What is Resilience?

In recent years, the concept of resilience has been at the forefront of conversations within the design and construction community. The increasing number and intensity of natural disasters such as hurricanes and wildfires, as well as the threats of human activities such as terrorism, have created this phenomenon. Further, as sustainability has evolved, many realize resilience is part and parcel of that charge. After all, resilient buildings save resources.

The National Institute for Building Sciences (NIBS) defines resilience as, “The ability to prepare and plan for, absorb, recover from and more successfully adapt to adverse events or threats.” Recovery includes repairs made with readily available materials to return buildings and infrastructure to service quickly. At the same time, resilience is also a relative term. A structure or a system may be quite resilient under one set of conditions and not resilient under another.

But what does resilience mean when applied to gypsum panel products? By examining these products in light of our definition, we can see how gypsum panel products contribute to more resilient buildings.

How Gypsum Panels Contribute to Building Resilience

Unfortunately, fire remains an all too common threat whatever the scale. Fire-rated gypsum panel assemblies for walls, roofs, and ceilings provide important passive fire resistance. Due to both the inherent fire-resistive properties of gypsum and the enhanced fire resistance of type X gypsum panels, occupants and property receive a degree of protection from fire independent of sprinkler systems. As soon as the fire is extinguished, structures can be quickly assessed, repaired as needed, and placed back into service.

Other types of gypsum panel products also lend themselves to resilient construction. For example, wall assemblies constructed from abuse-resistant panels and impact-resistant panels stand up to abrasion and penetration better than paper-faced gypsum board.

Similarly, mold and moisture resistant panels can withstand exposure to moisture that may compromise other materials. Assuming factors such as tainted flood water and long-term submersion aren’t an issue, they can return to service.

Return to Service
Gypsum panel products are readily available, easy to install, and can be replaced quickly. A damaged wall can be repaired and the room restored to normal use within days. Be it minimizing damage or ease of repair and replacement, gypsum panel assemblies provide a resilient choice for designers and building owners.