Full Session with Abstracts
In recent decades, severe impacts of tropical cyclones on coastal communities have led to the development of a range of mitigation strategies (implemented via building code development, community education, insurance premium reduction and other methods) in tropical cyclone-prone regions of both Australia and the U.S. Although the hazards associated with tropical cyclones are relatively consistent (e.g., wind, wind-driven rain and debris, flooding, etc.), damage modes and mitigation strategies in the two countries can vary significantly due to differences in construction practice, code provisions, insurance practices and more. Both Australia and the U.S. have been effective in reducing the overall life-safety impacts of tropical cyclones, but each face two key questions today: (1) what retrofit strategies are appropriate for the large proportion of buildings constructed prior to modern building codes? and (2) what new strategies should be implemented to counter the increasing risk of financial losses as coastal development and population growth increase exposure in the risk prone areas?
This paper will present an overview of how mitigation efforts in these two countries differ and overlap and consider opportunities for stronger collaboration to solve current and future challenges. The authors performed extensive damage investigations following recent storms including Hurricanes Harvey (2017) and Irma (2017) in the US as well as Cyclones Marcia (2015) and Debbie (2017) in Australia. The investigations of these storms were conducted using similar methodology so that damage observations for most individual structures were augmented with relevant building attributes such as year built, number of stories, structural system, building code enforced at time of construction and more. These data were further coupled with hazard intensity estimates and, for a subset of the data, economic loss data from the insurance industry. Findings from these investigations will be summarized and used to highlight successes and failures in these two countries.
As part of an innovative session, this paper is expected to be of interest to practitioners who may not be aware of how hurricane mitigation strategies differ internationally. Findings regarding the successes and failures of different mitigation strategies will assist practitioners in future designs for new construction or retrofits. We anticipate that this paper will foster interactive dialogue between the authors and audience that is best suited for an innovative session.