Benefit-Cost Analysis

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About the Benefit-Cost Analysis Tool

The Benefit-Cost Analysis (BCA) program consists of guidelines, methodologies and software modules for a range of major natural hazards, including:

  • Flood (Riverine, Coastal Zone A, Coastal Zone V)
  • Hurricane Wind
  • Damage-Frequency Assessment
  • Tornado Safe Room
  • Earthquake
  • Wildfire

The BCA program provides up to date program data, up to date default and standard values, user manuals and training. Overall, the program makes it easier for users and evaluators to conduct and review BCAs and to address multiple buildings and hazards in a single BCA module run.



Tool Download

BCA Toolkit version 5.0

Starting March of 2014, FEMA released the Benefit Cost Analysis Tool version 5.0 and is available to be used to demonstrate cost-effectiveness for FEMA's Hazard Mitigation Assistance (HMA) grant programs. Users must download the file above into a folder on the user's computer and then run Setup.exe to install. 

Version 5.0 and version 4.8 can be installed on the same machine at the same time.  It is recommended that you keep version 4.8 installed as users transition to version 5.0 of the benefit cost toolkit.  Version 5.0 will import projects created in versions 4.5.5 and 4.8. Older versions will not import projects created in version 5.0 due to the new features of the toolkit.

BCA Toolkit version 4.8

Due to the size of the Version 4.8 toolkit file, the installation file was separated into three separate .ZIP files. Users must download all three .ZIP files and extract those files into the same folder on the user's computer and then run Setup.exe to install version 4.8.

Environmental Benefits Policy and Calculator

The Environmental Benefits Policy allows for incorporation of environmental benefits for acquisition projects under the HMA grant programs. Environmental benefits can be included for each structure when the project benefit cost ratio (BCR) reaches 0.75.  The spreadsheet calculator is a tool to help incorporate environmental benefits into FEMA’s BCA calculations for acquisition projects. 

Version 5.0 provides the ability to perform these calculations and the spreadsheet calculator is not needed.  The calculator is needed if using version 4.8.

Training Materials

The FEMA BCA team will use version 4.8 of the toolkit for future BCA training sessions. Version 4.8 will remain available as user’s transition to version 5.0.  After successful completion of the version 5.0 pilot training; those materials will be posted and any future BCA training sessions will use version 5.0 of the toolkit.

BCA Toolkit version 4.8 Training Materials

Benefit-Cost Analysis Technical Assistance

1-855-540-6744 or e-mail: bchelpline@fema.dhs.gov

 9 a.m. - 5 p.m. (ET) Monday through Friday 

FEMA's Benefit-Cost Analysis (BCA) Technical Assistance Helpline is available to provide assistance using FEMA's BCA software. Inquiries presented to the benefit cost helpline are addressed on behalf of FEMA by an outside entity. The benefit cost helpline cannot review or perform benefit cost analysis. Assistance requests in reviewing or performing benefit cost analysis and eligibility or policy questions, should be directed to the State Hazard Mitigation Officer.

Benefit-Cost Analysis Methodology

Applicants and sub-applicants must use FEMA-approved methodologies and software to demonstrate the cost-effectiveness of their projects. FEMA has developed Benefit-Cost Analysis (BCA) software to facilitate the process of preparing a BCA. Using FEMA-approved BCA software will ensure that the calculations are prepared in accordance with OMB Circular A-94, Guidelines and Discount Rates for Benefit-Cost Analysis of Federal Programs and FEMA's standardized methodologies. The FEMA BCA software is available in the Benefit-Cost Analysis Toolkit.

In June 2009, the Greatest Savings to The Fund (GSTF) approach was released for use in demonstrating the cost-effectiveness of mitigation projects.  Currently, FEMA allows the use of the GSTF methodology for any HMA program for Severe Repetitive Loss (SRL) properties. Applicants are required to use the current GSTF value at the time of application submission.

A non-FEMA BCA methodology may only be used when it addresses a non-correctable flaw in the FEMA-approved BCA methodology or it proposes a new approach that is unavailable using FEMA BCA software. The non-FEMA methodology must be approved by FEMA in writing prior to submission of the project application to FEMA.

 

Last Updated: 
04/16/2014 - 11:49