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Appendix 2

Strategies for Building SMMF Resilience

Appendix 4. Strategies for building SMMF resilience

A range of risks and climate related hazards may pose risks to your structure, which in turn impact your residents, business continuity and your community. Risks posed to your property include risks to: the building envelope, Mechanical Electrical and Plumbing systems (MEP), communications infrastructure, units, roof, and foundation. The following sampling of resilience strategies can be achieved during moderate rehabilitation and have been selected from the Strategies for Multifamily Building Resilience tool, as the most relevant to SMMF properties:

  • Reduce your building’s vulnerabilities through the installation of:
    • Backwater valves. This can prevent significant problems from sewer line failure by blocking reverse flow from entering the building through wastewater pipes.
    • Sump pumps. This is an effective and affordable way to reduce costly flood damages, by removing water accumulating in the low points of a building (typically the basement)
  • Improve your property’s ability to adapt to changing conditions by investing in:
    • Onsite stormwater management to prevent flooding when municipal stormwater management systems are overloaded. Tactics can include: stormwater storage (particularly effective in small spaces), bioswales, and green roofs.
    • Window shading, which can lessen solar heating in the summer and insulate against heat loss in the winter, reducing energy consumption.
    • Distributed heating and cooling, which can help avoid flood damage while lowering operating costs. Distributed systems are most effective in buildings with high-performance windows and well-insulated, airtight envelopes.
  • Maintain backup for:
    • Power to critical systems. While this is often not required for smaller buildings, developers pursuing unsubsidized affordable SMMF preservation should still consider this to ensure tenants are protected in the event of disaster, particularly if there is a chance they may be sheltering in place during an emergency and non-evacuation event. The smaller scale of unsubsidized affordable SMMF buildings or the increased efficiency of the systems, helps reduce the cost of investing in this disaster resilience strategy – the backup generator can be smaller, there may be fewer systems to backup, etc.
    • Emergency lighting. There are a number of options to provide emergency illumination for residents planning to either evacuate or shelter in place – exit signs with emergency area illumination, natural daylighting for corridors and stairwells, battery or solar powered lighting, luminescent strips in dark spaces, etc.
  • Build resilience of your tenants by:
    • Developing an Emergency Management Manual. Ensure it is translated as needed, if residents have limited English proficiency.
    • Ensuring at least one land line telephone is available.


Conducting a climate and environmental resilience assessment can help you determine which resilience measures to incorporate into your project. Below is an assessment framework that you can use to identify your property’s hazard risk. Enterprise Community Partners, Inc. is also developing an interactive hazard risk assessment tool to help you understand the specific exposure rating of your building. Based on your inputs, it will create a risk score based on social vulnerability and climate risk. This tool will be available in Spring 2020.

Climate and Environmental Resilience Assessment

Resilient design is the intentional design of buildings, landscapes, communities and regions in response to vulnerabilities to minimize the impact on residents and local community members. The best way to maintain or regain functionality when there is a stress or disturbance, such as a disaster or significant weather event, is to plan for it. It is important to consider not only future conditions at the site but confirm with the operations team at the building which hazards have been an issue at the site to date.

  • Using the table below, identify the direct hazards that may impact your building. Mark hazards that are relevant, or may be relevant to your project, with an X (Column 2). To do this, review your local (city, county) hazard mitigation plan(s), which are typically readily available online. You may also review your State’s Emergency Management Hazard Mitigation Strategy, if you cannot locate your local hazard mitigation plan.
  • Provide the source that helped your project team identify the applicable hazard. List the hazard mitigation plan, website, professionals, or other resources that helped you identify relevant hazards (Column 3).
  • Next, identify potential risks of all potential hazards. Risks should be considered for residents, for the building itself, for business continuity, and for the community at-large (Column 4).
  • Work with your entire team, contractor, and consultants, to identify the priority for building mitigation for applicable hazards (Column 5).


Download Resilience Assessment Template



Is the hazard applicable?

Where/how did you find this information?

Risk/s to residents, buildings, community

Priority for building (low, medium, high)

Flooding (river or coastal)





Extreme temperatures: heat





Extreme temperatures: cold (i.e., winter storms, hail, blizzards)





Severe high winds















Rain Event