The following documents provide guidance on the hazard-resistant provisions in the building codes for property owners, engineers and design professionals, building codes officials, and the general public. These resources are divided by natural hazard and address earthquake, flood, and wind (including information on hurricane and tornado shelters).
Please check back often for updates to this information or sign up to receive Building Science email updates.
The following documents provide information concerning the earthquake-resistant provisions of the most recent editions of the International Building Code (IBC), International Exiting Building Code (IEBC), and International Residential Code (IRC), and their referenced standards [i.e., American Society of Civil Engineers / Structural Engineering Institute (ASCE/SEI) 7, Minimum Design Loads for Buildings and Other Structures and ASCE/SEI 41, Seismic Evaluation and Retrofit of Existing Buildings].
Earthquake-Resistant Design Concepts (FEMA P-749, December 2010)
This document provides a readily understandable explanation of the intent and requirements of the seismic related building codes and standards that are based on the NEHRP Recommended Seismic Provisions for New Buildings and Other Structures (FEMA P-750). Understanding the basis for the earthquake-resistant provisions contained in the building codes and standards is important to many people outside the technical design community. This publication explains the history and purpose of building regulation in the United States, including a summary of the seismic-resistant provisions found in the current building codes and standards. Among the topics addressed are the national seismic hazard maps developed by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS); the seismic design maps incorporated in the building codes and standard, as well as an overview of the seismic design procedures contained in the building codes.
NEHRP Recommended Seismic Provisions for New Buildings and Other Structures
The NEHRP Provisions are a knowledge-based resource document intended to translate research results into engineering design practice. The NEHRP Provisions incorporate results and findings from recent research projects, problem-focused studies, and post-earthquake investigation reports conducted by various professional organizations, research institutes, universities, material industries, and the NEHRP agencies. The 2009 edition (FEMA P-750) is the basis for changes to the seismic-resistant provisions found in ASCE/SEI 7-10 and the 2015 IBC and the 2015 edition (FEMA P-1050) is the basis for changes to the seismic-resistant provisions found in ASCE/SEI 7-16 and the 2018 IBC.
CodeMasters for Seismic Design
The CodeMaster products provide designers with an easy-to-use desk reference that identifies the seismic provisions in the IBC as well as the seismic requirements of ASCE/SEI 7. The CodeMaster is a unique and useful laminated guide for designers to make sure that they incorporate the seismic-resistant provisions of these codes and standards. Subjects addressed include determination of mapped spectral response accelerations; consideration of exceptions to the seismic code requirements; Seismic Design Category determination; consideration of plan and vertical structural irregularities; determination of seismic base shear, redundancy coefficient and seismic load effects; and compliance with drift control requirements. These guides can be purchased from S. K. Ghosh Associates.
2015 Structural/Seismic Design Manuals – Volumes 1-3
The Structural Engineers Association of California has partnered with ICC to update its series of Structural/Seismic Design Manuals to the 2015 IBC. Each volume provides a step-by-step approach to applying the structural provisions of the 2015 IBC and referenced standards. These manuals can be purchased from the International Code Council, here: http://shop.iccsafe.org/2015-structural-seismic-design-manuals-volumes-1-3-1.html
Homebuilders' Guide to Earthquake-Resistant Design and Construction (FEMA 232, June 2006)
This illustrated guide presents background information on the principles of seismic resistance and how earthquake forces impact conventional residential construction and more detailed information on architectural considerations (site selection, foundations and foundation details, floors, shear walls, and roofs). Also included are discussions of masonry and stone elements, examples of typical ﬂoor plans for earthquake- resistant one- and two-story homes, excerpts of seismic requirements from building codes, and checklists for homebuilders.
Techniques for the Seismic Rehabilitation of Existing Buildings (FEMA 547, 2006)
This publication documents common seismic rehabilitation or retrofitting techniques used for buildings represented in the set of standard building types presented in seismic publications. It includes a wide variety of techniques that have been developed and used for repair and retrofitting of earthquake-damaged and seismically deficient buildings.
Reducing the Risks of Non-structural Earthquake Damage—A Practical Guide (FEMA E-74, December 2012)
This guide describes the sources of nonstructural earthquake damage and effective methods of reducing potential risks associated with such damage. It assists in identifying potential hazards and provides specific guidance on upgrades. This fourth edition of FEMA 74 has been redesigned for use online and expanded to include more examples that feature photos of actual damage and details illustrating correct mitigation measures.
