and engineers, sustainable design guidelines stimulated a formal program and rating system for measuring sustainability. The Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) program developed by the U.S. Green Building Council was often perceived as an unwelcome change, but it eventually gained widespread public acceptance due to concerns about climate change, and it has now become a standard of the design and construction industry and has fostered a large number of similar scoring and rating systems that are widely accepted (RBC, 2010). Resilience to disasters is on the same path and, with time, will likely become commonplace. Commenting from the property and asset protection perspective of the risk management industry, one recent risk management industry publication cited the strong relationship among institutional strategic planning, developing building-performance rating systems to compare capital investments with business continuity risks, and creating resilience management tools (Reis et al., 2016). Those researchers further commented:

In recognition that sustainability truly requires resilience as well as environmental stewardship, the U.S. Green Building Council is considering awarding a pilot Resilience Point for buildings that receive high performance ratings. Resilience is the natural evolution of sustainability. Events like Hurricane Katrina and Superstorm Sandy have made it painfully clear that it is not enough for our buildings to be a low impact on the environment—the environment must also have a low impact on our buildings. (Reis et al., 2016)

THE CURRENT BUILT ENVIRONMENT OF THE RESEARCH ENTERPRISE

In the United States, the design and construction of the built environment is regulated at various levels of government (McAllister, 2013). At the beginning of the 20th century there were few regulations, and construction proceeded based on the knowledge and experience of the local builders.

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1 Executive Order 13717 of February 2, 2016, Federal Register 81:6407 (February 5, 2016).

Suggested Citation:"8 A Resilient Built Environment for the Research Enterprise." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2017. Strengthening the Disaster Resilience of the Academic Biomedical Research Community: Protecting the Nation's Investment. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/24827.
×

Beginning in the mid-20th century, building codes emerged that regulated the design and construction of buildings; these codes were based on failures that occurred under normal environmental conditions and in response to the occurrence of natural disasters. Special requirements evolved related to facilities that used hazardous materials and to those facilities, such as hospitals, that were needed to support the disaster response efforts. By the end of the 20th century, comprehensive national model standards and building codes adopted by jurisdictions and the design and construction industry generally focused on maintaining operations under normal conditions and ensuring human safety in the event of a disaster. In the event of a disaster, essential facilities were required to be designed to maintain their operations during and following a disaster, and facilities that handled or stored hazardous materials were required to be designed to maintain containment (VA, 2016). Multiple public and private institutions have developed their own specialized standards to meet their specific needs, and these typically exceed the building code minimum requirements (Lindeburg and McMullin, 2011).

The built environment that directly supports academic research institutions—and, specifically, their research enterprise—includes research laboratories, core research facilities, laboratory animal facilities, research support areas and offices, information technology, and other infrastructure support systems. In general, it is reasonable to expect that all of these facilities have been designed to be compliant with the local building codes so as to protect their occupants in the event of a disaster—without regard, however, to protecting the facility itself or its contents, including the research-related assets and research animals. The infrastructure support systems for research facilities, if compliant with local building codes, may not be fully operational after disasters, and service interruptions can occur that could last from days to weeks or longer (NIST, 2015). Temporary power, backup communication systems, water storage, and provision for wastewater storage onsite will likely be required to compensate for the outages expected in the building, campus, and community infrastructure systems. Build-back standards2 should be adopted and used to improve the overall resiliency of research buildings owned by the academic institution.

Academic research institutions that receive National Institutes of Health (NIH) capital funding for construction and equipment, including the expansion, remodeling, renovation, or alteration of existing buildings, are encouraged to comply with the minimum requirements stipulated in Code of

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2Build-back standards are defined as design and construction requirements related to the repair, retrofit, rehabilitation, or replacement of a facility damaged in a disaster. These standards are often related to the standards used for the original construction unless the damages exceed 50 percent of the facility value or there is a desire to “build-back better.” In that case, the design and construction usually follows the current standards for new buildings (ICC, 2015).

Suggested Citation:"8 A Resilient Built Environment for the Research Enterprise." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2017. Strengthening the Disaster Resilience of the Academic Biomedical Research Community: Protecting the Nation's Investment. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/24827.
×

Federal Regulations (42 CFR § 52b.12)3 and the latest requirements of the NIH Design Requirements Manual (DRM) for biomedical laboratories and the animal research facilities that they own (NIH, 2016). Prior to November 2016, the DRM had an exhaustive set of prescriptive requirements that were intended to improve the usefulness, safety, energy efficiency, indoor air quality, maintenance, and operations of biosafety level 1–4 facilities, animal facilities, and tanks during normal operating conditions (NIH, 2013). The DRM also followed the national model building codes and standards and only requires research facilities to be designed and constructed to the same fire and life safety standards as commercial office buildings. As a result, the expected performance of academic research facilities in the event of a disaster—if they have been designed and constructed based solely on the national model building codes and standards—is that they will need to be repaired or replaced before research operations can be fully functional.

The 2016 DRM also contains specific provisions for improving the resilience of the built environment during disasters by requiring a project-by-project risk assessment that considers the consequences of system failures and develops appropriate, affordable mitigation actions (NIH, 2016). Section 1.15.6 of the DRM, Risk Assessment, System Failures, and Disaster Mitigation (p. 99), calls for an assessment in the pre-project planning stage that investigates all facets of the research, how that research dictates the program, equipment, and necessary infrastructure, and addresses the consequences of failure during a disaster. The goal of the DRM is to design systems that minimize the potential for loss of service to avoid or minimize impact on research and facility operations, if justified by the risk assessment. The section also includes a wide variety of requirements related to facility location, the internal layout of spaces, the location of critical equipment and utilities, fail-safe control systems, provisions for a quality control that strives for error-free design and construction, the determination of the potential failure points, and provisions for redundant systems to cover those failures. Section 5.2.1 G of the DRM, Structural Loads (p. 274), includes special provisions for seismic loads because of the specialized nature of NIH facilities. Designers are instructed to contact the NIH Division of Technical Resources in the initial stage of the design process to determine if more conservative parameters than those included in the International Building Code (IBC) are required. The requirement applies to all NIH-owned new buildings, all existing buildings being proposed

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342 CFR § 52b.12, What are the minimum requirements of construction and equipment. See http://www.ecfr.gov/cgi-bin/text-idx?SID=4e04f9552158709fb780a99ec462a811&mc=true&node=se42.1.52b_112&rgn=div8.

