RMAT Resilience Design Standards Tool Focus Group

Written By Yve Torrie, Director Of Climate, Energy & Resilience

On Friday, July 30th, we were joined by Mia Mansfield, Director of Climate Adaptation and Resilience at the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs, and Julie Eaton, the Lead Resiliency Engineer at Weston & Sampson, for a  briefing and discussion on the Commonwealth’s Resilient MA Action Team (RMAT) beta climate resilience design standards tool. This web-based platform is designed to help integrate climate projections and climate resilience design standards into state and local projects. It has also been designed to provide consistent and recommended design methodologies to help you use climate data in your new projects. If you are siting a new building or preparing design specifications for a capital planning project, for example, this tool provides:

  • A preliminary climate change exposure and risk rating;
  • Recommended climate resilience design standards for projects with physical assets; and
  • Guidelines with best practices to support implementation.

In addition, MEPA or the MA Environmental Protection Act, is considering using the tool in its Climate Change and Resiliency Protocol currently under development. Work is also underway to integrate the tool into state grant programs.

Discussion points included:

  • Tool Objective: The object of the tool is for the state to have a more consistent basis of analysis for understanding high exposure/risk projects through the Municipal Vulnerability Preparedness program, MassWorks, and MEPA. It is not a regulatory tool at this point. The intent isn’t to stop a project from moving forward but to begin a discussion about how the risk will be mitigated.
  • Tool Functionality:
    • Currently, once you submit information, it is not possible to go back and update with additional information. However, there is a clone feature where you can provide updated information.
    • All information that is submitted is not shared publicly. There is no direct use of that data unless you are involved in a review or grant process.
  • Tool Recommendations:
    • Information about the resiliency of infrastructure e.g., water and sewer would help developers incorporate that into development projects. This may be integrated into the next BETA version.
    • In the future it would help if the tool was adaptive enough to include resiliency work that has already been undertaken.

To review the tool in more detail, check out the training video and user guide. For more information, please contact Yve Torrie ytorrie@abettercity.org.



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