Build it Back: Rebuilding Communities for Resilient Families

People are at the heart of the work that we do. We design sustainable and energy efficient buildings so people are comfortable and have a better place to work, we develop innovative solutions for healthcare facilities so people can breathe easier, we engineer roadways that allow people to get around easily and safely, and we research and implement engineered structures to withstand the harsh realities of natural disasters to protect people.

Why We Inspected More than 15,000 Homes

In 2012, Superstorm Sandy struck the northeastern U.S. and devastated tens of thousands of homes, businesses, and lives. Shortly after the immediate effects of the storm were recognized and addressed, we teamed with the City of New York on the Build it Back (BIB) Program. The city received billions of dollars from the Federal Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Agency to help restore and rebuild homes across the five boroughs. We were tasked with inspecting more than 15,000 homes and residential buildings, estimating damages by assessing and identifying immediate repairs and generating a cost to repair the residence. Based on these calculations and HUD guidelines, our feasibility teams determined if the structures could be repaired, elevated, or rebuilt entirely. Residences that received damage assessments more than 50 percent of the total value were required to be elevated. Residences with damage valued at more than 75-80 percent of the total value would need to be rebuilt. We also verified that work at each property was performed in accordance with applicable federal, state, and local environmental requirements.


The BIB program was designed to meet the needs of many of New York City's residents who were deeply impacted by Superstorm Sandy. Once applicants were determined to be eligible for the program, they had the choice to either use a city-selected developer or choose their own. Even nearly six years after the storm hit, many homes and residential areas impacted by Sandy are continuing to be evaluated and repaired.

Group Cohesion as a Critical Success Factor

This dynamic project has brought together a unique group of individuals from up and down the east coast. Our BIB project team consisted of nearly 200 employees at the program's peak and is made up of engineers, architects, geologists, ecologists, IT specialists, and archeologists—just to name a few—which makes working as a cohesive team an exciting challenge. By automating many of the processes, we were able to establish procedures early on that allowed the inspections, feasibility assessments, and environmental reviews to be completed quickly without sacrificing quality.

More than Just a Job, a Responsibility

What has meant the most about being so intricately involved in this project are the families we've been able to help along the way. Each of their stories is unique and their ability to bounce back from adversity has been deeply inspiring. Equally as inspiring is my team of dedicated co-workers who sacrificed much of the last few years to help place these families back into permanent, more resilient homes. It's truly remarkable to watch this process and our team evolve from its infancy to the integrated unit it is today.