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Building Science - Flood Publications

Flooding is the most common natural hazard in the U.S. Keeping communities safe and resilient against flooding is necessary to minimize damages, injuries, and loss of life. To assist communities in becoming stronger against flooding, FEMA Building Science has developed publications and guidance for different stakeholder groups who are at risk of flooding. Following this guidance allows for your community to experience less damages, as well as keeps building owners and occupants safe in the event of a flood.

View answers to frequently asked questions about Building Science and floods.

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Version 3: Model Code-Coordinated Ordinance

These three versions of a model ordinance are coordinated – written as a companion – with the flood provisions of the International Codes® (I-Codes). For more information on the use of these model ordinances, see Reducing Flood Losses Through the International Codes: Coordinating Building Codes and Regulations, 5th edition (2019) at http://www.fema.gov/media-library/assets/documents/96634.

To obtain a model ordinance in Word, send an email with your name, community, and state to FEMA-BuildingScienceHelp@fema.dhs.gov.

- Use Version 1 if Chapter 1 of the I-Codes is adopted and IBC Appendix G is adopted.

- Use Version 2 if Chapter 1 of the I-Codes is adopted and IBC Appendix G is not adopted.

- Use Version 3 if Chapter 1 of the I-Codes is not adopted and IBC Appendix G is not adopted.

Version 3: Model Code-Coordinated Ordinance Checklist

These three versions of a model ordinance are coordinated – written as a companion – with the flood provisions of the International Codes® (I-Codes). For more information on the use of these model ordinances, see Reducing Flood Losses Through the International Codes: Coordinating Building Codes and Regulations, 5th edition (2019) at http://www.fema.gov/media-library/assets/documents/96634.

To obtain a model ordinance in Word, send an email with your name, community, and state to FEMA-BuildingScienceHelp@fema.dhs.gov.

- Use Version 1 if Chapter 1 of the I-Codes is adopted and IBC Appendix G is adopted.

- Use Version 2 if Chapter 1 of the I-Codes is adopted and IBC Appendix G is not adopted.

- Use Version 3 if Chapter 1 of the I-Codes is not adopted and IBC Appendix G is not adopted.

Version 2: Model Code-Coordinated Ordinance

These three versions of a model ordinance are coordinated – written as a companion – with the flood provisions of the International Codes® (I-Codes). For more information on the use of these model ordinances, see Reducing Flood Losses Through the International Codes: Coordinating Building Codes and Regulations, 5th edition (2019) at http://www.fema.gov/media-library/assets/documents/96634.

To obtain a model ordinance in Word, send an email with your name, community, and state to FEMA-BuildingScienceHelp@fema.dhs.gov.

- Use Version 1 if Chapter 1 of the I-Codes is adopted and IBC Appendix G is adopted.

- Use Version 2 if Chapter 1 of the I-Codes is adopted and IBC Appendix G is not adopted.

- Use Version 3 if Chapter 1 of the I-Codes is not adopted and IBC Appendix G is not adopted.

Version 1: Model Code-Coordinated Ordinance

These three versions of a model ordinance are coordinated – written as a companion – with the flood provisions of the International Codes® (I-Codes). For more information on the use of these model ordinances, see Reducing Flood Losses Through the International Codes: Coordinating Building Codes and Regulations, 5th edition (2019) at http://www.fema.gov/media-library/assets/documents/96634.

To obtain a model ordinance in Word, send an email with your name, community, and state to FEMA-BuildingScienceHelp@fema.dhs.gov.

- Use Version 1 if Chapter 1 of the I-Codes is adopted and IBC Appendix G is adopted.

- Use Version 2 if Chapter 1 of the I-Codes is adopted and IBC Appendix G is not adopted.

- Use Version 3 if Chapter 1 of the I-Codes is not adopted and IBC Appendix G is not adopted.

