My heart and prayers go out to those of you who have been directly or indirectly affected by the super-storm Sandy.  About one third of US citizens experienced devastation of property, heartbreak from destroyed treasured personal items, and financial loss.  Millions lost their power and ability to work for weeks.  Losses are expected to exceed $50 billion. To some, it felt like a tsunami, tornado, or earthquake, yet it was only a level one hurricane combined with a nor’easter.  Sandy was reported to be the largest diameter hurricane to have formed in the north Atlantic.  Many damaged homes did not have flood insurance because they were located outside of the FEMA “A” flood zone, where mortgage companies require flood insurance.  To add insult to injury many of us experienced a snow storm with up to one foot of wet snow a week later.

NABIE members in the affected areas are on the front lines working with home and building owners assessing damage.  Throughout the years, we have had numerous educational presentations about natural disasters at our annual conferences.  That knowledge, coupled with individual experience and engineering judgment, will get a workout.  Professional engineering judgment will be increasingly more important when due diligence inspections are performed for the sale of buildings or homes that were damaged during Sandy.  This is an opportunity to educate people in our market areas about post storm structural assessments.  Personally, I am seeing incomplete restoration work that will mask structural and environmental problems, particularly for buildings and homes that did not have flood insurance.  There is such a demand for remediation work that the probability of poorly supervised, poorly trained workmanship will increase.  More information about Sandy appears later in this newsletter.

Our current leadership and Board term expires December 31, 2012.  As I approach the end of my term I seem to be focusing on all I wish I could have done.  There has, however, been yeoman work accomplished because of hard working committee people and the good work by our retired executive director.  I wish to thank all of our officers and members of our Board, as well as committee chairman and committee members, who devoted time, energy, and talent for the betterment of NABIE.  I am looking forward to leadership from our new President, William Coulbourne, P.E.  He has strategic vision that I expect will help grow and strengthen NABIE.  Following on the heels of Sandy, Bill has extensive expertise in disaster prevention and forensic evaluation of disasters to help guide improved preventative measures.  Our new Executive Director, Alexandra Binder, has high energy and will have great mentoring from out-going ED John Cronin, Jr. P.E..  She will no doubt be a great support to our new leadership team.

Improving the benefits for our members is directly related to greater member involvement.  I encourage each and every one of you to find an area of NABIE where you can make a contribution.  Perhaps it will be by writing an article for the Examiner or writing technical resource information that can be passed onto other members via our web site.  Consider actively participating in a committee.  Please be sure to attend our annual conference in Nashville, TN February 15-17, 2013.  I have found that interaction with other conference participants has always given me ideas to strengthen my building inspection professional engineering practice.

Thank you for having had the opportunity to serve.

By Peter A. Schkeeper, PE