Resilience against hazards matters because at the individual level it ensures that our basic needs – safety, shelter, food, clean water and sanitation – can be met and that employment and livelihoods are supported. At a community and national level, resilience supports the permanence of security, justice, public health services, communications, mobility and other critical services, and fosters economic prosperity. And at a global level, resilience may even matter to our very survival.
Our built environment – homes, buildings and infrastructure – are exposed to a wide range of natural and human-made hazards, and many of these hazards are exacerbated by climate change. A resilient built environment is also a vital component to reach the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.
Concrete is the most durable of major structural materials, and offers inherent resilience against many hazards. It can resist fire, wind and water. It won’t rot, warp or be eaten.
Concrete also offers resilience to society by helping it to recover from a disaster event. In a world in which natural disasters are increasingly common, building structures that are resilient to flooding and high wind events is a key component of economic, societal and environmental sustainability. Often, such buildings are built from concrete, as its durability makes it more able to survive disasters, reducing the need for (and therefore favourably affecting the cost and speed of) post-disaster reconstruction.
The design and construction industry in general, and the concrete industry specifically, has the skills and products to deliver a more resilient built environment that will help society resist, absorb and adapt to many hazards to which it will be subjected.