Built to Last
December 8, 2016
By Jeff Thomas
Preparing for a tropical storm event is a daunting task at best. Food, water, electrical power, gasoline and other necessary items need to be gathered and stored in some form or fashion. Buildings need to be bolstered and vehicles relocated and protected as best as possible. In the worst case scenario, an evacuation maybe necessary before the hurricane arrives.
Now imagine a situation where even these measures aren’t enough in the face of the coming storm. Such was the case for the University of Texas Medical Branch (UTMB) on Galveston Island in 2008 when Hurricane Ike hit the Gulf Coast. The storm wreaked havoc on the UTMB campus, affecting thousands of patients and millions of square feet of facilities. The storm’s surge completely filled UTMB’s basements and as much as 6-8 ft. deep in first floor spaces. Mechanical, electrical and plumbing (MEP) equipment in more than 50 buildings on the UTMB campus were inundated, resulting in more than $700 million worth of damage.