New ASCE manual of practice provides framework for hazard-resilient infrastructure

A new ASCE manual of practice released this week gives civil engineers the tools to design, plan, and build more resiliently, more consistently.

Sponsored by the ASCE Infrastructure Resilience Division and edited by Bilal M. Ayyub, Ph.D., P.E., Dist.M.ASCE, Hazard-Resilient Infrastructure: Analysis and DesignMOP 144, provides guidance and an underlying framework for designing new infrastructure systems with consistency across hazards, systems, and sectors.

“We designed this manual of practice to help foster consistent and coordinated infrastructure systems,” Ayyub said. “The most important thing we can achieve is the building of resilient communities.”

It’s that idea of consistency that is new or at least more greatly emphasized in the civil engineering industry now compared to 10 years ago, according to Ayyub.

“Consistency is the major driver,” Ayyub said. “All of the systems that we are dealing with – whether it’s transportation, water, or power – must be maintained at appropriate levels to achieve community resilience. In the past, I’m not sure consistency received the same amount of attention. Consistency and coordination across sectors, but also across hazards, is essential.”

MOP 144 uses probabilistic methods for risk analysis and management of infrastructure projects; an approach that includes identifying and analyzing hazards, system failures, the economics of resilience, and technologies for enhancing new and existing infrastructure.

Ayyub edited another ASCE manual of practice for publication in 2018, Climate-Resilient Infrastructure: Adaptive Design and Risk Management, prepared by the ASCE Committee on Adaptation to a Changing Climate. And while the two manuals are not explicitly related, Ayyub does see them as being part of a continuum of sorts, with more MOPs potentially in the works.

Ayyub

“I think it makes sense to approach and implement the subject broadly across multi-hazards and multi-systems,” Ayyub said. “It’s an ambitious undertaking that will require many years.”

Ayyub, who serves as the director of the Center for Technology and Systems Management of the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of Maryland, said he has seen the industry increasingly embrace these resilience concepts in recent years. Many of the case studies and visuals in the manual of practice derived from the participation of major civil engineering firms.

“I know from our interactions with these companies, they were keenly interested. They think that this is the way of the future,” Ayyub said. “And they are businesses after all, so they see the business side of it. They see there is a need for resilience; there is a demand.”

Learn more about Hazard-Resilient Infrastructure: Analysis and Design, MOP 144.

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