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Dorian-Bahamas Resiliency Think-Tank

  • 1.  Dorian-Bahamas Resiliency Think-Tank

    Posted 09-05-2019 04:39 PM
    Edited by Tirza Austin 09-05-2019 04:39 PM

    I have been an advocate for durability / resiliency / sustainability and energy efficiency for many years.  My small firm works on integrated designs using Autodesk Revit.  

    Does anyone know of an ASCE or AIA Integrated Building Group that was focusing on 'Resilient/Sustainable' Integrated Designs?  If not, is anyone interested in the forming such a conceptual design and engineering 'think-tank' group? It could be an offshoot group within this 'Integrated Buildings  & Structures' group.   

    This contact was prompted following Dorian's devastation of the Bahamas. Well past the very urgent recovery needs, such a group may have a head-start on providing guidance for future rebuilt Bahama neighborhoods, or for any similar fragile semi-remote locations. Integrated Building Designs could be a core around which other requirements like infrastructure and energy could be developed. This group could be the fastest route to providing a more resilient future for these areas.

    From the photos I've seen, past the human recovery and bulldozer clean up, the group might propose or conceptualize long term planning schemes for a sustainable more resilient Bahamas. Many areas appear to require complete reconstruction. This means starting with basic infrastructure then continuing to rebuild neighborhoods with more durable dwellings, workspaces, and public structures.

    If I dream of an integrated design construction future, it would build the best public and private resilient sustainable designs. Geo-Mapping experts could team with Civil 3D experts to create accurate sites for designer use. Skilled designers and design schools could compete and exchange their best concepts for specific island neighborhoods or for entirely new community developments. 

    It might use 3D concrete printers and other robotic block and panel fast construction methods to create more storm-resistant structures.  The designs would apply future leaning structural methods with the most advanced MEP designs and concepts. Solar and wind energy would support the latest public, private, and commercial public and material transport methods.  The integrated designs would apply the best sustainable living and shelter-in-place practices.

    I know, these are big hopeful ideas, but they could start right here.  A round table or kick-off meeting could take place at ASCE 2019 in Miami on this October 10-13.  

    Let me know of any already existing groups, or if you have interest in creating such a group.  I can help arrange and to participate in any such effort.  I can also start to compile a email discussion group. 

    Feel free to share this email with your peers and industry contacts. 

    Gary Beck, P.E., Eco-Holdings LLC (F-7395), Houston, Texas 

  • 2.  RE: Dorian-Bahamas Resiliency Think-Tank

    Posted 09-06-2019 07:47 AM
    Edited by Tirza Austin 09-06-2019 07:47 AM
    Hi Gary, I would be interested in being a part of this group. I am self employed as a Residential Home Designer, and use Revit on a daily basis to model the Homes I am working on.  I would be interested in hearing the ideas others might have for a sustainable, more resilient community in the Bahamas. I think your idea for this think tank is awesome, however, getting funding for the construction of a resilient community might be the more challenging aspect. However, I am optimistic that this group could have a positive impact.

    Rickey Wright A.M.ASCE
    Architectural Designer at WRIGHT HOME DESIGN
    Oxford AL

  • 3.  RE: Dorian-Bahamas Resiliency Think-Tank

    Posted 09-06-2019 07:47 AM
    Hello Gary,

    There is a group in the Architectural Engineering Institute dedicated to improving building resilience in an integrated manner. We are looking at standards and guidelines to help the process along. If you, or anyone else, is interested in participating, please let me know and we'll add you to the group.

    Scott Campbell, President-Elect AEI

    Scott Campbell Ph.D., P.E., M.ASCE
    Director of Code Technology

  • 4.  RE: Dorian-Bahamas Resiliency Think-Tank

    Posted 09-07-2019 09:12 PM
    Edited by Tirza Austin 09-07-2019 09:11 PM
    Greetings, you can add me to the group.

    Malik Daniyel M.ASCE
    Project Engineer

  • 5.  RE: Dorian-Bahamas Resiliency Think-Tank

    Posted 09-10-2019 12:50 PM
    Edited by Tirza Austin 09-10-2019 12:51 PM

    Okay. I will contact you when the group is formed.

