Hotcoldwetdry Take: Buildings Were Constructed For A Different Climate

And this means Doom is coming

Most buildings were designed for an earlier climate – here’s what will happen as global warming accelerates

Climate change will affect every aspect of our lives – including the buildings we live and work in. Most people in the US, for example, spend about 90% of their time indoors. Climate change is fundamentally altering the environmental conditions in which these buildings are designed to function.

Architects and engineers design buildings and other structures, like bridges, to operate within the parameters of the local climate. They’re built using materials and following design standards that can withstand the range of temperatures, rainfall, snow and wind that are expected, plus any geological issues such as earthquakes, subsidence and ground water levels.

When any of those parameters are exceeded, chances are some aspect of the building will fail. If there are high winds, some roof tiles may be ripped off. If, after days of heavy rain, the water table rises, the basement might flood. This is normal, and these problems cannot be designed out entirely. After the event has passed, the damage can be repaired and additional measures can reduce the risk of it happening again.

But climate change will breed conditions where these parameters are exceeded more often and to a far greater degree. Some changes, like higher average air temperatures and humidity, will become permanent. What were previously considered once in a century floods may become a regular occurrence.

After many paragraphs of Doom, we see what this is all about (I bet you already guessed)

The tragic recent collapse of an apartment building in Miami in the US may be an early warning of this process gaining speed. While the exact cause of the collapse is still being investigated, some are suggesting it might be linked to climate change.

Suggesting is now science. You knew the Cult of Climastrology wasn’t going to give up on this narrative, even as more information comes to light showing improper construction and lax upkeep. But, see, it doesn’t matter if the Surfside building (someone explain to The Conversation that the building was not in Miami) collapse wasn’t climate change

Whether or not the link to climate change proves to be true, it is nevertheless a wake up call to the fragility of our buildings. It should also be seen as a clear demonstration of a critical point: wealth does not protect against the effects of climate change. Rich nations have the financial clout to adapt more rapidly and to mitigate these impacts, but they can’t stop them at the border. Climate change is indiscriminate. Buildings are vulnerable to these impacts no matter where in the world they are, and if anything, the modern buildings of developed countries have more things in them that can go wrong than simpler traditional structures.

Doom!

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6 Responses to “Hotcoldwetdry Take: Buildings Were Constructed For A Different Climate”

  1. Elwood P. Dowd says:

    Teach typed: But, see, it doesn’t matter if the Surfside building (someone explain to The Conversation that the building was not in Miami)

    Although Surfside IS in Miami-Dade county, just 2 mi across Biscayne Bay from Miami. We’re surprised you don’t object to the name of the airport, Miami International Airport, which is NOT IN MIAMI either!

    Doesn’t calling it Miami give you more information than calling it Surfside?

    Anyway, global warming will affect everything.

  2. Elwood P. Dowd says:

    Much of the article discussed the potential effects of environmental factors on concrete.

    The estimable Dana is an expert. I would be interested in his opinion of that portion of the article. Thanks.

    • joetote says:

      A note here as you might know. some years back, I was in Miami at the Jai Alai. While there, they were taking core sample from the pillars inside the lobbies of the building. I’ll never forgt it. When they pulled the sample, one could plainly see that all the rebar had been reduce to basically corroded dust.It had been completely eaten away.

      The reason given was most likely they had uses beach sand in their concrete. Ties right in with your theory od salt corrosion

  3. Jess says:

    After four decades of building, repairing, and demolishing concrete, my opinion is: Regardless of the temperature, sodium chloride, and/or chlorine, will permeate into the cracks, corrode the rebar, cause the rebar to expand, and eventually turn sound concrete into pulverized rubble.

    All construction of concrete, when designed by a qualified by an engineer, has the temperature included in the calculations to allow for the expansion, and contraction. Otherwise, anyone that thinks that climate variations are an issue is an idiot.

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