Balancing Flood Mitigation and Preservation for Historic Buildings

Date: March 11, 2020 4:00pm
Location: 1625 Eye St NW Conference Center
sgh dc seminar series

Wednesday, March 11, 2020

1625 Eye St NW
Conference Center
Washington, DC 20006

4:00 - 4:30 p.m. Registration & Refreshments
4:30 - 6:00 p.m. Presentation & Discussion
6:00 - 7:00 p.m. Cocktail Reception

aiaParticipants will earn 1.0 AIA CES Learning Unit (LU/HSW). While we encourage you to invite colleagues, please note that space is limited. Registration is free.


Overdevelopment, sea level rise, and increased precipitation associated with climate change are amplifying the frequency and severity of coastal, riverine, and urban floods. Compounding this issue, historic buildings located on sites that are susceptible to flooding often contain numerous vulnerabilities that heighten the risk of substantial flood-related damage. However, conventional flood mitigation measures can create significant preservation challenges, and flood mitigation guidance may conflict with established preservation guidelines. For example, floodproofing or elevating an existing building may require substantial modification to the structure or building materials to be feasible – conflicting with typical preservation guidelines to maintain original features as much as possible. Owners, designers, and preservationists must understand current and future flood hazards, even in previously unaffected areas, and be equipped with the necessary knowledge to determine practical options for mitigating flood risk and improving resilience.

In this session, we will discuss sources of flood risk, identify strategies to assess flood vulnerabilities, examine available flood mitigation measures, and explore historical and contemporary flood mitigation solutions within the context of historic preservation. We will also explore the actions local communities and governments are taking to address this problem and how regulation changes affect historic preservation projects. 

After attending this seminar, participants will be able to:

  • Evaluate flood risk at a project site.
  • Understand regulatory requirements and design guidelines for flood mitigation of existing buildings within flood hazard areas.
  • Identify flood mitigation strategies to improve the flood resilience of existing buildings.
  • Recognize conflicts between flood mitigation and historic preservation guidelines that must be considered during the retrofit of at-risk historic structures.



adam rush    

Adam Rush, P.E.| Senior Consulting Engineer
Adam Rush has extensive structural engineering experience managing condition assessment, renovation, adaptive reuse, and historic preservation projects involving vital structures at risk of flood damage. He is an active member in the Association for Preservation Technology (APT) and served as the President of the organization’s Washington, DC, chapter in 2013.

ricardo medina  

Ricardo A. Medina, Ph.D., P.E. | Staff Consultant
Ricardo A. Medina is an expert in the field of structural mechanics who specializes in multi-hazard assessment to assist clients with issues related to infrastructure risk and resilience. Prior to joining SGH, he served as an associate professor in the University of New Hampshire's Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, where he pursued research interests in structural engineering; structural dynamics; earthquake engineering; performance-based design of structural and nonstructural components; collapse assessment of structures; hybrid, fatigue, and shake table testing; and risk assessment of infrastructure and nuclear casks during transportation. Ricardo has been actively involved in the development of national and international standards for the seismic design of nonstructural components in buildings as well as guidelines to improve infrastructure resilience.