Massive flooding, fires and storms have devastated large areas of America in recent years. These events have hit everywhere: productive farmlands, high population urban centers, suburbs, industrial sites and recreational areas. They have created downstream effects, both literal and economic. Storm runoff and heavy snowmelt creates flooding as water moves down riverbeds and across natural floodplains into towns and cities. Economic damage, such as hits to oil refineries, farms and livestock, factories, roads, bridges and urban business hubs cause a ripple effect as commerce slows and recovery efforts take precedence. Families are impacted by the loss of their homes and belongings, and stressed by the cost and time required to rebuild. The outlook for future disasters is challenging as the effects of climate change on weather events intensify and extreme weather events become more common.
There are many ways that affected areas are learning to cope with the increasing incidence of weather disasters. Here are some of the issues and actions we’ve learned about as we work with clients in disaster recovery projects around the country.
Solving Disaster Recovery Challenges
Federal, state and local governments in states like Texas, Florida and California, as well as Puerto Rico, are reeling from the effects of massive recent natural disasters. They face rebuilding challenges as big as any in US history, covering all aspects of life in parts of their states and territories. Their most important priorities span a challenging range of issues:
- Providing adequate rebuilding funds – Disaster recovery costs are running in the billions of dollars. From Congress on down, finding and appropriating adequate funds fast enough has been an enormous challenge. Managing the funding wisely to avoid waste and abuse is another major challenge. Texas recently approved $1.8 billion in disaster recovery and preparedness funds to help address its disaster response needs.
- Aid to homeowners and businesses – Needs for daily living are urgent. Areas like Houston in South Texas and parts of Puerto Rico are struggling to keep citizens sheltered and able to move forward with their lives. FEMA continues to be strained by the large demand for help from many areas of the country, while other agencies such as the Dept of Agriculture, HUD, Transportation and even the Department of Defense are funding recovery efforts that fall under their domains.
- Realistic rezoning – Low-lying areas like Houston and South Florida are on the front lines of climate change and subject to recurring severe flood events. Serious attention is being paid to where rebuilding makes sense and where it does not. This issue is not an easy one however, with the impact on local economies playing a part in difficult decisions that may impact lives and livelihoods for generations.
- Higher standards for buildings and infrastructure – In some areas, building codes are under review where current standards may leave the safety of citizens at risk. Standards for homes, hospitals, public buildings, public transportation and virtually every permitted building project in actual and potential disaster zones may be revisited to assure the building of more resilient communities.
- Adequately plan and fund needed infrastructure – The US already suffers from aging infrastructure. The need to update, replace or rebuild is even more acute in disaster recovery areas. Funds and political will are needed to replace common systems such as sewage plants, roads, bridges, flood control and add new needed structures like sea walls and reliable evacuation routes.
- Realistic outlook at the future – With the realization that climate change is here to stay and what was normal in the past may no longer be, we are beginning to see more commitment, planning and investment to finding solutions to mitigate the impact of climate disruption.
- Let neighborhoods have a say – Most of the damage and disruption from disastrous floods and fires is felt at the community level. Therefore there is a movement in many locales for a deliberate, more localized response to local needs, even while needing disaster recovery funds from federal or state budgets. Every community has unique needs and faces its own unique geographic and climatic challenges that can’t be addressed by generic applications from above.
Contractors in Demand for Disaster Recovery and Rebuilding Projects
Experienced contractors with trained crews are badly needed in many communities for rebuilding projects of all types. The most urgent needs are in refurbishing and rebuilding homes and local services for residents displaced by the disaster. Billions of dollars are being invested in Texas and elsewhere to return entire regions to normal. Besides housing, other urgent needs have been roads, bridges, hospitals, water and sewer systems, and other basic systems of everyday life are needed.
One of the challenges for building contractors, no matter their specialty, is finding adequate inventories of materials and supplies for their projects, as well as finding enough available labor to complete the job. With such massive rebuilding, demand has soared and shortages can hold up projects for extended periods of time. Organizations, contractors, suppliers and everyone involved in the delivery chain are working to keep the rebuilding efforts moving forward.
Allsite Tension Fabric Structures Meet Temporary Disaster Area Building Needs
Temporary shelters can fill the need for indoor space for a wide range of short and long term applications in disaster recovery areas where shelter is needed fast. Versatile and sturdy tension fabric structures that can be installed virtually anywhere are particularly suited to disaster recovery zone circumstances. Built with a high-strength, lightweight, open span aluminum frame that is easy to transport and assemble, and covered with a durable, heavy duty, UV and weather-resistant PVC fabric, these buildings can be installed in a matter of days. They can be relocated to be used at multiple sites. They don’t require a building foundation and can be installed on almost any surface including asphalt, rock, turf, wet or storm-damaged terrain.
These buildings can be used for almost any purpose, for everything from temporary housing for homeless families, or as warehouses for construction supplies, vehicles and equipment. The large, bright interior with no interior columns provides ample space to build out any configuration needed. It can be outfitted with power and lighting and can be climatized. Highly stable and UV resistant, these buildings will hold up in rain, snow and wind as well as traditional brick-and-mortar structures. Typical applications include temporary coordinating centers for local services and project coordination, warehousing of supplies and raw materials inventories, machinery equipment storage and maintenance and construction shelters to keep projects moving forward regardless of weather or daylight.
Allsite works with local organizations, general contractors, project planners, municipal governments and other entities providing services and completing projects in disaster zones to provide customized temporary building solutions for a wide range of uses. Contact Allsite for more information at 800-599-5112.
Allsite Structure Rentals is headquartered at 5025 Schuster Street Las Vegas, NV 89118, providing quality engineered all-weather tension fabric structures for temporary, short or long-term use in a variety of applications. It is part of the Alexander Pacific Group of Companies serving a broad range of industries worldwide to fulfill their fabric structure needs.