FEMA P-1037, Reducing Flood Risk to Residential Buildings That Cannot Be Elevated

This publication presents a range of flood protection measures available as alternatives to traditional structural elevation for homeowners whose residences meet both of the following conditions:

1 - The residences are existing buildings. This publication is not intended to address construction of new buildings in floodprone areas as these structures should be sufficiently elevated and built in conformance with NFIP and local floodplain management regulations.

2 - The residences are not Substantially Damaged or Substantially Improved, meaning that the buildings have not sustained damage or undergone improvement (i.e., reconstruction, rehabilitation, addition) where the cost of the damage or improvement exceeds 50 percent of the market value of the building before the damage occurred or improvement began. As with new construction, Substantially Damaged or Substantially Improved structures must be re-built in conformance with NFIP and local floodplain management regulations.

FEMA P-348, Protecting Building Utility Systems From Flood Damage

This publication illustrates the design and construction of utility systems that comply with the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) requirements for the construction of new residential and non-residential structures in flood-prone areas. It is also useful when evaluating structures that will undergo Substantial Improvement, guiding users to meet floodplain management regulations and building code requirements. Even if compliance is not required, many building owners may find that applying mitigation measures described in this publication will not only reduce future flood damage but also facilitate recovery after flooding.

FEMA P-936, Floodproofing Non-Residential Buildings

The primary focus of the guidance document is on dry floodproofing technologies for non-residential buildings, but it also includes an overview of other techniques including wet floodproofing and the use of levees and floodwalls. The publication provides information about regulatory requirements, design considerations, and descriptions of floodproofing methods and equipment. Key document features include: 1) Tools to assist the designer or building owner in determining the best floodproofing option for a particular building including a vulnerability checklist, 2) Case studies providing examples of applied floodproofing techniques, 3) Equations for determining flood forces and loads, 4) A summary of results from recent dry floodproofing research and testing for new construction.

Hurricane Recovery Issue Paper Guidance for Turning the Power Back On

This document contains guidance on the steps that should be taken during and after a power outage.

Hurricane Recovery Issue Paper Guidance for Turning the Power Back On (Spanish)

Hurricane Recovery Issue Paper Guidance for Turning the Power Back On (Spanish)

2015 Uniform Codes by IAPMO

This document contains Flood Resistant Provisions of the 2015 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.

Flood Resistant Provisions of the 2015 International Codes

Flood Resistant Provisions of the 2015 International Codes

Summary of Changes from the 2015 I-Codes

2015 I-Code Summary of Changes from 2012 I-Codes

Resources for Reconstruction after 2016 Louisiana Flooding

Louisiana 2016 Flooding Fact Sheet

Mitigation for Homeowners

Mitigation for Homeowners Fact Sheet 2017

Mitigation for Homeowners (en Español)

Mitigation for Homeowners (en Español) Fact Sheet 2017

Overview of FEMA P-499 | Homebuilder's Guide to Coastal Construction

Overview of FEMA P-499 | Homebuilder's Guide to Coastal Construction

Overview of FEMA P-550 | Recommended Residential Construction for Coastal Areas

Overview of FEMA P-550 | Recommended Residential Construction for Coastal Areas

Overview of FEMA P-312 | Homeowner's Guide to Retrofitting

Overview of FEMA P-312 | Homeowner's Guide to Retrofitting

Overview of FEMA P-85 | Protecting Manufactured Homes from Floods and Other Hazards

Overview of FEMA P-85 | Protecting Manufactured Homes from Floods and Other Hazards

Overview of FEMA P-348 | Protecting Building Utility Systems From Flood Damage

Overview of FEMA P-348 | Protecting Building Utility Systems From Flood Damage

Highlights of ASCE 24-05 Flood Resistant Design and Construction

The American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) 24-05 is a referenced standard in the International Building Code® and International Residential Code® (editions published 2012, 2009 and 2006). Building and structures within the scope of the IBC proposed to be constructed in a flood hazard area must design in accordance with ASCE 24. The IRC requires that dwellings in floodways to be designed in accordance with ASCE 24, and the 2012 and 2009 editions include an alternative that allows communities to require homes in Zones V to be designed in accordance with ASCE 24. Highlights of ASCE 24 that complement the NFIP minimum requirements include Building Performance; Flood-Damage Resistant Materials; Utilities and Service Equipment; and Siting Considerations.

