In the wake of disaster, fire-devastated properties will be restored, devastated communities will reopen parks and playgrounds, and our communities will forge on.

While we foresee more devastation in the future, the upcoming reconstruction process is a stellar opportunity to enhance the built environment.

Australia knows all too well the effects of natural disasters, but in those instances we did not have incoming supplements of money and support to make the very best recovery.

Flood-altered bridges have been reconstructed, only to flood once more. Houses still are built in high-risk fire zones. And our buildings often lack vital sustainability features.

The current rebuilding effort is a shining chance to cultivate more resilient and future-proof cities to supply enhanced living standards and more climate-efficient buildings.

Tomorrow’s built environment will be even more unpredictable, thanks to climate change.

We know that more heat, and natural disasters like cyclones and fires, will result from the world’s changing climate patterns.

While we’re directing the built environment to combat global warming, we must improve our structures to meet the challenge.

The Green Building Council of Australia’s Future Focus program is renovating our ratings system to include new and enhanced measures to lower emissions and expand the value of climate resilience in the built environment.

Thankfully, change is underway. Resilience has always played an important role in the determination of Green Star ratings, but a novel approach taken via Future Focus highlights the value of this subject to everyone.

New methods of rebuilding must be discovered, as opposed to repeating dangerous practices that have contributed to the development of natural disasters.

The rebuilding of infrastructure and property should take into account the probable effects of disasters.

Developed property should be strong against the changing climate, and flexible enough to cope with those effects if needed.

Systems should come complete with backups in place to permit full functioning to persist in a crisis. And the negative effects of these crises should be rendered minimal through improved design and materials—resulting in an environment better able to withstand exterior shocks and resume full functioning.

In each construction project undertaken in the future, building teams will review the possible stresses and impacts the building being constructed could endure.

This could mean the loss of power, water and digital access, natural disasters, direct physical or cyber-attacks and elevating energy costs.

An operating plan with a mission to address risks should take into account high and system-level risks. Internal and external stakeholders should affirm the presence of risks and performance goals. End emergency responses should be assessed.

And the probable impacts of climate change and elevating sea levels should be assessed and addressed.

Standing as a united front, we can rebuild, persist and survive.