Suggested Citation:"8 A Resilient Built Environment for the Research Enterprise." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2017. Strengthening the Disaster Resilience of the Academic Biomedical Research Community: Protecting the Nation's Investment. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/24827.
×

for renovation, and all buildings classified as IBC Risk Category IV.4 The recently adopted DRM is an effective tool that can be used by academic research institutions to understand the risks that they face on a project-by-project basis and also the opportunities for mitigation. Over time, as these new standards are implemented, facilities will build resilience with each renovation or new construction project.

The programs instituted by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and the University of California (UC) are both examples of other specialized codes, standards, and retrofit programs aimed at improving the quality and resilience of the built environment and its resistance to earthquakes.

A collapse of two unreinforced masonry buildings in 1971 that killed 49 people at the VA hospital in Sylmar–San Fernando earthquake triggered national legislation requiring the Secretary of the VA to ensure that each medical facility was constructed to be resistant to fire, earthquakes, and other natural disasters (VA, 2016). This led to the creation of the Secretaries Advisory Committee on Structural Safety, which created and in 1975 formally approved H-08-8, the first special seismic design provisions for all VA facilities. This standard was the first of its kind, has been updated regularly as new understanding has emerged, and in 1995 was substantially modified to align with national standards, at which point it was retitled H-18-08. Today, these provisions categorize VA buildings into three sets—critical facilities, essential facilities, and ancillary facilities—for purposes of setting the seismic design criteria (VA, 2016). Critical facilities, which are designed to remain fully functional during and after a disaster, include acute care, ambulatory care, and animal facilities as well as the buildings that support those operations and also the security of the medical center. Essential facilities, which must remain operational and require only minor repairs in the wake of a disaster, include pharmacy, dietetics, long-term care, and mental health and rehabilitation facilities. The rest of the medical center facility’s buildings are designated as ancillary facilities and are considered nonessential to the operation of the medical center after a major seismic event; they are designed to protect the safety of their occupants but not the functions of the facilities. Since 1975, the VA has been designing their facilities that support biomedical research as critical facilities that are intended to remain fully functional in the event of a major earthquake (VA, 2016).

While the UC Berkeley campus was undergoing initial planning in 1878, a major earthquake occurred on the Hayward Fault which runs directly through the campus (Comerio et al., 2006). In the subsequent

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4 Risk categories are defined in IBC Section 202 as “a characterization of buildings and other structures for determination of flood, wind, snow, ice and earthquake loads based on the risk associated with unacceptable performance.” Risk Category IV is defined as “Buildings designated as essential facilities including hospitals, police and fire stations, emergency response centers, with national defense functions” (ICC, 2015).

Suggested Citation:"8 A Resilient Built Environment for the Research Enterprise." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2017. Strengthening the Disaster Resilience of the Academic Biomedical Research Community: Protecting the Nation's Investment. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/24827.
×

150 years, the campus has been built and renovated to address the risks associated with seismic events, including those that have been discovered due to natural disasters that have occurred along the way. After the 1971 Sylmar–San Fernando Valley earthquake caused damage to the UC Los Angeles campus, the university decided to reevaluate all of the buildings on its nine campuses and develop new seismic design standards that included retrofit requirements. The initial work began in 1975 and was significantly updated after the 1989 Loma Prieta and 1995 Kobe, Japan, earthquakes by Professor Mary Comerio with the development of the Seismic Action Plan for Facilities Enhancement and Renewal. At the same time, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) asked Dr. Comerio to undertake a study of the losses and economic impacts on the UC Berkeley campus that could serve as a model for the development of university campus risk management strategies. The resulting work by Dr. Comerio provided the foundation for the FEMA Disaster-Resistant University initiative (Comerio et al., 2006).

Because the built environment has historically not been designed to protect the research equipment, materials, or animals, response and recovery plans have generally assumed that all buildings will need to be evacuated and fully restored or replaced before they can be reopened and carry on their function. While this approach is appropriate for worse-case scenario planning, it is not necessarily a good representation of what actually will happen, what will need to be done to restore research operations, or how targeted mitigation can add resilience and improve the expected outcomes (NIST, 2015).

Holistic resilience planning that takes into account all the buildings and supporting infrastructure systems at the academic research institution can provide a focused view of what is needed from the built environment for each given potential disaster, what ability the existing facilities and systems currently have, and what gaps in performance can become targets for pre-disaster mitigation (McAllister, 2013; NIST, 2015). Making the built environment more resilient by reducing losses and accelerating recovery is an invaluable and cost-effective strategy for any institution committed to improving the disaster resilience of its current and future research enterprise, and it is particularly valuable for the individual scientists and their life’s work of discovery, creativity, and innovation.

HOLISTIC RESILIENCE PLANNING FOR THE BUILT ENVIRONMENT

Academic research institutions can improve the resilience of the built environment that supports their research enterprise by building new facilities and retrofitting existing facilities to the performance levels required to

Suggested Citation:"8 A Resilient Built Environment for the Research Enterprise." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2017. Strengthening the Disaster Resilience of the Academic Biomedical Research Community: Protecting the Nation's Investment. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/24827.
×

sustain that research enterprise in the event of natural disasters (McAllister, 2013). This requires a comprehensive planning process that establishes integrated performance goals, provides ongoing evaluations of existing conditions to determine gaps and identify capital needs to support the facilities and infrastructure performance objectives, and establishes an institution’s specialized standards for new construction, which may exceed the local building code minimum standards for performance (NIST, 2015).

In late 2015, the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) published the first comprehensive program for understanding and improving the resilience of the built environment at the community level (NIST, 2015). It is beginning to receive widespread attention and use by early-adopting communities such as the Boulder Collaborative in Colorado (Moddemeyer et al., 2016; NIST, 2016). While written to support community-wide planning, it can be used to focus on the entire system of systems that make up the academic research enterprise and its ability to function in the event of disasters. It was published as the Community Resilience Planning Guide for Buildings and Infrastructure Systems (NIST Planning Guide) (NIST, 2015).

