A building may not be usable after an earthquake – either because physical damage prevents its proper function, or the occupants’ perception of their personal risk is too high, causing them to refuse to enter the building. The cost of business interruption can vastly exceed the cost of repairs. For example, one of SAFEq™’s clients operates a seven-building complex that produces complex entertainment products with an approximate annual revenue of $520 million. The potential business interruption loss approximates $2 million per day!
At that rate, every delay in restoring occupancy of their facilities is extremely expensive, and minimizing the amount of downtime is absolutely critical. With a comprehensive post-disaster evaluation plan in place, several days and likely weeks can be saved. With the buildings enrolled in B2B, the downtime can be further reduced, potentially saving millions of dollars.
Why Have a Plan?
Without a plan for post-disaster evaluations, the building owner and occupants must wait for the governing jurisdiction to send an inspector to evaluate the building and to classify the occupancy as Safe (Green), Restricted (Yellow), or Unsafe (Red). The local building department may be overwhelmed, relying on mutual aid, or may have their resources focused elsewhere, and the wait may be days or even weeks. Once the initial rapid inspection is complete, a yellow or red tag means the owner must then engage a Structural Engineer to return to the site, conduct a detailed assessment, and determine the work that needs to be done to reoccupy the building. If repairs are required, a contractor needs to be located to implement the repairs to the satisfaction of the Structural Engineer. After completion of repairs, the owner will contact the City and wait for the return of the City Inspector to reclassify the building for occupancy. In the best of circumstances, the entire process from event to re-occupancy may take several weeks.
With a post-disaster plan in place, the Structural Engineer is committed to arriving on site the day after the event to start their own evaluation and implementation of repairs. This jumpstarts the process, increases occupant safety, and allows the attending engineer to prepare a recommended posting status for the official inspector. The arrival of the official inspector is still uncertain, and after repairs are completed, the owner must wait again for the inspector to return for reclassification. With that same program in place plus the addition of certification in B2B, the owner does not have to wait for the City Inspector for the initial evaluation or the return for reclassification, likely saving weeks if not months of business interruption.