Highlights of ASCE 24-14 Flood Resistant Design and Construction

The American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) 24-14 is a referenced standard in the 2015 International Building Code® (IBC) and the 2015 International Residential Code® (IRC). Building and structures within the scope of the IBC proposed to be constructed in flood hazard areas must be designed in accordance with ASCE 24-14. The IRC requires dwellings in floodways to be designed in accordance with ASCE 24-14 and includes an alternative that allows communities to require homes in any flood zone to be designed in accordance with ASCE 24-15. Highlights of ASCE 24-14 that complement the NFIP minimum requirements include Building Performance; Flood-Damage Resistant Materials; Utilities and Service Equipment and Siting Considerations.

Updates to NFIP Technical Bulletins

The Bulletins are changing to modernize and streamline their content and presentation, incorporate relevant information from the latest I-Codes and ASCE Standards, provide updated guidance and best practices observed from post-disaster assessments and address known issues identified by a wide range of stakeholders. These changes intended to improve the TBs’ usability, credibility, and content while presenting them in a streamlined format.

FEMA Building Science Resources to Help Reduce Risk and Improve Resilience

Together, FEMA's Building Science Branch and Risk MAP program leverage insights about mitigation planning, risk reduction, and building design to create disaster-resilient communities that help reduce the loss of life and property. Within the framework of Risk MAP, communities can use Building Science resources to gain a better understanding of effective mitigation actions to consider.

FEMA Building Science Considerations for Risk MAP

FEMA Building Science can help minimize natural hazard impacts to your community through several considerations. This fact sheets lists out some of Risk MAP Flood Risk Products that building science can help advance. These include Depth Grids, changes since the last Flood Insurance Rate Map (FIRM), Flood Risk Assessment, and Community Engagement and Outreach.

Flood Provisions of the 2009 International Codes

The 2009 edition of the International Codes (I-Codes) contains provisions that meet or exceed the minimum flood-resistant design and construction requirements of the NFIP for buildings and structures.

I-Codes Sample Checklists for Flood Hazards

This document contains a Plan Review Checklist for Flood Hazard Area Application Review and an Inspection Checklist for Flood Hazard Area Inspections in both A Zones and V Zones.

The ABC’s of Returning to Flooded Buildings

Returning to flood-damaged buildings requires careful planning. The tips contained in this flyer are designed to assist impacted individuals when they are able to reach their flooded property.

The ABC’s of Returning to Flooded Buildings (Spanish)

The ABC’s of Returning to Flooded Buildings (Spanish)

Flood Provisions of the International Code Series: Higher Standards and More Specific Requirements than the Minimum Requirements of the National Flood Insurance Program

This paper summarizes the provisions of the I-Codes that are more detailed or that exceed the NFIP minimums.

Reducing Flood Losses Through the International Codes: Coordinating Building Codes and Floodplain Management Regulations, 5th Edition

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 structures, buildings, and other development to satisfy the requirements to participate in the NFIP.

FEMA P-348, Protecting Building Utility Systems From Flood Damage Flyer

This flyer announces FEMA Building Science Branch's release of the second edition of Protecting Building Utilities from Flood Damage, FEMA P-348. The overall objective of this updated publication is to assist in the repair, reconstruction, and new construction of buildings with building utility systems and equipment that are designed and built for maximum flood resiliency.

Technical Bulletin 1, Openings in Foundation Walls and Walls of Enclosures

Provides guidance on the NFIP regulations concerning the requirement for openings in below-Base Flood Elevation foundation walls and walls of enclosures for buildings located in Zones A, AE, A1-A30, AR, AO, and AH.