The NIST Planning Guide offers a holistic view of all the buildings and infrastructure systems that support the local built environment, and it determines which performance goals are appropriate for the disasters that are expected for a community and how to achieve them (NIST, 2015). It is fully compatible with NIH’s DRM and, through application of the planning process, can specifically inform the extent to which the goals of the DRM are appropriate (NIH, 2016; NIST, 2015). The NIST Planning Guide also has the ability to pinpoint specific vulnerabilities in the existing built environment that may need immediate renovation and retrofit. It provides a set of performance goals based on a common risk assessment.

The NIST Planning Guide outlines a broad-based, six-step process that can be applied to any jurisdiction, large or small, public or private, with national, state, regional, or local boundaries (NIST, 2015) (Figure 8-1). It is fully compatible with the National Planning Frameworks (see Chapter 4), and it is purposefully written to provide a wide range of options for resilience planning related to the built environment (FEMA 2016b; NIST, 2015). It is organized around understanding and quantifying the potential disasters, identifying the buildings and infrastructure systems that constitute the built environment, understanding the consequences of the damage that may occur when disaster strikes, and estimating the time needed to recover functionality of the entire system.

For new construction, the NIST Planning Guide defines specific performance levels as shown in Table 8-1 (NIST, 2015). When used in connection with other planning tools, it brings to the academic research facility building type a unique and realistic perspective on what is needed from the built environment to adequately protect research activities, equipment, materials,

Suggested Citation:"8 A Resilient Built Environment for the Research Enterprise." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2017. Strengthening the Disaster Resilience of the Academic Biomedical Research Community: Protecting the Nation's Investment. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/24827.
×
Suggested Citation:"8 A Resilient Built Environment for the Research Enterprise." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2017. Strengthening the Disaster Resilience of the Academic Biomedical Research Community: Protecting the Nation's Investment. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/24827.
×

TABLE 8-1 NIST Planning Guide Performance Level Definitions

Performance Level Definition
Safe and operational These facilities incur minor damage and continue to function without interruption. Essential facilities need this level of function.
Safe and usable during repair These facilities experience moderate damage to their finishes, contents, and support systems. They receive green tags from qualified inspectors and are safe to occupy after a hazard event. This performance is suitable for shelter-in-place residential buildings, neighborhood businesses and services, and other businesses or services deemed important to community recovery.
Safe and not usable These facilities meet minimum safety goals, but remain closed until they are repaired. These facilities receive yellow tags from qualified inspectors. This performance may be suitable for some of the facilities that support the community’s economy. Demand for business and market factors will determine when they need to be functional.
Unsafe—partial or complete collapse These facilities are dangerous because the extent of damage may lead to casualties. These buildings receive red tags from qualified inspectors.

SOURCE: NIST (2015, p. 39).

and research animals. With this information, short-, mid-, and long-term capital improvement plans with features similar to those in the DRM requirements can be developed and implemented over time to improve the response and recovery process.

Application of the NIST Planning Guide

The following application of the NIST Planning Guide illustrates how it can be used for resilience planning related to academic research facilities for hurricanes. It has been developed for this report based on early resilience planning work at the University of Washington which is included in this chapter as a case study (Jenny et al., 2013). It has not been specifically used at any academic research institution.

This example application of the NIST Planning Guide to academic research facilities is done within the six-step process described in the planning section of Chapter 4. The below example relates specifically to the role of the built environment as covered in the first four steps of the six-step process. The results are summarized in the example matrices shown in Tables 8-4 and 8-5, which are based on those used in the NIST Planning Guide and adapted for use by academic research facilities. These example matrices provide a one-page summary of the resilience plan as it relates to the built environment. These example matrices show the disaster under

Suggested Citation:"8 A Resilient Built Environment for the Research Enterprise." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2017. Strengthening the Disaster Resilience of the Academic Biomedical Research Community: Protecting the Nation's Investment. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/24827.
×

consideration, the building clusters and supporting systems, the support required, the designated and anticipated performance levels, and the building category for use in new design or rehabilitation projects. The specific information shown in the example matrices is for illustration only. Each academic research institution needs to consider its unique situation and determine its building clusters and performance goals.

Step 1. Form a Collaborative Planning Team

The planning committee implementing the planning process is described in Chapter 4. Participation by senior institutional leaders, including capital planners and business continuity specialists, is critical to the success of the academic research facilities planning process (NIST, 2015, Chapter 2). The planning committee develops all the information shown in the matrix and oversees the subsequent implementation steps.

Step 2. Understanding the Situation

The built environment is characterized as building clusters (buildings with common functions) that support the research enterprise, including administrative, faculty, and student offices; laboratories and animal research facilities; instructional facilities; and on-campus housing. The critical infrastructure systems that support these clusters include transportation, power, communication, water, and wastewater services. Consistent with the VA design guide and as shown in the first column of the example matrices, these clusters are organized into three groups: critical facilities, essential facilities, and ancillary facilities (VA, 2016).

The Threat and Hazard Identification and Risk Assessment process described in Chapter 4 needs to be further defined in terms that can inform the design process. The NIST Planning Guide calls for considering the definition of a “design event” and an “extreme event” for each hazard (e.g., snow, rain, wind, flood, earthquake, etc.) (NIST, 2015, Chapter 3). Design events are expected to occur once in the life of the building or system and are often the basis of mitigation planning. Extreme events are the worst case that is reasonable to consider and are often used for emergency response planning. For each of the types of disaster that is anticipated, the design- and extreme-level disasters need to be determined and used either for new building or system design criteria or for assessing existing facilities. Table 8-2 specifies the recommended hazard levels for each event from the NIST Planning Guide based on the current national building code requirements. For this example application, the example matrices in Tables 8-4 and 8-5 are based on the 700-year “design” level hurricane and the 1,700-year “extreme” level hurricane.

