July | August 2017






Associates in Action
After the Disaster: IBTS Helps to Build a Better City

By Whitney A. Crowe, Development Coordinator
In the aftermath of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, Louisiana asked the Institute for Building Technology and Safety (IBTS), a CSG Associate member, to assist in implementing the first statewide building codes. Within two years, IBTS was conducting intensive construction code orientation and training throughout Louisiana and, by 2011, was providing a range of public services to 45 local governments within the state.
Natural disasters wreak havoc on communities, and the strain is often felt region-wide, so affected communities cannot easily turn to neighboring governments for assistance in rebuilding and restoring economic strength. Many cities must rely on third parties for help in managing construction projects and for guidance on complying with federal rules and regulations, particularly with regard to federal funding.
That happened after the hurricanes on the Gulf Coast in the mid-2000s. And IBTS was one group lending a hand.
“The response and feedback that we have received from many of the (local governments) (have) all been positive. … The vast majority have communicated that they would never have been able to provide the needed services with their existing resources,” said Jill Boudreaux, undersecretary for Louisiana’s Office of Management and Finance, said of IBTS’ efforts.
When Louisiana again faced heavy hurricane damage in September 2008, IBTS lent additional support to the state’s recovery. The organization said in a press release that it would be working with Iberia Parish to secure federal funds to begin the rebuilding process and would serve as an adviser to local government officials to ensure compliance with federal rules and regulations.
“We have had success working with public assistance and recovery programs in other jurisdictions hit hard by natural disasters,” Ashok Goswami, IBTS’ chief executive officer, said in a press release. “Our disaster management team is well-equipped to help local officials in Iberia Parish maximize the use of federal disaster recovery funds.”
IBTS’ dedicated disaster management group also has aided disaster-ridden communities in Texas and Illinois and is able to provide direct assistance to state and local governments across the country in the wake of hurricanes and floods, as well as tornados, excessive winds, earthquakes, tsunamis and terrorism.
Most recently, following 2012’s Hurricane Sandy, the New York City Economic Development Corporation awarded IBTS a contract to assist with the necessary inspections of residential properties to ensure that repairs met professional standards and homes were in compliance with building codes. The city also selected IBTS to provide architectural services, which streamlined the rebuilding process by providing consistency and continuity in service delivery.
“We have helped to rebuild communities affected by disasters in the past, and understand the challenges faced by individuals and governments,” says Jason McJury, director of federal services at IBTS.  “We are pleased that our services can make a positive difference in these unfortunate situations.”
In addition to its post-hurricane efforts, IBTS also has a proven track record of supporting state and local governments recovering from flood damage. According to Emergency Management magazine, Cedar Rapids, Iowa, sustained damages totaling $6 billion following a flood that closed the city’s business district in 2008.
Within days of the disaster, IBTS dispensed 17 professionals—including engineers, architects and planning and zoning specialists—to analyze the safety and usability of buildings in the downtown area and to help business owners develop a plan to resume operations, the organization said in a press release.
Three years later, in 2011, IBTS began working in flood-torn Minot, N.D., performing damage assessments, architectural scoping services, and overall construction management for all residential rehabilitation and reconstruction. In order to expedite awarding construction contracts to further North Dakota’s recovery, IBTS also developed and implemented a hybrid system for contractor procurement, which bases construction contracts on preset pricing for repairs for the entirety of the reconstruction process.                      
To learn more about IBTS and the services it offers, visit www.ibts.org.
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