Architects willing to offer a helping hand during hurricane season

It's hurricane season, and for the better part of five months, business owners along the East Coast keep their eyes to the skies and their fingers crossed in the hopes that they won't experience the ill effects of Mother Nature's wrath. But if trouble arrives and properties get damaged, officials within the thriving and expanding architecture industry want entrepreneurs to know they stand ready and willing to assist where needed.

Help is possible through the American Institute of Architects' Disaster Assistance Program. Developed in 1972, the initiative serves as a countermeasure that allows communities who experience hurricanes the tools they need to both prepare and recover quickly should storms strike. The industry is well capitalized, with billings up for the eighth consecutive month in May, requiring increased hiring to satisfy robust demand. 

Robert Ivy, CEO and executive vice president at the AIA, noted that the magnitude of environmental catastrophes is all-encompassing.

"The frequency, severity and cost of disasters is increasingly affecting the built environment," Ivy explained. "With their unique training and experience, architects possess the skills to effectively design for resiliency and plan for disaster response. It's critical that officials work with architects to facilitate these processes."

In addition to providing various building and mitigation efforts to area communities, the AIA's program also works with local agencies and emergency management operations before, during and in the aftermath of catastrophic weather-related conditions. Furthermore, on an ongoing basis, architecture officials in charge of the program participate in various building code workshops that offer effective strategies on the best building designs that, when implemented, allow structures to more effectively endure harsh conditions.

No one knows for sure what kind of period it will be for hurricane activity. If it's anything like last year, though, business owners should prepare for the worst. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, forecasters believe there's a 35 percent chance it could be busier than normal. On average, the Atlantic Ocean produces 12 named storms between June 1 and Nov. 30, the stretch of time where the potential for hurricanes is the greatest.

Architects design buildings with storm hazards in mind.