Suggested Citation:"8 A Resilient Built Environment for the Research Enterprise." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2017. Strengthening the Disaster Resilience of the Academic Biomedical Research Community: Protecting the Nation's Investment. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/24827.
×

TABLE 8-2 NIST Hazard Levels for Buildings and Systems

Hazard Routine Design Extreme
Ground snow 50-year MRI or 64% in 50 years 300- to 500-year MRIa or 15 to 10% in 50 years To be determinedb
Rain Locally determinedc Locally determinedc Locally determinedc
Wind—non-hurricane 50-year MRI or 64% in 50 years 700-year MRI or 7% in 50 years 1,700-year MRId or 3% in 50 years
Wind—hurricane 50- to 100-year MRI or 64 to 39% in 50 years 700-year MRI or 7% in 50 years 1,700-year MRId or 3% in 50 years
Wind—tornado Locally determinedd Locally determinedd Locally determinedd
Earthquaked 50-year MRI or 64% in 50 years 500-year MRI or 10% in 50 years 2,500-year MRI or 2% in 50 years
Tsunami Locally determinedd Locally determinedd Locally determinedd
Flood Locally determined 100- to 500-year MRI or 39 to 10% in 50 years Locally determined
Fire—wildfire Locally determinedb Locally determinedb Locally determinedb
Fire—urban/manmade Locally determinedb Locally determinedb Locally determinedb
Blast/terrorism Locally determinede Locally determinede Locally determinede

NOTE: MRI = mean recurrence interval.

a For the northeast, 1.6 (the Load and Resistance Factor Design [LRFG] factor on snow load) times the 50-year ground snow load is equivalent to the 300- to 500-year snow load.

b Hazards to be determined in conjunction with design professionals’ deterministic scenarios.

c Rain is designed by rainfall intensity of inches per hour or mm/h, as specified by the local code.

d Tornado and tsunami loads are not addressed in ASCE 7-10. Tornadoes are presently classified by the Enhanced Fujila (EF) scale. See FEMA (2015) for tornado EF-scale wind speeds.

e Hazards to be determined based on deterministic scenarios. Reference UFC 04-020-01 (Department of Defense, 2008) for examples of deterministic scenarios.

SOURCE: NIST, 2015, p. 43.

Design and extreme hazard events will result in varying consequences to the region that will impact the institution’s ability to respond and recover. The NIST Planning Guide uses the size of the affected area and level of disruption to describe the impact for planning purposes. Table 8-3 defines the categories used to describe the size of the affected area and

Suggested Citation:"8 A Resilient Built Environment for the Research Enterprise." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2017. Strengthening the Disaster Resilience of the Academic Biomedical Research Community: Protecting the Nation's Investment. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/24827.
×

TABLE 8-3 NIST Hazard Impact Categories

Category Definition
Affected area Localized Damage and lost functionality is contained within an isolated area of the community. While the emergency operations center (EOC) may open, it is able to organize needed actions within a few days and allow the community to return to normal operations and manages recovery. Economic impacts are localized.
Community Significant damage and loss of functionality is contained within the community, such that assistance is required from neighboring areas that were not affected. The EOC opens, directs the response, and turns recovery over to usual processes once the city governance structure takes over. Economic impacts extend to the region or state.
Regional Significant damage occurs beyond community boundaries. Area needing emergency response and recovery assistance covers multiple communities in a region, each activating its respective EOCs and seeking assistance in response and recovery from outside the region. Economic impacts may extend nationally and globally.
Anticipated disruption level Minor All required response and recovery assistance is handled within the normal operating procedures of the affected community agencies, departments, and local businesses with little to no disruption to the normal flow of living. Critical facilities and emergency housing are functional and community infrastructure systems are functional with local minor damage.
Moderate Community EOC activates and all response and recovery assistance is orchestrated locally, primarily using local resources. Critical facilities and emergency housing are functional and community infrastructure systems are partially functional.
Severe Response and recovery efforts are beyond the authority and capability of local communities that are affected and outside coordination is needed to meet the needs of the multiple jurisdictions affected. Professional services and physical resources are needed from outside of the region. Critical facilities and emergency housing may have moderate damage but can be occupied with repairs; community infrastructure systems are not functional for most needs.

NOTE: EOC = emergency operations center.

SOURCE: NIST, 2015, p. 45.

Suggested Citation:"8 A Resilient Built Environment for the Research Enterprise." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2017. Strengthening the Disaster Resilience of the Academic Biomedical Research Community: Protecting the Nation's Investment. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/24827.
×

anticipated disruption level. Estimating the impact of each hazard event considered in this manner will help the institution planners determine the level of support they will need to respond and recover. This information is catalogued in the performance matrices as shown in Tables 8-4 and 8-5.

Step 3. Determining Goals and Objectives

For each building cluster and infrastructure system, time-to-recover goals are determined for each disaster event that is applicable to an institution’s specific geography and history (NIST, 2015, Chapter 4). Goals for both the design and the extreme events are determined. Each goal should include the requirement to provide life safety protection for faculty, students, employees, clients, and visitors; the requirement to provide protection of research-related assets and research animals; and the permissible time to restore facilities’ functions to full acceptable operation. As defined in the NIST Planning Guide, the time-to-recover goals are further broken down into three subgoals; minimal (30 percent), functional (60 percent), and operational (90 percent) usability levels. In this application, minimal usability represents what is needed while under emergency conditions, functional usability represents what is needed to permit usual operations without any student instruction, and operational usability represents full restoration of capacity.

The subgoals for each building cluster and system are set within one of the three phases of response defined in the National Disaster Recovery Framework discussed in Chapter 6 (FEMA, 2016a). Return to function is expressed in terms of a range of days during Phase 1, weeks during Phase 2, and months during Phase 3. Table 8-4 shows the goals set for this application for the design-level disaster, and Table 8-5 shows the goals set for the extreme disaster (NIST, 2015).

Finally, the NIST Planning Guide requires identification of the anticipated performance of the building clusters and supporting infrastructure systems (NIST, 2015). For owned buildings, this is generally a two-step process that uses rapid screening techniques to determine which buildings and infrastructure systems need detailed study. For non-owned assets, the planning team needs to coordinate with the current owners and understand their facilities’ vulnerabilities, the post-disaster renovation priorities, and the expected return-to-function time frames. The results of the determination of anticipated performance are added to the example matrices as “as-is” blue boxes shown in Tables 8-4 and 8-5. The differences between the desired performance goals and the anticipated performance identify the resulting gaps in the built-environment resilience plan.

Suggested Citation:"8 A Resilient Built Environment for the Research Enterprise." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2017. Strengthening the Disaster Resilience of the Academic Biomedical Research Community: Protecting the Nation's Investment. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/24827.
×

TABLE 8-4 Example of a Design-Level Performance Matrix: Academic Research Facility Performance Goals

Disturbance1
Hazard Type Hurricane with storm surge
Hazard Level Design
Affected Area Regional
Disruption Level Moderate
Restoration Levels2,3
Minimal Usability restored
Functional Usability restored
Operational Usability restored
As is Anticipated performance
Building Clusters Support Needed4 Designated and Anticipated Performance
Phase 1: Short-Term Phase 2: Intermediate Phase 3: Long-Term
Days Weeks Months
0 1 1-3 1-4 4-8 8-12 4 4-24 24+
Building Performance Category
A B C D
Critical Facilities
Research Laboratory F Minimal Functional Operational As is
Animal Facilities F Minimal Functional Operational As is
IT Facilities L Operational As is
Emergency Operations Center L Operational As is
Police and Fire Facilities L Minimal Operational As is
Infrastructure Supporting Critical Facilities
Transportation R,S Minimal Functional Operational As is
Power R,S Operational As is
Communication L Minimal Functional Operational As is
Water L Minimal Functional Operational As is
Waste Water L Minimal Functional Operational As is
Ancillary Facilities
Instructional Facilities F Functional Operational As is
Student and Faculty Offices F Minimal Functional Operational As is
Administrative Offices F Minimal Functional Operational As is
On Campus Housing F Functional Operational As is
Infrastructure Supporting Ancillary Facilities
Transportation R,S Minimal Functional Operational As is
Power R,S Minimal Functional Operational As is
Communication L Minimal Functional Operational As is
Water L Minimal Functional Operational As is
Waste Water L Minimal Functional Operational As is

1Specify hazard type being considered to determine anticipated performance.

Specify hazard level used to determine anticipated performance – Design, Extreme.

Specify anticipated size of the area affected – Local, Community, Regional.

Specify anticipated severity of disruption – Minor, Moderate, Severe.

2Desired usability restoration times:

Minimal As needed under emergency conditions including shelter-in-place and protect research material, etc.

Functional As needed to permit usual operations without student instruction.

Operational As needed to support all services and functions at normal capacity.

3As is Anticipated time required to restore existing facilities to the operational level.

4Indicate levels of support anticipated by plan:

L = Local; R = Regional; S = State; MS = Multi-State; F = Federal; C = Civil (Corporate/Local).

SOURCE: Adapted from National Institutes of Standards and Technology, 2015.

Suggested Citation:"8 A Resilient Built Environment for the Research Enterprise." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2017. Strengthening the Disaster Resilience of the Academic Biomedical Research Community: Protecting the Nation's Investment. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/24827.
×

TABLE 8-5 Example of an Extreme-Level Performance Matrix: Academic Research Facility Performance Goals

Disturbance1
Hazard Type Hurricane with storm surge
Hazard Level Extreme
Affected Area Regional
Disruption Level Moderate
Restoration Levels2,3
Minimal Usability restored
Functional Usability restored
Operational Usability restored
As is Anticipated performance
Building Clusters Support Needed4 Designated and Anticipated Performance
Phase 1: Short-Term Phase 2: Intermediate Phase 3: Long-Term
Days Weeks Months
0 1 1-3 1-4 4-8 8-12 4 4-24 24+
Building Performance Category
A B C D
Critical Facilities
Research Laboratory F Minimal Functional Operational As is
Animal Facilities F Minimal Functional Operational As is
IT Facilities L Minimal Functional Operational As is
Emergency Operations Center L Operational As is As is
Police and Fire Facilities L Minimal Functional Operational As is
Infrastructure Supporting Critical Facilities
Transportation R,S Minimal Functional Operational As is
Power R,S Minimal Functional Operational As is
Communication L Minimal Functional Operational As is
Water L Minimal Functional Operational As is
Waste Water L Minimal Functional Operational As is
Ancillary Facilities
Instructional Facilities F Functional Operational As is
Student and Faculty Offices F Minimal Functional Operational As is
Administrative Offices F Minimal Functional Operational As is
On Campus Housing F Functional Operational As is
Infrastructure Supporting Ancillary Facilities
Transportation R,S Minimal Functional Operational As is
Power R,S Minimal Functional Operational As is
Communication L Minimal Functional Operational As is
Water L Minimal Functional Operational As is
Waste Water L Minimal Functional Operational As is

1Specify hazard type being considered to determine anticipated performance.

Specify hazard level used to determine anticipated performance – Design, Extreme.

Specify the anticipated size of the area affected – Local, Community, Regional.

Specify anticipated severity of disruption – Minor, Moderate, Severe.

2Desired usability restoration times:

Minimal As needed under emergency conditions including shelter-in-place and protect research material, etc.

Functional As needed to permit usual operations without student instruction.

Operational As needed to support all services and functions at normal capacity.

3As is Anticipated time required to restore existing facilities to the operational level.

4Indicate levels of support anticipated by plan:

L = Local; R = Regional; S = State; MS = Multi-State; F = Federal; C = Civil (Corporate/Local).

SOURCE: Adapted from National Institute of Standards and Technology, 2015.

Suggested Citation:"8 A Resilient Built Environment for the Research Enterprise." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2017. Strengthening the Disaster Resilience of the Academic Biomedical Research Community: Protecting the Nation's Investment. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/24827.
×

Step 4. Plan Development

For each performance gap, it is important to provide a detailed understanding of the deficiency, with short- and long-term administrative or construction-related solutions identified as well as when support is needed (NIST, 2015, Chapter 5). The example matrices in Tables 8-4 and 8-5 include a column to indicate what level of support is needed. Short-term solutions may include plans for working around the damage temporarily, such as using temporary facilities, emergency generators, bottled water, etc. For example, the installations of freezers with redundant electrical service or laboratory animal facilities that are designed fail-safe for shelter in place regardless of the hazard event represent short-term solutions. Long-term solutions will generally involve renovation actions or the construction of new facilities. Priority should be given to the actions that build on one another and in the process increase by each increment of improvement the resilience of the research enterprise’s built environment. The subsequent resilience plan needs to then be incorporated into the “family of plans,” which includes such things as the emergency operations plan, the business continuity plan, and the capital plan.