The following documents provide information concerning the wind-resistant provisions of the most recent editions of the International Building Code (IBC), International Exiting Building Code (IEBC), and International Residential Code (IRC), and their referenced standards American Society of Civil Engineers / Structural Engineering Institute (ASCE/SEI) 7, Minimum Design Loads for Buildings and Other Structures and ICC 500 Standard for the Design and Construction of Storm Shelters.
Wind Provisions in the 2015 International Building Code® (February 2017)
This document summarize the wind-resistant provisions of the 2015 edition of the IBC.
This document summarize the wind-resistant provisions of the 2015 edition of the IEBC.
Wind Provisions in the 2015 International Residential Code® (February 2017)
This document summarize the wind-resistant provisions of the 2015 edition of the IRC.
Building Code Resources Related to Hurricane and Tornado Shelters
The International Code Council (ICC) 500-2014 is a referenced standard in the 2015 editions of the IBC, IRC and FEMA P-361, Safe Rooms for Tornadoes and Hurricanes: Guidance for Community and Residential Safe Rooms. Buildings or spaces designated for use as a shelter from tornadoes and/or hurricanes within the scope of the IBC and IRC must conform to the requirements in ICC 500. Highlights of ICC 500-2014 cover Administration and Oversight; Structural Design Criteria; Occupancy, Means of Egress, and Access; Fire Protection, Essential Features, and Accessories; and Test Methods. The highlights paper also covers significant changes made to the 2014 edition compared to the 2008 edition of ICC 500.
Foundation and Anchoring Criteria for Safe Rooms Fact Sheet (October 2015)
Prefabricated safe rooms are becoming more popular as people seek protection from tornadoes. Due to the extreme forces safe rooms may experience, there are very specific foundation and anchoring requirements that, if overlooked, can leave occupants at risk of injury or death during tornadoes. This fact sheet provides graphics and useful information about the foundation and anchoring criteria in FEMA P-361, Safe Rooms for Tornadoes and Hurricanes: Guidance for Community and Residential Safe Rooms, Third Edition, which uses ICC 500, Standard for the Design and Construction of Storm Shelters, as a referenced standard.
The following documents provide information concerning the flood resistant provisions of the 2015, 2012, and 2009 International Codes® (I-Codes), the referenced standard American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) 24, Flood Resistant Design and Construction, and the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) requirements.
This document is a compilation of flood resistant provisions, prepared by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), of the 2015 I-Codes (IBC, IRC, IEBC, IMC, IPC, IFGC, IFC, ISPSC, IPSDC, ICC-PC). Also included, as a separate document, is a summary of changes from the 2012 I-Codes. The 2015 edition of the I-Codes contains provisions that meet or exceed the minimum flood-resistant design and construction requirements of the NFIP for buildings and structures. FEMA and States use a standard checklist when reviewing local floodplain management regulations/ordinances to determine whether such regulations and ordinances are complete for the purpose of participating in the NFIP. The checklist for the I-Codes may also be used to guide floodplain managers, building officials and designers as they compare the flood provisions of the 2015 I-Codes and ASCE 24-14 to the minimum requirements of the NFIP. See link below for Highlights of ASCE 24-14 (ASCE 24-14 is a referenced standard in the 2015 IBC and IRC).
This document is a compilation of flood resistant provisions, prepared by FEMA, of the 2009 I-Codes (IBC, IRC, IEBC, IMC, IPC, IFGC, IPSDC, IFC). Also included, as a separate document, is a summary of changes from the 2006 I-Codes. The 2009 edition of the I-Codes contains provisions that meet or exceed the minimum flood-resistant design and construction requirements of the NFIP for buildings and structures. FEMA and States use a standard checklist when reviewing local floodplain management regulations/ordinances to determine whether such regulations and ordinances are complete for the purpose of participating in the NFIP. The checklist for the I-Codes may also be used to guide floodplain managers, building officials and designers as they compare the flood provisions of the 2009 I-Codes and ASCE 24-05 to the minimum requirements of the NFIP. See link below for Highlights of ASCE 24-05 (ASCE 24-05 is a referenced standard in the 2009 IBC and IRC).
