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'Architects unprepared for disaster planning,' report warns

Architects and other built environment professionals are hopelessly uninformed and under-resourced to deal with the drastic threats facing Britain's urban fabric, according to a new academic report.

The document, produced by Loughborough University, points to a dramatic lack of 'joined-up thinking' among architects and planners in dealing with the threat of both terrorist and natural disasters.

Built environment professionals are unaware and unprepared for how they must design and construct new buildings, given the heightened dangers facing cities and towns.

The report's major conclusion is that 'emergency planning in the UK is not sufficiently integrated with the activities of the construction industry'.

From a survey of architects and planners, academics also concluded that there is 'a general lack of awareness demonstrated by the respondents regarding who are responsible for, and involved with, emergency planning'.

Research leader Lee Bosher, of the University's Department of Civil and Building Engineering, emphasised that there was a real problem.

'These early findings indicate a lack of joined-up thinking regarding the protection of the UK built environment and suggest that the professionals involved with the construction industry, and the expertise they can offer, need to become more integrated with emergency planning,' Bosher said.

'This could be achieved through embracing a strategic framework that integrates a wide range of disciplines from the construction sector,' he added.

by Ed Dorrell

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