- About the Benefit-Cost Analysis Tool
- Tool Download
- Training Materials
- Benefit-Cost Analysis Technical Assistance
- Benefit-Cost Analysis Methodology
- Benefit-Cost Analysis Toolkit
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
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.
You can find more information on the FEMA Federal Insurance and Mitigation Administration webpage and Hazard Mitigation Assistance (HMA) webpage.
If you have questions about the BCA toolkit, please contact the BC Helpline at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 1-855-540-6744.
BCA Toolkit version 4.5.5
- BCA Tool Version 4.5
- Hurricane Hazard Data
- Earthquake Hazard Data
- Installation and Troubleshooting Guide
- BCA Reference Guide
- BCA Reference Guide Supplement
Starting September of 2012, FEMA released the Benefit Cost Analysis Tool version 4.8 and is available to be used to demonstrate cost-effectiveness for FEMA's HMA grant programs. A link is provided below to download the software. Due to the size of the toolkit, the installation files are separated into three separate .ZIP files. Users must download all three .ZIP files and extract those files into a folder on the user's computer and then run Setup.exe to install version 4.8.
Version 4.5.5 and version 4.8 can be installed on the same machine at the same time. It is recommended that you keep version 4.5.5 installed as users transition to version 4.8 of the benefit cost toolkit. Version 4.8 will import projects created in version 4.5.5, but version 4.5.5 will not import projects created in version 4.8 due to the new features of the toolkit.
BCA Toolkit version 4.8
New features of version 4.8 include (but not limited to):
Expanded functionality of the Flood Import Template - The Flood Import Template allows users to enter data directly into the flood module from a Microsoft Excel® spreadsheet. The advantage of this functionality is that allows data to be sorted and organized much more quickly than would otherwise be possible within the BC Toolkit. Prior versions allowed only basic information about the structure itself to be imported; the expanded functionality now allows inclusion of flood hazard data. This tool is accessible by clicking the "Import/Export" tab from the top row of the toolkit, navigating to the tab called "Flood Project Import" and selecting "Flood Project Import Template".
Revised "Expert Panel Depth Damage Functions (DDF)" for Coastal A and V Zones - Properties that are located in Coastal A and V zones are eligible for analysis using revised DDFs. These DDFs provide a more accurate reflection of damages that occur due to wave action. Coastal A zones are defined as areas within the Limit of Moderate Wave Action (LMWA), which are areas subject to wave action greater than 1.5 feet. These areas are denoted on newer generating Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRMs), but can also be calculated by comparing the Stillwater Elevation with the Base Flood Elevation (BFE). If the BFE is 1.5 feet or higher than the Stillwater Elevation, then the area is located inside the LMWA. Properties outside the LMWA should still use the USACE Generic DDFs.
Automatically generated Data Documentation Templates (DDTs) - A DDT can now be automatically generated for each analysis that is conducted. A user can generate a DDT by: go to "Projects", double-click a structure, then locate which mitigation analysis you would like to generate a DDT for. The seventh column from the left has a button that states "View DDT". Selecting this option will populate the DDT with information that the user entered on each page of the analysis.
Updated inflation calculator - The inflation calculator was previously only calculated through 2011, causing problems for users attempting to run an analysis in 2012. This issue has now been resolved.
Simplified Report Printing - A report can now be generated for any of the projects that have been analyzed by clicking the "Print" button found along the top toolbar. A short list will become visible of the projects that have been analyzed in the software. Clicking the name of the project will then generate a PDF report of the analysis. This is different from Version 4.5.5 where the user had to actually go into the project itself to print the report. The report itself will remain the same. Additionally, other minor changes have been made to enhance the user interface, however all the functionality of Version 4.5.5 is found in 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. The policy states that environmental benefits can be included for each structure when the project benefit cost ratio (BCR) reaches 0.75. As currently, the applicant will need to provide the square footage of the lots being mitigated (these values are typically listed on tax and properties cards, other sources of information can be utilized, does not require a professional survey). The applicant must also provide the post mitigation land use type (namely; green open space or riparian).
The spreadsheet calculator is a tool to help incorporate environmental benefits into FEMA’s BCA calculations for acquisition projects. The applicants are not required to include environmental benefits when performing analysis for acquisitions, however it may improve their benefit cost ratios. The spreadsheet tool was developed to assist our state, local, tribal and territorial governments to include environmental benefits into the BCA.
The spreadsheet tool also includes the policy, instructions on use, and the spreadsheet to calculate the environmental benefits.
If you have questions regards usage of the tool, please contact the benefit cost helpline (email@example.com) or at 1-855-540-6744.
The FEMA BCA team will utilize version 4.8 of the toolkit for future BCA training sessions. The class materials can be downloaded from the links below. Version 4.5.5 will remain available as users transition to version 4.8.
BCA Toolkit version 4.8 Training Materials
BCA Toolkit version 4.5.5 Training Materials
- Student Guide – Includes the Kalamazoo and the Grist Mill case studies.
- Instructor Guide
- Class Power Point Slides
Benefit-Cost Analysis Technical Assistance
FEMA's Benefit-Cost Analysis (BCA) Technical Assistance Helpline is available to provide assistance utilizing FEMA's BCA software. The BCA Technical Assistance Helpline can be reached from 9 am - 5 pm (ET) Monday through Friday via a toll-free number: 1-855-540-6744 or e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Due to the competative nature of some of FEMA's HMA grant programs, the benefit cost helpline can not review or perform benefit cost analysis.
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 submitted to the Severe Repetitive Loss (SRL) program.
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.
Benefit-Cost Analysis Toolkit
The Mitigation Benefit-Cost Analysis Toolkit (BC Toolkit) includes all of the FEMA BCA software, technical guides, and tools to conduct a Benefit-Cost Analysis (BCA). The information contained on the BC Toolkit applies to and is valid for all FEMA Hazard Mitigation Assistance grant programs, including: