The FEMA Building Science Branch provides technical services for the Federal Insurance and Mitigation Administration (FIMA). The branch develops and produces multi-hazard mitigation guidance that focuses on creating disaster-resilient communities to reduce loss of life and property. Building Science Branch activities include deploying Mitigation Assessment Teams to conduct post-disaster engineering investigations for both man-made and natural hazard events. Building Science takes a lead role in developing publications, guidance materials, tools, technical bulletins, and recovery advisories that incorporate the most up-to-date building codes, floodproofing requirements, seismic design standards, and wind design requirements for new construction and the repair of existing buildings. In addition to providing technical support for the development and adoption of model building codes and standards, Building Science Branch provides technical support for the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) for public and private sector stakeholders, the National Earthquake Hazards Reduction Program (NEHRP), the National Windstorm Impact Reduction Program (NWIRP) and is pursuing outreach strategies for communicating building science issues.
What We Do
The Building Science branch develops mitigation guidance that focuses on creating disaster-resilient communities. Mitigation efforts provide value to the American people by creating safer communities and reducing loss of life and property. Our mitigation activities include:
- Technical services bureau for Mitigation and FEMA
- Mitigation Assessment Team (MAT) Program
- The National Earthquake Hazards Reduction Program (NEHRP)
- Developing publications, guidance materials, tools, technical bulletins and recovery advisories that incorporate the most up-to-date building codes, floodproofing requirements, seismic design standards and wind-bracing requirements for new construction or repairing existing buildings.
- Supporting the development and adoption of model building codes and standards
- All hazards mitigation, the Risk Management Series (RMS)
- Providing technical support for the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP)
- Providing technical support to public and private sector stakeholders.
- Producing state of the art guidance on the construction of community and residential tornado safe rooms to help protect people in their homes, public buildings and schools in hurricane- and tornado-prone areas.
- Pursuing outreach strategies for communicating Building Science issues to a wide array of stakeholders.
Building Science Resources
- Building Code Resources
- Building Science Branch Brochure
- Catalog of FEMA Earthquake Publications
- Catalog of FEMA Building Science Branch Publications and Training Courses
- Mitigation Assessment Team (MAT) reports
- Hurricane Sandy - Building Science Activities and Resources
- NFIP Technical Bulletins
- Risk Management Series (RMS): Mitigating Manmade Disasters
- Rebuild Smarter and Stronger: Information and Guidance on Building Safer
- Safe Room Resources
- State Hazard Mitigation Officer (SHMO)
- Substantial Damage Estimator (SDE)
- Substantial Damage Estimator (SDE) Best Practices
- The FEMA How-To Series: Protect Your Home or Business
Click on the "Frequently Asked Questions" link to view FAQs. If you need additional information email FEMA-Buildingsciencehelp@fema.dhs.gov or contact the Building Science Helpline at (866) 927-2104.
For questions related to funding, please contact your State Hazard Mitigation Officer (SHMO).
FEMA Supports Building Safety Month
Building Safety Month is a month-long celebration of all aspects of building safety that helps families, employers, and leaders understand and appreciate the best practices that keep the places where we live, work, and play safe. All communities need building codes to protect their citizens from disasters.
For the last 36 years the 57,000 worldwide members of the International Code Council (ICC) have celebrated advances in building safety with widespread interest and ongoing support from construction industry professionals and government officials.
For the sixth consecutive year, President Obama has proclaimed May as National Building Safety Month to underscore that safe building codes and standards have an essential role in decreasing the effects of disasters. As is articulated in Presidential Policy Directive/ PPD-8, National Preparedness, as well as PPD-21, Critical Infrastructure Security and Resilience, building safety, fire prevention and energy codes and standards help achieve disaster resilience for our nation.
The Annual Building Safety Month (BSM) campaign reinforces the need for adoption of modern, model building codes, a strong and efficient system of code enforcement and a well-trained, professional workforce to maintain the system.
BSM is a public awareness campaign founded by the International Code Council (ICC). The campaign focuses on public outreach and education to increase the overall safety and sustainability of buildings through the adoption of model building codes and promotion of code enforcement. An array of theme-related community events, safety demonstrations, and educational outreach activities take place during BSM. The overarching theme of BSM this year is Building Codes: Driving Growth through Innovation, Resilience and Safety. This theme is supported by weekly building safety sub-themes: Week 1 - Building Solutions for All Ages; Week 2 - The Science Behind the Codes; Week 3 - Learn from the Past, Build for Tomorrow; and Week 4 - Building Codes: A Smart Investment.
Our nation’s building safety, fire prevention, and energy codes and standards play a critical role in maintaining and ensuring the safety of our buildings and enable our nation to better prepare, respond, recover, and mitigate from all hazards. Strong building safety, fire prevention, and energy codes and standards also puts the nation in a better position to deal with future challenges, such as climate change. FEMA supports ICC's BSM as it strives to help communities reduce the impacts of natural disasters by promoting the importance of adopting modern building codes to achieve resilience.
Visit Building Safety Month more information.