For this application, administrative actions may include

  • Developing recovery plans for teaching, research, service, and business continuity throughout the institution.
  • Establishing immediate-response procedures for the research personnel including shelter-in-place criteria for laboratory animal facilities, temporary repair strategies, mutual aid agreements, temporary facilities, temporary equipment, and sources for the supplies needed to cover the gap period.
  • Communicating widely the results of the resilience planning process to increase the level of understanding about what is expected to happen.
  • Negotiating accelerated recovery times as needed with external utility system providers.

For this application, construction-related actions may include

  • Establishing and implementing site and building performance-based design criteria for all renovation projects and new construction, including privatized housing and buildings, that meet established performance goals using design professionals that are knowledgeable about performance-based design for disasters and experienced with academic research facilities.
  • Specifying risk categories used in the model building codes combined with a post-design evaluation that demonstrates that the es-
Suggested Citation:"8 A Resilient Built Environment for the Research Enterprise." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2017. Strengthening the Disaster Resilience of the Academic Biomedical Research Community: Protecting the Nation's Investment. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/24827.
×
  • tablished goals have been successfully met. Critical facilities should be identified by the institution. If an institution identifies a building as a critical facility, institutional policy should consider establishing the facility as essential facilities designed and constructed consistent with IBC Risk Category IV or, for ancillary facilities with Risk Category II.5

  • Centralizing district energy generation or otherwise enhancing redundancy for emergency power generation to meet all needs identified in the plan and for the duration required.
  • Establishing and funding a building equipment and materials protection retrofit program that can be implemented by the facilities and laboratory management staffs. For example, in flood-prone areas, move critical equipment and research materials to high ground. For hurricane-prone regions, move critical equipment and research materials away from exterior walls that can be breeched by high winds and driving rain. In seismic-event-prone areas, anchor and brace all equipment and utility systems to prevent movement, damage, and rupture.
  • Seeking opportunities to provide utility services onsite in properly designed systems that can provide the service dictated by the performance goals. Examples include microgrid power networks that are confined to the campus, independent local water sources, and stand-alone communication systems capable of supporting the response and recovery.

The following case study illustrates a real-time application of the NIST Planning Guide process. While it does not follow the six steps exactly, or use the matrix presentation, it does contain all the key elements.

CASE STUDY—UNIVERSITY OF WASHINGTON CONCEPTUAL PLAN TO IMPROVE RESILIENCE

A major research university planning process, based on the still-underdevelopment NIST Planning Guide, was initiated for the University of Washington (UW) in 2012 and resulted in a number of concepts for use in increasing the resilience of buildings in the face of expected or extreme seismic hazard events (Jenny et al., 2013). This case was selected because it is the only known and referenced application of the NIST Planning Guide at an academic research institution.

___________________

5 Risk Category II includes buildings such as residential and commercial structures that are not listed in Risk Category I, III, and IV. Most buildings in a community are this risk category, which is intended to provide life safety but not continuous function or occupancy (ICC, 2015).

Suggested Citation:"8 A Resilient Built Environment for the Research Enterprise." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2017. Strengthening the Disaster Resilience of the Academic Biomedical Research Community: Protecting the Nation's Investment. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/24827.
×

UW formed a collaborative planning team (Step 1 of the NIST Planning Guide) composed of university administrators and personnel and convened a 2-day workshop also attended by City of Seattle administrators and three visiting experts (Jenny et al., 2013). The team determined how to cluster the campus buildings into groups of common performance (Step 2 of the NIST Planning Guide), established performance goals for design-level and extreme-level earthquakes and set forth plans for assessing the current conditions (Step 3 of the NIST Planning Guide), and concluded with the development of a prioritized long-term implementation plan (Step 4 of the NIST Planning Guide). The results of their planning work are summarized in the following four sections (Jenny et al., 2013).

Building Clusters

The NIST Planning Guide defines a building cluster as “a set of buildings and supporting infrastructure systems, not necessarily geographically co-located, that serve a common function such as housing, healthcare, retail, etc.,” (NIST, 2015). The UW team chose to cluster the university’s buildings into the following six functional categories (Jenny et al., 2013):

Research Laboratories

Research facilities with ongoing experiments that are 2 years or older and depend on a specially conditioned environment.

Essential Facilities

Emergency operations center, police and fire stations, hospital, shelters, and temporary administrative quarters.

Information Technology Facilities and Networks

Offices, data centers, distributed hubs, and infrastructure to support connectivity.

Instructional facilities

Classrooms, auditoriums, faculty offices, teaching laboratories, and sports facilities.

Housing

Residential complexes that include dining facilities.

Administrative offices

Offices of the president, provost, vice presidents, and related staff.

Established Performance Goals

The NIST Planning Guide defines performance goals generally as “metrics or specific objectives that define successful performance. For the built environment, performance goals include objectives related to desirable features, such as occupant protection or time for repairs and return to

Suggested Citation:"8 A Resilient Built Environment for the Research Enterprise." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2017. Strengthening the Disaster Resilience of the Academic Biomedical Research Community: Protecting the Nation's Investment. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/24827.
×

function” (NIST, 2015). The UW team chose to define recovery in terms of the time needed to return to function for both expected and extreme earthquakes (Jenny et al., 2013):

“Expected” Earthquake Goal

Major injuries and life loss are limited to incidental occurrences. Recovery actions initiated within 3 weeks. University restored so that no more than one-quarter of instruction is lost.

  1. Research experiments are protected.
  2. Essential facilities remain fully operational.
  3. IT systems are restored within 24 hours to full operational capability.
  4. Instruction completes quarter using distance learning.
  5. Housing can be repaired in time to reopen by the end of the lost quarter.
  6. Administrative functions supporting operations restart within one week.

“Extreme” Earthquake Goal

Major injuries and life loss are limited to incidental occurrences. Lifeline systems restored to support recovery efforts within 2 weeks. Recovery planning depends on regional conditions and available financing and involves a balance of temporary facilities and restoration as possible.

