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Building Codes Save: A Nationwide Study of Loss Prevention

FEMA’s landmark study, “Building Codes Save: A Nationwide Study,” shows that modern building codes lead to major reduction in property losses from natural disasters. The FEMA report calculates losses from three types of natural hazard (earthquakes, flooding, and hurricane winds) for each state and Washington, D.C.

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Building Codes Save: A Nationwide Study

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Appendices

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Brochure

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Building Codes Save

National Findings of Modeled I-Code Savings

Total losses avoided are based on building and content damages

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Floods

Number of Post-2000 Structures

Money Saved, annual average

786k

$484 million

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Earthquakes

2.4m

$60 million

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Hurricane Winds

9.2m

$1.1 billion

One of the most cost-effective ways to safeguard our communities against natural disasters is to adopt and follow hazard-resistant building codes. Not only are casualties reduced, but the cost of building damage is also reduced during a natural disaster. Building codes also help communities get back on their feet faster by minimizing indirect costs such as business interruptions and lost income.

65%

Percentage of counties, cities and towns across the U.S. today still have not adopted modern building codes

$132 billion

Estimated reduction in property losses based on forecasted consistent growth associated with use of modern building codes from 2000-2040

The analysis shows that, over a 20-year period, cities and counties with modern building codes would avoid at least $32 billion in losses from natural disasters, when compared to jurisdictions without modern building codes.

Building Codes Generate Big Benefits at a Low Cost

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House with no hurricane protection

Average home construction cost: $300,000

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House with hurricane shutters

Average cost of code requirements to safeguard a new home

Hurricane: $4,500 (1.5%)

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House with person walking dog outside

Average losses avoided from natural hazards over 30 years

Hurricane: $1,600 losses avoided per year
$48,000 cumulative losses avoided

Main Takeaways From the Study

  1. The Building Codes Save study demonstrates adoption of modern building codes helps communities avoid losses from predictable natural hazards.
  2. Cumulative losses avoided across the US from codes that have already been adopted are projected to grow to over $132b by the year 2040. 
  3. There remain significant opportunities to avoid even more losses by expanding the adoption of modern building codes in areas where flood, earthquake, and hurricane wind hazards threaten growth and prosperity. 

And much more!

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