Facing Down Flooding with Resilient Design

With multiple offices located in regions prone to natural disasters, Page has long been aware of–and focused on–resilient design as well as hardening of existing infrastructure against potential damage. In 2001 Tropical Storm Allison dumped a then-record amount of rainfall on the city of Houston, flooding the world-renown Texas Medical Center in the process, endangering patient care and causing millions of dollars in damage.

When the waters receded, facility leaders immediately began planning to incorporate lessons learned into resilient designs to help withstand the next massive storm. Page worked closely with MD Anderson Cancer Center, Baylor College of Medicine, The University of Texas Medical Branch, and others to design more flood- and storm-resistant facilities. Health Facilities Management Magazine (HFMM) recently noticed their efforts paid off.

Last fall, when Hurricane Harvey followed Allison’s path by rotating over Houston for days and setting a new rainfall record in the process, Page client MD Anderson Cancer Center found itself much better prepared. The firm had designed enormous watertight storm gates and a massive flood wall around the building. Tim Peglow, SASHE, associate vice president of patient care and prevention facilities at MD Anderson, said the facility fared well during Harvey. Nevertheless, he added the hospital continues to be diligent about keeping its resiliency planning as up-to-date as possible.

“I don’t think any of us thought a storm could be worse than Allison, and then Harvey hit,” Peglow was quoted in the article. “I’d like to say we’re prepared to take on anything because we survived Harvey, but the next one could be even worse.”

HFMM notes that the 2018 Hospital Construction Survey results reveal a growing number of hospitals are factoring resiliency planning into their overall design strategy. It shows 89 percent of respondents consider resiliency—a design style that resists a variety of natural or human-induced disasters and aids in quick recovery—when designing and building new spaces. While the health care industry has always incorporated disaster planning into facility design, resilient design has previously played a bigger role in parts of the country commonly ravaged by such disasters as hurricanes and tornadoes.

Today, the number and scale of natural disasters sustained in the US in 2017 is causing every industry to re-examine its priorities and increase emphasis on resilient design and planning. With offices in every continental US time zone, Page has planned resilient design for hurricanes, tornados, flooding, winter storms, earthquakes and more. To learn more about the firm’s efforts, click here.