Is your home built to last?

Homes in exposed locations are often not resilient enough to withstand extreme weather events
 
By Jeanette Elsworth

GENEVA, 28 June 2018 – Our homes are in the highest category when it comes to economic disaster loss, according to a new documentary which premiered last night in London and is set for general release this summer.

Produced by Rockhopper Media, Built to Last? explores the stark paradox that societies spend billions every year on disaster response, bailouts and recovery while simultaneously complaining that we “cannot afford” to invest in resilience before an event.

At the same time, policy delays and a lack of relevant information is putting that which for many is our largest economic, and emotional, asset – our home – at risk.

The film features families in the US, the UK and the Philippines who are taking matters into their own hands, with the help of local and international non-profit organizations, rather than wait for government action.

For example, Alabama homeowners Bob and Kelly Bowers say the neighbours do not understand their storm resistance infrastructure.

“It would be a hard sell I think if the American buyer had to choose between nice trim and a home that could withstand a hurricane,” they joke.

The documentary was inspired by the book Resilience – The Ultimate Sustainability, written by Mr. Aris Papadopoulos, a retired building industry expert and one of the founders of ARISE – a public-private sector collaboration with UNISDR advocating for disaster risk reduction.

In it Mr. Papadopoulos compares our homes to the attractive but unsafe cars of the 1960s; traditionally we commit huge effort and funds on cosmetic repairs each year but nearly nothing on the relatively little it would take to make them stronger and safer.

With this in mind, the film sets out to create better-informed and more conscientious consumers.

“Most people don’t appreciate that building codes are a political issue,” says Julie Rochman, Former CEO of the Insurance Institute for Business and Home Safety which developed a “crash-test” for homes. “They just assume that they’ve bought a house, therefore it must be well-built or somebody wouldn’t be able to sell it to them.”

“When people brag about their house being built to code, it’s really nothing to brag about,” says Rochman.

Built to Last? begins broadcasting this summer in the UK and around the globe. For broadcast information go to built2last.org. The European premier launch event took place last night at the London School of Economics.

VI Regional Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction in the Americas, Cartagena, Colombia 20-22 June 2018 VI Regional Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction in the Americas, Cartagena, Colombia 20-22 June 2018.
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