Seattle — Build with Strength, a coalition of the National Ready Mixed Concrete Association (NRMCA), placed extra emphasis on the importance of utilizing durable and resilient construction materials in the Seattle market.  The highlight comes as part of an increased effort to inform the design-build and construction communities about the advantages of concrete construction in the low- to mid-rise residential sector, and in general.  

“Anyone who resides in the greater Seattle area, and the entire Pacific Northwest for that matter, lives with the knowledge that an act of God, or an innocent accident can destroy their homes and turn their lives upside down in an instant,” said Kevin Lawlor of Build with Strength.  “To protect against, this we are asking that architects, developers, and the construction community build with strength and durability by using the safest and most cost-effective material available, concrete.”

Seattle is located right in the heart of the Cascadia Subduction Zone, an area of major seismic activity that has prompted scientists to declare it’s not a matter of if another big earthquake will happen, but when.  According to an article in The New Yorker, when the next big one happens, the “region will suffer the worst natural disaster in the history of North America.” 

The threat is so dire that the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has projected “13,000 people will die in the Cascadia earthquake and tsunami. Another 27,000 will be injured, and the agency expects that it will need to provide shelter for a million displaced people, and food and water for another two and a half million.”

Some groups and individuals are not waiting for the inevitable. Ocosta Elementary School, along the Washington coast, recently made waves when it built the nation’s first tsunamic refuge in the school’s gym.  “What’s unique about this gym is mostly hidden from view: tons of concrete and steel that make it the first structure in the nation designed to withstand a tsunami and provide a safe haven from the rushing waters.”

“Safety must come first in the development of all new structures, it’s not enough to be safe and secure at school, but not at home,” continued Lawlor.  “Regardless of whether the threat comes from earthquakes, tsunamis, tornados, wildfires, or something else, concrete is the only building material that can withstand Mother Nature’s wrath.” 

Build with Strength hopes to extend this type of safety and durability into Seattle’s booming low- to mid-rise residential market. 

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