You know you’re cheap when your vacation include visits to rest stops of a non-bio nature. On a recent drive on I-55 in Missouri, I pulled into the Marston Welcome Center at mile marker 42.4. I wanted to see the center’s description of the great New Madrid earthquakes of 1811-12.

The comfort station includes an interesting display on the New Madrid fault that lays beneath the area. It was clear that an informed scientist was involved in the display’s preparation. Visitors learn that the potential repeat earthquake is not a matter of if, but of when. And just as important, they learn the event will be very newsworthy. To highlight this, there’s an active seismograph sending readings to researchers worldwide.

State officials should be commended for this excellent outreach. While the exhibit focuses on the unique geologic feature, travelers from around the world learn why strong building codes can provide safety when natural events occur.

There is a growing awareness of the need for safer structures. Perhaps this results from greater media coverage of what happens when buildings fail.

At World of Concrete’s Concrete Homes Luncheon and Forum, sponsored by the Portland Cement Association (PCA), Jonathan Smoke, Hanley Wood chief economist, described market conditions in states that have been identified as areas of the greatest risk of damage due to natural disasters such as high wind loads and severe seismic activity. Using data generated by studies of key metropolitan areas, Smoke forecasts that 73% of single-family starts in 2014 will be located in these areas. The results of the exclusive HW research suggest strong market segment growth for concrete home building systems as local jurisdictions adopt stricter building codes.

With so many families at risk, it’s no wonder that resiliency is becoming the hottest topic in residential construction. According to Donn Thompson, PCA’s director of market strategy and positioning, the concrete industry has some powerful allies in convincing home builders to consider resilient construction as their only economical option. Thompson also spoke at the forum.

Remember the National Association of Home Builders’ Concrete Home Building Council? Maybe it’s time to start it again to focus on resiliency. As resiliency in construction design becomes mainstream, our industry will benefit if we have a strong voice. Here are some key facts that may cause you to reconsider promoting concrete homes:

  • 15 of the 20 fastest growing residential markets are in areas that require resilient construction methods.
  • When homes are built in resilient areas, their initial value is higher.
  • Publicly traded home builders have increased their land holdings in areas that require stronger building codes.
  • People living in areas that require stronger building codes have higher incomes than residents living in non-high risk areas.

We have the products, the science, and the craftsmen. Now it’s time to capture the market.

If you missed the Concrete Homes Luncheon and Forum, you can download copies of the presentations here.