    Gary Beck, P.E., SECB, LEED AP
    Eco–Holdings LLC F-7395
    Engineering Services
    4010 Bluebonnet Blvd., Suite 114 Houston, TX 77025
    Office: 713-377-4209
    Fax: 832-201-5338

  • 6.  RE: Dorian-Bahamas Resiliency Think-Tank

    Posted 09-06-2019 08:45 AM
    Greetings Gary, many thanks for your thoughtful response in light of Hurricane Dorian, the devastation highlights the vulnerability of our communities to natural hazards.  We as engineers must do more.  The ASCE Committee on Sustainability is leading ASCE's efforts to advance sustainable and resilient practices in everything civil engineers do.  We will be meeting in L.A. November 7-9, 2019 at the International Conference for Sustainable Infrastructure, you will meet many peers there, register at: www.icsiconference.org.  

    ASCE has long considered sustainability an evolving strategic issue confronting practicing civil engineers. Its integration into professional practice is required to address changing environmental, social, and economic conditions ethically and responsibly.

    Although challenging issues such as climate change, urbanization, and the rapid pace of technological advancement create opportunities, they also require serious re-evaluation of current professional practice and standards.

    A Roadmap to Sustainable Development: Four Priorities

    1. Sustainable Project Development: Do the Right Project

    Economic considerations predominantly drive current project development methodologies. Engineers must begin to approach projects in a new way. The focus of our engineering efforts must shift from the product of our work-the stormwater management system, the bridge, the building-to the needs and benefits that the project aims to address. We must consider all possible alternatives before projects and programs are conceived, executed, and operated-in other words, to "do the right project."


    1. Standards and Protocols: Do the Project Right

    While "doing the right project," engineers must still "do the project right." Current prescriptive standards may apply in conditions of stationarity. However, where non-stationarity (a condition where statistical properties, such as mean or variance, of a data set are not constant over time) is prevalent, we must develop new standards and protocols that are performance-based rather than prescriptive. Those standards must address resiliency to develop infrastructure that ensures society's safety and its ability to recover from disruptions.

    1. Expand Technical Capacity

    Achieving the necessary transformation requires civil engineers to build or expand their capacity to achieve the visions and principles of sustainable development through new training and professional development opportunities, including formal and continuing education opportunities.

    4.     Communicate and Advocate

    Transforming the civil engineering profession and methods for sustainable infrastructure development requires communication with all stakeholders and advocacy to promote acceptance and adoption. The end goal is a membership and public that demand environmentally, economically and socially sustainable infrastructure that meets the needs of human welfare equitably and enables healthy communities.


    Key Points

    • The civil engineer's responsibility to practice sustainably was recognized in the ASCE Code of Ethics in November 1996.
    • Sustainability was first identified by the ASCE Board as a priority in 2008.
    • Engineers need to be their clients' trusted advisors and get involved with projects at preliminary planning phase and help determine, "Is this the right project?" and "Are we doing the project right?"

    Key Points

    • ASCE provides resources and education to help civil engineers and future civil engineers incorporate sustainability principles into practice, provide leadership on sustainability, and derive competitive and other benefits from their expertise.
    • ASCE is developing standards and educational resources to promote widespread implementation of sustainable engineering principles.
      • Six courses are available to help civil engineers acquire skills in the following areas:
        • Engineering for a Sustainable Future
        • Sustainable Project Management
        • Life Cycle Analysis for Sustainability
        • Ecological Systems
        • Community Participation: Effective Stakeholder Involvement Throughout the Project Lifecycle
        • Access and Mobility for the 21st Century
        • Sustainable Land Use
      • A certificate in sustainable infrastructure can be earned by completing a series of five of these courses. www.asce.org/sustainable-infrastructure-certificate-program
      • ASCE helped found the Institute for Sustainable Infrastructure to develop a sustainability rating system called Envision.
        • More than 8,000 professionals have earned the ENV SPs credential
        • More than 40 projects have earned Envision awards
        • Students earn the provisional Envision Sustainability Professional (ENV PV) credential.
      • ASCE organized the International Conference for Sustainable Infrastructure in Brooklyn, NY, in 2017 and in Long Beach, CA, in 2014. ASCE co-hosted ICSI 2016 in Shenzhen, China. Proceedings are available. The next International Conference for Sustainable Infrastructure will be held in Los Angeles, November 7-9, 2019.
      • The Innovation in Sustainable Civil Engineering Award is presented annually to a project that exemplifies creativity in the form of innovative sustainability. The lessons of selected projects promise broad application to future projects.

