Adaptation to Climate Change through Building Regulation

The aim of this article, Adaptation to Climate Change through Building Regulation, is to provide an overview of the climate change related threats to the built environment; how current building regulations deal with climate risk; and how building regulations could be applied or amended to address climate change.

Climate plays an integral role in our lives for a whole range of decisions about where we decide to live, what we wear, whether we recreate outside or inside, how we think and act in our workplace and how we feel generally. Any significant change in climate is likely to have some effect on the social and lifestyle needs of Australians at home, in the workplace and in the community.

There is international scientific consensus that various extreme weather related events are very likely to change in magnitude, frequency and location as a result of global warming (Solomon et al., 2007). Significant trends have already been observed in recent decades, namely increases in global average air and ocean temperatures, widespread melting of snow and ice, and rising global average sea level (e.g. Trenberth et al., 2007).

Climate also has the potential to impact on buildings and the urban environment in a number of ways, through damage and impacts from more intense cyclones and hail storms, flash flooding events and subsidence due to heavy rainfall, clay soil shrinkage from drier conditions, increased fire risk, as well as changes in demand for space heating and summer cooling. In other words, there is no doubt that climate change already has and will continue to have broad and far- reaching effects on our society, lifestyles, economy and governance.

Adaptation to Climate Change through Building Regulation was written by Jonas Bengtsson, Viviane Clément and Tom Davies for the Adapting to Climate Change – Law and Policy Conference, 19 – 20 June 2008

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