  1. Long-term research experiments are protected.
  2. Emergency response functions are managed from remote temporary locations.

Assessing Current Conditions

The UW program is intended to provide the university community with an ongoing evaluation of the buildings and supporting infrastructure using current evaluation technology and to determine the anticipated performance (Jenny et al., 2013). The evaluation will be done by a team of expert structural engineering firms that normally do retrofit work for the academic research institution. The experts must give consideration to all elements of each building, including the structural system, nonstructural elements, contents, and backup emergency lifeline systems supporting the building.

The evaluations will identify the building’s expected performance in both an expected and extreme earthquake (Jenny et al., 2013). Some facilities will be easy to evaluate using rapid screening techniques, while others will require detailed evaluations. Performance estimates should be stipulated in terms of the building’s safety and usability and assigned to one of the following rating categories (Jenny et al., 2013):

Suggested Citation:"8 A Resilient Built Environment for the Research Enterprise." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2017. Strengthening the Disaster Resilience of the Academic Biomedical Research Community: Protecting the Nation's Investment. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/24827.
×
Rating Goal
A Safe and fully operational
B Safe and usable during repairs
C Safe and usable within days
D Safe and usable within weeks
E Safe and usable within months
F Unsafe due to falling hazards and partial collapse
G Exceptionally high risk, subject to collapse in a moderate earthquake

Developing and Implementing Prioritized Programs

All new research facilities will be designed and constructed to meet the appropriate performance goals as defined above (Jenny et al., 2013). Research facilities that do not meet the performance levels stated in the goals should be prioritized for retrofit under four distinct programs that can proceed in parallel as funding is available. The first program will address the exceptionally high-risk buildings; the second program will develop and implement a low-cost, highly effective nonstructural retrofit program; the third program will address the structural retrofit needed to achieve the appropriate performance; and the fourth program will implement a lifeline improvement program (Jenny et al., 2013).

Exceptionally High-Risk Buildings:

  • Every moderate to large earthquake causes a small set of buildings to totally collapse, causing the majority of casualties, with the vast majority of the buildings damaged beyond use. These buildings are most often of nonductile concrete construction or unreinforced masonry bearing wall structural systems. They need to be identified and dealt with sooner rather than later.

Nonstructural Retrofit Program:

  • The usability of facilities after earthquakes depends on the condition of the structural system and also the level of damage that has been caused to the nonstructural elements and contents. Often the structural system is intact and the building can be occupied, though the damage to the nonstructural elements and contents is so extensive that reuse is delayed for weeks to months. Simple mitigation measures involving anchorage and bracing can be done that will prevent much of the damage that is time-consuming to repair. A standardized life safety mitigation program will be established that will facilitate and encourage low-cost/high-benefit projects. These should be established in
Suggested Citation:"8 A Resilient Built Environment for the Research Enterprise." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2017. Strengthening the Disaster Resilience of the Academic Biomedical Research Community: Protecting the Nation's Investment. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/24827.
×

at least the following three activities which can be applied to buildings depending on their performance category.

  • Egress safety program. A program will be established that addresses the falling hazards that can block egress paths in the event of an extreme earthquake. It will be applied to all buildings.
  • Equipment anchorage program. A program will be established and applied to all Category C and B buildings that directs the anchorage of all mechanical, electrical, and elevator systems so that they will remain in place and available for localized repair and restart in the event of an expected earthquake.
  • Contents bracing program. A program should be developed and applied to all Category C and B buildings that will minimize the amount of cleanup needed to reuse the facilities expected to be usable during repairs after an expected earthquake. In the case of research laboratories, the contents need to be anchored and braced to prevent damage to the experiments in the extreme earthquake. Where necessary, redundant, reliable emergency power should be provided.

Structural Retrofit Program:

  • Buildings that do not meet their target performance goal will be repurposed, retrofit, replaced, or reclassified based on available contingency plans. It is a complex set of options that should be informed by an accurate assessment of the retrofit cost.

Supporting Lifeline Infrastructure Improvement Program:

  • Beyond the condition assessment of the specific facilities that support lifelines, a restoration analysis needs to be performed to determine how long it will take to restore the needed utilities to the various buildings in both the expected and extreme earthquakes. Full consideration needs to be given to the impediments to restoration. Options that should be considered for mitigation should include adding redundancies, developing contingency plans for temporary services, removing the impediments to restoration in areas where repairs are expected, and, where necessary, retrofitting existing facilities and systems.

CONCLUDING OBSERVATIONS

The built environment plays a vital role in supporting the academic research institution through researchers’ use of research laboratories, core research facilities, research animal facilities, research support areas and offices, and information technology and other infrastructure support sys-

Suggested Citation:"8 A Resilient Built Environment for the Research Enterprise." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2017. Strengthening the Disaster Resilience of the Academic Biomedical Research Community: Protecting the Nation's Investment. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/24827.
×

tems. The built environment has generally been constructed and maintained to meet the needs of the users under normal conditions. When a disaster occurs, the built environment is generally designed to prevent severe injuries or loss of human life, but it is not expected to remain operational or to be able to recover under any specified schedule. Very little to no consideration is currently given to how best to protect and sustain the research laboratory space, equipment, research-related assets, or research animals—each of which plays a critical role in support of scientific endeavor—in the event of a disaster. The research enterprise remains unnecessarily vulnerable. The support needed requires that design and construction criteria go beyond the minimum national building codes and standard prescriptive recommendations and that appropriate performance goals be established by each academic research institution.

As disasters have continued to affect academic research institutions, various solutions have emerged for how to improve the survival of the experiments, research-related assets, and research animals at these institutions. The 2016 NIH DRM specifies a required risk assessment and a determination of the amount of resilience that will be built into new projects or renovations funded by the NIH (NIH, 2016). These resilience improvement programs are aimed at individual projects and are usually based on specific vulnerabilities that have caused problems in the past. Consideration is not usually given to post-disaster events, to the resulting conditions that develop, or to the interdependencies that exist within the system of systems that support the research. While the new NIH requirement for a project-by-project risk assessment is a major step in the right direction, a more holistic approach is advised.

