Los Angeles, USA

"Futurizing" Policies and Processes for Resilient and Sustainable Building Design and Construction

Building rules and processes are designed to protect health, safety and the environment, but they can also govern design choices. Even as technology, engineering, and architectural innovations advance our goals, policies and procedural barriers often make advancement in building design difficult, time consuming, or costly to implement. In tangent with the City of Los Angeles’ resilience and sustainability goals, Rebuild and the City have launched Building Forward LA; an effort to encourage buildings of all types to integrate advancements and innovations in design, engineering, and construction. The aim of the initiative is to envision how Los Angeles can design and build the city’s future buildings with resilience and sustainability at the forefront.

Working with the American Institute of Architects - LA, US Green Building Council - LA, Structural Engineers Association of Southern California, the NOW Institute at UCLA and the A + D Architecture and Design Museum, the process embarks on a two stage research and design process, modeled after Rebuild’s work in the Hurricane Sandy region.

This effort kicked off at the A + D Museum in March 2017, convening experts and practitioners around the aspirations of building a more resilient and sustainable Los Angeles. Following the kick off, a four-month collaborative research phase commenced to seek input from experts of the built environment on identifying and prioritizing potential challenges to building policies and processes. Four additional public conveyings brought experts together to discuss 1) advanced buildings and perspectives from within LA; 2) advanced buildings and perspectives from U.S. and abroad; 3) new technology and materials as they relate to advancing living buildings, particularly around energy, water and seismic; and 4) sharing the City of LA’s perspective on building codes, processes and policies. This phase allowed Los Angeles professionals to discuss issues they face and provide the city and BFLA partners with a true understanding of the opportunities to create more resilient and sustainable building policies.

The findings of the research phase were utilized to uncover impediments in current building regulations and ideas for enhancing opportunities to advance sustainable and resilient buildings. This information and understanding was used to create a set of recommendations.

In December 2017, the City of Los Angeles and Building Forward LA partners presented the draft recommendations to the public and industry experts for final feedback. The City and BFLA partners are currently working on incorporating feedback from the public and city agencies for finalizing these recommendations and developing an implementation strategy. The recommendations will be released in Fall 2018.

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