    Guiding Principles for ASCE's Sustainability Initiative

    • Consider the technical, environmental, economic and social dimensions while ethically and responsibly carrying out the initiative.
    • Proactively seek collaborative opportunities domestically and internationally with other disciplines and organizations.

    ASCE's Definition:

    Sustainability is a set of environmental, economic and social conditions in which all of society has the capacity and opportunity to maintain and improve its quality of life indefinitely without degrading the quantity, quality or availability of natural, economic and social resources.

    Related Policy Statements:

    • The Role of the Civil Engineer in Sustainable Development – PS 418
    • Owners Commitment to Sustainability – PS 556
    • Building Engineering Capacity – PS 506
    • Sustainable Development Goals – PS 517
    • Combating Corruption - PS 510
    • Relationships with International Engineering Organizations – PS 146
    • Impact of Climate Change – PS 360
    • Greenhouse Gases – PS 488

    Michael Sanio P.E., ENV SP, F.ASCE
    Director, Sustainability
    Reston VA

  • 7.  RE: Dorian-Bahamas Resiliency Think-Tank

    Posted 09-07-2019 03:11 PM



    Thanks for this informative email.  I have just submitted my request to join this ASCE group.


    I am also looking at setting up a general forum group on this subject with the Bahamas as a focal point.

    I am not very familiar with the Bahamas but the issues of damaged island communities is a recurring theme.


    I work on small projects but my experience is that the real work begins only after the site specifics are defined.

    A Bahama island community focused effort may help invigorate development of a specific set of conceptual solutions.


    A general group may allow non-ASCE members, non-engineers and non-architects to participate.

    These might be students, BIM software experts, mapping experts, and building machine OEMs.


    I will set something informal up and invite all to join when it is ready.


    Gary Beck, P.E., SECB, LEED AP

    Eco-Holdings LLC (F-7395)   4010 Blue Bonnet Blvd. Suite 114  Houston, Texas 77025

    Email: gbeck@...  Office: 713-377-4209 Cell: 713-530-1950

    Visit us at www.TexasEngineer.com for your Structural and Civil Engineering needs

    New Video Link: Owner's Guide to a Better Foundation


    ~All Eco emails and attachments are confidential. If it was not sent to or copied directly to you for work purposes, please delete it~








  • 8.  RE: Dorian-Bahamas Resiliency Think-Tank

    Posted 09-08-2019 10:48 AM
    Hello Gary,

    Glad to see your initiative and commitment to creating a general group to "allow non-ASCE members, non-engineers and non-architects to participate" to discuss a "community focused effort" to "help invigorate development of a specific set of conceptual solutions."  It is possible to create a group in ASCE to include all stakeholders of an issue to reach a consensus of stakeholders in decision-making.  I am glad to know you have applied to become a member of ASCE's Committee on Sustainability.  I hope as a member of this committee you would form the group you suggest as an ASCE COS group.

    Sometime in 2015, an independent group was formed under ASCE COS to write an ASCE book titled: Engineering for Sustainable Communities - Principles and Practices.  We were forty members and worked for two years to publish this book in November 2017.  It may help you to obtain a copy of this book from ASCE.  I would be glad to work with you within this ASCE committee structure.


