In recent years, the losses arising from natural hazards such as hailstorms and flooding have been steadily increasing. The cantonal building insurers (KGV) need to control their own risk exposure by way of preventive measures. An efficient way of protecting buildings is to take structural action on site, typically by reinforcing side walls to withstand avalanches, or raising the height of light wells in order to keep flood water at bay. From the owner's perspective, it is important to know whether the proposed intervention is cost-effective; in other words, whether the benefits outweigh the costs. The availability of relevant information makes it easier for the owner to decide if it is worth investing money in protective measures.
Working together with the companies GEOTEST AG, Egli Engineering, B.S.S. – Volkswirtschaftliche Beratung, and Gutwein IT-Service, the SLF has developed both the methodology and the software required to evaluate the practical benefit and cost-effectiveness of proposed preventive measures for buildings. The software offers a fairly simple method of assessing whether a particular solution for a building makes economic sense. In an initial step, the extent to which the building is endangered has to be established with the aid of intensity or danger maps. The other input data required by the software is a description of the building, a definition of the proposed protective action, and an indication of cost. On the basis of this information, the tool then helps the user to establish the extent of possible damage to the building, with and without the additional protection. This exercise generates the benefit-cost ratio for the proposal. If the ratio is greater than one, the action can generally be regarded as cost-effective. Giving consideration to additional criteria, including usability and visual appeal, the competent building insurer evaluates whether the proposal is to be regarded as reasonable from the owner's perspective.
Software released for experts
Having undergone training, the natural hazards specialists of the KGV are now free to use the tool. In principle, the software has been released for the exclusive use of the KGV experts. Other interested professionals (e.g. architects) wishing to use the tool are invited to submit an application to the federation of cantonal fire insurers (VKF), which oversees the KGV.
The project was initiated and supported by the prevention foundation of the cantonal building insurers, and the operational aspects are being managed by the VKF.
2011 - 2014