True cost of hurricanes: Case for a comprehensive understanding of multihazard building damage

Carol J. Friedland, Melanie Gall

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


This paper explores the importance of a holistic, multihazard understanding of building and community performance by discussing the interplay of mitigation practices, insurance coverage, engineering and building codes, and policy-making involved in understanding damage and loss in the aftermath of hurricanes. In the past 6 years alone, hundreds of thousands of engineered and nonengineered buildings have been destroyed by hurricanes, demonstrating an imperative to better understand building performance during these storm events. A separation exists in our capability to understand the impact of wind and flood hazards, especially when acting simultaneously, as in hurricane events; this separation has had a profound impact on our ability to model building damage, loss, and community resilience to hurricane events. The recent release of the combined wind and coastal storm surge loss model in the Federal Emergency Management Agency's HAZUS 2.0 is a step in the right direction; however, much more attention needs to be paid to understanding the combined impact of the multihazard hurricane environment on individual buildings and communities. This topic is of special importance in light of the prevalence of litigation to separate wind and flood damage for recent hurricanes and as several states move toward wind insurance pools and policies of last resort.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)134-146
Number of pages13
JournalLeadership and Management in Engineering
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 1 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • Coastal environment
  • Damage
  • Disasters
  • Failure investigations
  • Floods
  • Hazards
  • Hurricanes
  • Infrastructure
  • Structural engineering
  • Sustainable development

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Strategy and Management
  • Management Science and Operations Research


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