    Ashvin Shah P.E., F.ASCE
    Scarsdale NY

  • 9.  RE: Dorian-Bahamas Resiliency Think-Tank

    Posted 09-08-2019 01:03 PM
    Hello Gary,

    In my earlier posting I mentioned an ASCE Book published in November 2017.  The title of the book is: Engineering for Sustainable Communities - Principles and Practices.  The book is written for practicing engineers as guidance to comply with principles of sustainable development in their engineering practice.  One of the chapters titled Community Participation is instructive to know how engineers define a community's role as a stakeholder. Check the book Abstract and the Table of Contents at: https://ascelibrary.org/doi/book/10.1061/9780784414811

    On the specific issue of sustainably rebuilding the Bahamas, I Googled the economy of the Bahamas and found the following information:
    Economy of the Bahamas

    The Bahamas is the richest country in the West Indies and the third wealthiest country in the Americas. It is a stable, developing nation in the Lucayan archipelago with a population of 391,232 and an economy heavily dependent on tourism and offshore banking. Steady growth in tourism receipts and a boom in construction of new hotels, resorts, and residences had led to solid GDP growth for many years, but the slowdown in the US economy and the attacks of September 11, 2001 held back growth in these sectors in 2001-03. Financial services constitute the second-most important sector of the Bahamian economy, accounting for about 15% of GDP. However, since December 2000, when the government enacted new regulations on the financial sector, many international businesses have left the Bahamas. Manufacturing and agriculture together contribute approximately 10% of GDP and show little growth, despite government incentives for those sectors. Overall growth prospects in the short run rest heavily on the fortunes of the tourism sector, which depends on growth in the US, the source of more than 80% of the visitors. In addition to tourism and banking, the government supports the development of a "2nd-pillar", e-commerce.

    The above information says the economy of The Bahamas before this hurricane was primarily based on global tourism and global finance as part of the larger unsustainable global economy. I wonder how keen are the global promoters of this economy in rebuilding to help local people serving these two global interests. The response to such events starts with immediate rescue and relief, then recovery, then rehabilitation with adaptation, and then mitigation. There is still time to review what engineers can do to help the Bahamas rehabilitate with adaptation and rebuild to mitigate or withstand future events through the lens of climate change.  Your initiative to create a new group or Think Tank is timely.  This group can use the time in this immediate aftermath of the event to do long-term planning of sustainable development of the economy of the Bahamas.

    - Ashvin,

    Ashvin Shah P.E., F.ASCE
    Scarsdale NY

  • 10.  RE: Dorian-Bahamas Resiliency Think-Tank

    Posted 09-06-2019 10:03 AM
    Hi Gary, I see you have a strong passion for what you do and committing to helping others. I would too like to be a part of your group helping others through designs and consultanting. I'm from Barbados and we do face hurricanes and even flooding which can be devastating for many. I can see this forum bringing ideas and insights to provide solutions in the aid of  public awareness.

    Malik Daniyel M.ASCE
    Project Engineer

  • 11.  RE: Dorian-Bahamas Resiliency Think-Tank

    Posted 09-06-2019 10:03 AM
    Hi Scott, I would be interested in joining such a group to provide design ideas and insights towards a better and resilient infrastructure

    Malik Daniyel M.ASCE
    Project Engineer

  • 12.  RE: Dorian-Bahamas Resiliency Think-Tank

    Posted 09-09-2019 07:17 AM
    Edited by Tirza Austin 09-09-2019 07:17 AM
    Gary:  I would like to be a participant in this group.


     Program Director Military Installation Resilience

    Department of Defense

    Office of Economic Adjustment

    2231 Crystal Drive, Suite 520  

    Arlington, VA  22202


    Office: 703-697-2188

    Cell: 571-329-5851

    James Holland EIT, M.ASCE
    Program Director
    Alexandria VA

  • 13.  RE: Dorian-Bahamas Resiliency Think-Tank

    Posted 09-10-2019 12:31 PM
    Good morning All,

    Gary, I am also interested in participating in this group you'd like to form.

    Sandra Chance S.M.ASCE
    Sandra Chance
    Santa Rosa CA

  • 14.  RE: Dorian-Bahamas Resiliency Think-Tank