Conclusion: Academic research institutions and researchers may not clearly understand the impact of building code requirements on their research enterprise operations. Without a clear understanding of the extent of damage their research facilities would experience in a disaster and the length of time that will be needed to restore function, their ability to prepare for the worst is unnecessarily limited, and the opportunity to design and build more resilient facilities is overlooked.

Conclusion: There is benefit in enhancing a built environment that will support the academic research institution and improve the overall resilience of its research enterprise. To build resilience over time, the academic research institution can develop institution-wide resilience plans that define “design” and “extreme” disasters, define related performance goals for both the institution and research enterprise, identify the vulnerabilities or gaps between existing conditions and the desired

Suggested Citation:"8 A Resilient Built Environment for the Research Enterprise." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2017. Strengthening the Disaster Resilience of the Academic Biomedical Research Community: Protecting the Nation's Investment. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/24827.
×

performance goals, and develop and implement a series of administrative and capital improvement solutions.

Conclusion: Academic research institutions control the space and the infrastructure support systems they own but remain dependent on external utility providers for many of their built-environment needs. As a result, regular and close collaboration with local-serving utility providers is critically important in developing research facilities that remain functional following a disaster.

Conclusion: Research sponsors can support and encourage the effective use of capital resources. For example, research sponsors may consider suggesting academic research institutions update research facility siting and architectural and engineering building design criteria to support disaster resilience.

Develop Performance-Based Standards for Research Facilities

RECOMMENDATION 7: Academic research institutions should work with key stakeholders to develop performance-based standards for facilities and critical infrastructure that support their research enterprise.

Possible actions could include, but are not limited to

  • Aligning the resilience plan and performance-based standards with the Department of Veterans Affairs Standard H-18-80 and the National Institute of Standards and Technology’s Community Resilience Planning Guide for Buildings and Infrastructure Systems.
  • Ensuring that disaster-resistant construction is an explicit design requirement for all new research buildings. For each new research building that is planned, performance goals and expectations should be set during the architectural planning process. If the new research building includes a vivarium, incorporating fail-safe design criteria is essential.
  • Preparing an inventory based on vulnerability to existing hazards for existing research buildings. As existing research buildings require repairs or renovations, disaster-resistant features should be incorporated where possible. Build-back standards should be adopted and used to improve the overall resiliency of research buildings owned by the academic institution.

Suggested Citation:"8 A Resilient Built Environment for the Research Enterprise." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2017. Strengthening the Disaster Resilience of the Academic Biomedical Research Community: Protecting the Nation's Investment. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/24827.
×

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Suggested Citation:"8 A Resilient Built Environment for the Research Enterprise." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2017. Strengthening the Disaster Resilience of the Academic Biomedical Research Community: Protecting the Nation's Investment. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/24827.
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Suggested Citation:"8 A Resilient Built Environment for the Research Enterprise." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2017. Strengthening the Disaster Resilience of the Academic Biomedical Research Community: Protecting the Nation's Investment. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/24827.
×

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Suggested Citation:"8 A Resilient Built Environment for the Research Enterprise." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2017. Strengthening the Disaster Resilience of the Academic Biomedical Research Community: Protecting the Nation's Investment. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/24827.
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Suggested Citation:"8 A Resilient Built Environment for the Research Enterprise." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2017. Strengthening the Disaster Resilience of the Academic Biomedical Research Community: Protecting the Nation's Investment. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/24827.
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Suggested Citation:"8 A Resilient Built Environment for the Research Enterprise." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2017. Strengthening the Disaster Resilience of the Academic Biomedical Research Community: Protecting the Nation's Investment. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/24827.
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Suggested Citation:"8 A Resilient Built Environment for the Research Enterprise." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2017. Strengthening the Disaster Resilience of the Academic Biomedical Research Community: Protecting the Nation's Investment. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/24827.
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Suggested Citation:"8 A Resilient Built Environment for the Research Enterprise." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2017. Strengthening the Disaster Resilience of the Academic Biomedical Research Community: Protecting the Nation's Investment. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/24827.
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Suggested Citation:"8 A Resilient Built Environment for the Research Enterprise." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2017. Strengthening the Disaster Resilience of the Academic Biomedical Research Community: Protecting the Nation's Investment. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/24827.
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Suggested Citation:"8 A Resilient Built Environment for the Research Enterprise." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2017. Strengthening the Disaster Resilience of the Academic Biomedical Research Community: Protecting the Nation's Investment. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/24827.
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Suggested Citation:"8 A Resilient Built Environment for the Research Enterprise." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2017. Strengthening the Disaster Resilience of the Academic Biomedical Research Community: Protecting the Nation's Investment. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/24827.
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Suggested Citation:"8 A Resilient Built Environment for the Research Enterprise." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2017. Strengthening the Disaster Resilience of the Academic Biomedical Research Community: Protecting the Nation's Investment. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/24827.
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Suggested Citation:"8 A Resilient Built Environment for the Research Enterprise." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2017. Strengthening the Disaster Resilience of the Academic Biomedical Research Community: Protecting the Nation's Investment. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/24827.
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Suggested Citation:"8 A Resilient Built Environment for the Research Enterprise." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2017. Strengthening the Disaster Resilience of the Academic Biomedical Research Community: Protecting the Nation's Investment. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/24827.
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Next: 9 Funding a Resilient Mission »
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The academic biomedical research community is a hub of employment, economic productivity, and scientific progress. Academic research institutions are drivers of economic development in their local and state economies and, by extension, the national economy. Beyond the economic input that the academic biomedical research community both receives and provides, it generates knowledge that in turn affects society in myriad ways.

The United States has experienced and continues to face the threat of disasters, and, like all entities, the academic biomedical research community can be affected. Recent disasters, from hurricanes to cyber-attacks, and their consequences have shown that the investments of the federal government and of the many other entities that sponsor academic research are not uniformly secure. First and foremost, events that damage biomedical laboratories and the institutions that house them can have impacts on the safety and well-being of humans and research animals. Furthermore, disasters can affect career trajectories, scientific progress, and financial stability at the individual and institutional levels.

Strengthening the Disaster Resilience of the Academic Biomedical Research Community offers recommendations and guidance to enhance the disaster resilience of the academic biomedical research community, with a special focus on the potential actions researchers, academic research institutions, and research sponsors can take to mitigate the impact of future disasters.

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