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Press Release

As Natural Disasters Hit the East Coast, the Construction Industry Can Help Mitigate their Impact, Increase U.S. Competitiveness and Save Lives, Says McGraw-Hill Construction Report
New York, NY – September 6, 2011

In the wake of the earthquake and Hurricane Irene damaging the eastern seaboard, McGraw-Hill Construction has issued a new industry whitepaper detailing how the private and public sectors can significantly mitigate the impact of these and other natural disasters.  The paper, Recommendations to Congress, the Administration and the Private Sector to Mitigate Impacts of Disasters by Planning and Building for Resiliency, represents the insights and strategic recommendations of leaders in the public sector, private sector and academia who participated in Engineering News-Record’s (ENR) Mitigating Disaster through Design and Construction Conference held in March 2011.  
“As evidenced this past week—and all year—we are all at risk when it comes to the impact of natural disasters,” said Harvey Bernstein, vice president, Industry Insights and Alliances for McGraw-Hill Construction.  “The design and construction industry can play a major role at mitigating the impact from these disasters.  We believe this paper identifies key factors that, if acted upon, could play a tremendous part in increasing our competitiveness, saving lives, preserving jobs, and reducing property damage.”
From the one-two punch of the recent earthquake and Hurricane Irene on the East Coast to the devastating tornados and floods earlier this year—not to mention the tragic events in Japan, this year marks another increase in natural disaster incidence.  In the U.S. from 2000-2010, there have been, on average, 64 declared disasters per year, compared to an average of 34 per year for the previous 20 years.  Never before has the need to meet the ongoing challenge presented by natural disasters been more strikingly evident.
“As we see an increase in severe weather events and other natural disasters, we have to ask ourselves how prepared we are in the built environment to weather these storms,” said Jan Tuchman, editor-in-chief of ENR.  “There are four major areas identified at ENR’s event and in this whitepaper that should be priorities for government and industry: communicating effectively, overcoming obstacles, encouraging investment, and preparing for the future with research, technology and an inter-disciplinary approach.”
More than 120 expert practitioners participated in the ENR conference and offered recommendations, including the following, to increase the resiliency of buildings, infrastructure and communities:


  • Provide more effective communication to garner public support and private investment funding
  • Increase incentives and mandates to encourage investment in resiliency strategies
  • Encourage investment in critical scientific research to better understand the benefits of mitigation and to help owners understand uncertainty and prioritize activities
  • Help develop better technologies and tools
  • Adopt a more inter-disciplinary approach to building codes and standards


The paper also reveals a major gap in efforts to increase mitigation efforts—private sector owners need to be encouraged to partner with insurance loss-prevention experts to quantify the risks and build a stronger case for resiliency in buildings.  Only through a committed effort by both the private and public sector, can the U.S. achieve greater resiliency, significantly reduce the devastating impact of natural disasters, save lives, and positively impact the economic security of businesses and communities.

For more information, download the free whitepaper at

About McGraw-Hill Construction:
McGraw-Hill Construction connects people, projects, and products across the construction industry.  For more than a century, it has remained North America’s leading provider of project and product information, plans and specifications, and industry news, trends, and forecasts.  McGraw-Hill Construction serves more than one million customers in the global construction industry through Dodge, Sweets, Architectural Record, Engineering News-Record, GreenSource, and SNAP.  To learn more, visit or follow @mhconstruction on Twitter.

About The McGraw-Hill Companies:
Founded in 1888, The McGraw-Hill Companies is a leading global financial information and education company that helps professionals and students succeed in the knowledge economy.  Leading brands include Standard and Poor’s, McGraw-Hill Education, Platts energy information services, and J.D. Power and Associates.  The Corporation has approximately 21,000 employees with more than 280 offices in 40 countries. Sales in 2010 were $6.2 billion.  Additional information is available at

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Media Contacts:
Lisa Jaycox, Manager, External Communications,
The McGraw-Hill Companies Information & Media, +1 212-512-3272,

Kathy Malangone, Senior Director, Marketing Communications,
McGraw-Hill Construction, +1 212-904-4376,

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