CORPUS Magazine

Future-proof Construction in Times of Climate Change

CORPUS Magazine

Future-proof – Smart Construction in Times of Climate Change

Global warming is responsible for an increase in extreme weather events worldwide – even in places where they used to be the exception. The ice sheets are receding, the forest fire season in many places is lasting longer and becoming more devastating, and so-called “storms of the century” are now recurring every few years. The sea level is also rising, which poses a particular threat to often densely populated coastal areas. In the USA alone, more than half the population would be affected. Future-proof construction is therefore no longer a decision, but a necessity.

The challenges associated with this trend are being debated by leading experts worldwide. For it is becoming obvious that no one will be able to solve the problems posed by climate change alone. The fourth Atlantic Summit on Infrastructure + Transportation in Washington, D.C., also examined the extent to which our buildings and public infrastructure are fit for the future. Ryan Colker of the Alliance for National & Community Resilience and a representative of the International Code Council sees a need for action: “We aren’t even able to cope with the disasters facing us today. In two-thirds of the municipalities affected by such events, the building regulations in force are not up to modern standards. Not to mention what is yet to come.”


This assessment once again underlines the fact that disaster relief should be considered right at the planning stage. For precisely this approach, BASF with its Disaster Durable Solutions® is offering future-proof solutions for the construction sector. In addition to pure safety, the products, materials and components also enhance building efficiency – as was the case with a residential building dating back to 1955 in Breezy Point, New Jersey. After severe storm surge damage caused by Hurricane Sandy, it was rebuilt by an alliance of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and BASF as a model house for the future – both resilient and sustainable. Polyurethane spray foam, for example SPRAYTITE®, seals roofs and walls efficiently and is recommended by FEMA for residential buildings in disaster-prone areas. It significantly reduces the adverse effects of water – be it from heavy rain or flooding – and can also mitigate hail damage. In addition, the spray foam insulation also improves protection against storm damage to roofs, provided they are firmly attached to the building structure.

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The advantages of future-proof construction can also be measured in monetary terms. “For every dollar we spend on prevention, we can potentially save eleven dollars in future repair costs,” says Rohit Ghosh, Head of Marketing, BASF Performance Materials Construction, North America, explaining the simple calculation. “In the last five years alone, the United States has spent $50 billion, or $10 billion annually, on repairing damage. This way of using funds simply isn’t sustainable.” So that the best solutions can not only be developed, but also implemented nationwide, says Ghosh, cooperation across trades and organizations is necessary: “The industry cannot do it alone. We have to partner and collaborate with architects, designers and local administrations. It’s all about building awareness, education and prevention.” 

Because only when there is widespread awareness of future-proof construction can the advantages be fully realized. Buildings designed to be energy-efficient help to combat the causes of climate change. An additional strong focus on resilience can also protect residents from its immediate effects.

From Left to Right: Grace Showalter, Deane Evan, Joseph Jones

From Left to Right: Kari Puzio, Catherine Diamond, Laura Partynski, Joseph Jones, Curtis Zimmermann, Elizabeth Odina, Susan Jackson, Anna Spiewak, Grace Showalter, Rohit Ghosh, Staci Wegener

Further information


In 2012, BASF created Disaster Durable Solutions® in response to the growing frequency and severity of natural disasters across the globe. By utilizing our closed cell spray polyurethane foam (SPF) products, trained spray foam applicators can help contractors and homeowners satisfy critical requirements for the FORTIFIED HomeTM. The program's purpose is to provide voluntary and risk-specific standards that add crucial property protection upgrades to minimum code requirements.

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