The American Society of Civil Engineers maintains ASCE 24, a referenced standard in the I-Codes. ASCE 24-14 is referenced in the 2015 International Building Code® (IBC) and the 2015 International Residential Code® (IRC). ASCE 24-05 is referenced in the 2012, 2009, and 2006 IBC and IRC. Buildings and structures within the scope of the IBC proposed to be constructed in flood hazard areas must be designed in accordance with ASCE 24. The IRC requires dwellings in floodways to be designed in accordance with ASCE 24 and permits use of ASCE 24. The 2015 IRC permits use of ASCE 24 for dwellings in any flood zone, while earlier editions permit its use in Zone V and Coastal A Zones. The requirements of ASCE 24 meet or exceed the NFIP requirements for buildings and structures in special flood hazard areas. Separate documents summarizing ASCE 24-05 and ASCE 24-14 include the following topics: Building Performance; Flood-Damage Resistant Materials; Utilities and Service Equipment; and Siting Considerations.
Developed by the International Code Council and FEMA, this guide helps State and local officials integrate the International Codes® (I-Codes) into their current floodplain management regulatory processes related to coordinate with structures, buildings, and other development in special flood hazard areas in order to meet the requirements to participate in the NFIP. Chapter 2 describes three approaches for coordinating the I-Codes and local floodplain management regulations and identifies a number of advantages and considerations when relying on the flood provisions of the codes. Chapter 3 explains several differences between the NFIP regulations and the I-Code requirements related to specific terminology and provisions. Many requirements in the codes exceed NFIP minimum requirements, and some provisions are more specific than the NFIP, especially in the International Building Code®, which references ASCE 24, Flood Resistant Design and Construction. Chapter 4 contains questions for States and communities to answer to know whether and how to modify existing floodplain management regulations the I-Codes. Chapter 5 describes modifications that can be adopted to incorporate higher standards in the I-Codes to further increase resistance to flood damage. Chapter 6 introduces model code-coordinated ordinances prepared by FEMA.
This guide illustrates the similarities and highlights the differences between the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) minimum requirements and the requirements of the 2012 International Code Series (I-Codes) and ASCE 24-05, Flood Resistant Design and Construction, a standard referenced by the I-Codes. The illustrations highlight some of the key similarities and differences between foundation types, lowest floor elevations, enclosures below elevated buildings and utilities requirements contained within the NFIP and I-Codes for most residential and commercial buildings (classified as "Category II" structures by the building codes).
These documents contain Flood Resistant Provisions of the 2015 and 2012 editions of codes published by the International Association of Plumbing and Mechanical Officers (IAPMO): the Uniform Mechanical Code; Uniform Plumbing Code, Uniform Swimming Pool, Spa and Hot Tub Code and Uniform Solar Energy Code.
CodeMaster for Flood Resistant Design (2011, 2015)
The CodeMaster provides designers with an easy-to-use desk reference that identifies the flood provisions in the International Building Code® (IBC®) and International Residential Code® (IRC®), as well as the flood requirements of American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) standards ASCE 7 and ASCE 24. There are two versions of the Flood CodeMaster – one for the 2015 IBC and IRC, ASCE 7-10 and 24-14, the other for the 2009/2012 IBC and IRC, ASCE 7-05/7-10 and 24-05. The CodeMaster is a unique and useful tool for designers to make sure that they incorporate the flood-resistant provisions of these codes and standards. The 8-page guide provides sections on preliminary considerations and design process, key flood terminology, a 12-step process to incorporate flood resistance in the design of a building, an example showing the 12-step process being executed and information on additional FEMA mitigation resources related to flood-resistant design. The document also uses illustrations to ensure a clear understanding for users in the professional community.
This sub-study evaluates the NFIP building standards, including a review of flood loss and damage data for structures and communities and calculation of costs and benefits of modifying NFIP building standards across defined ranges of flood conditions and building configurations, differentiated by flood hazard zone.
This document provides a supplement analysis to the 2006 Evaluation of the National Flood Insurance Program’s Building Standards. The purpose of this document is to determine the cost-effectiveness of including freeboard within the foundation height of new residential buildings constructed in floodplains and to establish which factors should be considered when determining how many feet above the minimum NFIP-required elevation a house should be constructed in order to maximize cost-effectiveness.
FEMA 296, 297, and 298 comprise the Code Capability Report and its appendices. This report provides a comparison between the NFIP technical guidelines and standards and the model code and standards in place in 1992. The report's recommendations provide a basis for coordinating NFIP documents with model code and standards. This report is a resource document.