2012 Uniform Codes by IAPMO

This document contains Flood Resistant Provisions of the 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.

Code Compatibility Report FEMA 296

This publication is just the code capability report, for the appendices see FEMA numbers 297, and 298. This report provides a comparison between the NFIP technical guidelines and standards and the model code and standards. The report's recommendations provide a basis for coordinating NFIP documents with model code and standards. This report is a resource document.

Code Compatibility Report FEMA 296 (Text)

This publication is just the code capability report, for the appendices see FEMA numbers 297, and 298. This report provides a comparison between the NFIP technical guidelines and standards and the model code and standards. The report's recommendations provide a basis for coordinating NFIP documents with model code and standards. This report is a resource document.

Code Compatibility Report Appendices C - F FEMA 298 (Text)

This publication is just appendices C through F for the code capability report, for the report or other appendices see FEMA 296 and 297. This report provides a comparison between the NFIP technical guidelines and standards and the model code and standards. The report's recommendations provide a basis for coordinating NFIP documents with model code and standards. This report is a resource document.

Code Compatibility Report Appendices C - F FEMA 298

This publication is just appendices C through F for the code capability report, for the report or other appendices see FEMA 296 and 297. This report provides a comparison between the NFIP technical guidelines and standards and the model code and standards. The report's recommendations provide a basis for coordinating NFIP documents with model code and standards. This report is a resource document.

Code Compatibility Report Appendices A and B FEMA 297 (Text)

This publication is just appendices A and B for the code capability report, for the report or other appendices see FEMA 296 and 298. This report provides a comparison between the NFIP technical guidelines and standards and the model code and standards. The report's recommendations provide a basis for coordinating NFIP documents with model code and standards. This report is a resource document.

Code Compatibility Report Appendices A and B FEMA 297

This publication is just appendices A and B for the code capability report, for the report or other appendices see FEMA 296 and 298. This report provides a comparison between the NFIP technical guidelines and standards and the model code and standards. The report's recommendations provide a basis for coordinating NFIP documents with model code and standards. This report is a resource document.

Quick Reference Guide: Comparison of Select NFIP and 2018 I-Code Requirements for Special Flood Hazard Areas (2018)

This guide illustrates the similarities and highlights the differences between the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) minimum requirements and the requirements of the 2018 International Codes® (I-Codes®) and ASCE 24-14, 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 "Flood Design Class 2" structures by the building codes).

Quick Reference Guide: Comparison of Select NFIP & Building Code Requirements for Special Flood Hazard Areas (2012)

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 Codes® (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).

Technical Bulletin 4, Elevators in Buildings Located in Special Flood Hazard Areas

Provides guidance on the NFIP regulations concerning the installation of elevators below the Base Flood Elevation in Special Flood Hazard Areas (both A and V zones).

Technical Bulletin 5, Free-of-Obstruction Requirements

Provides guidance on the NFIP regulations concerning obstructions to flood waters below elevated buildings and on building sites in Coastal High Hazard Areas (Zones V, VE, and V1-V30).

Technical Bulletin 8, Corrosion Protection of Metal Connectors in Coastal Areas

Provides guidance on the need for, selection of, and use of corrosion-resistant metal connectors for the construction of buildings in coastal areas.

Technical Bulletin 0, User's Guide to NFIP Technical Bulletins

This User's Guide is intended to assist those using the Technical Bulletins issued by the FEMA Mitigation Directorate. This Guide contains a Key Word/Subject Index that identifies topics contained in the Technical Bulletins regarding the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). Reference sources and information about ordering additional NFIP publications are also provided.

FEMA P-797, Hazard Mitigation Field Book: Roadways (Text)

Text Version: the FEMA Hazard Mitigation Field Book (HMFB) for Roadways helps local government entities choose the best hazard mitigation (HM) solution(s) given their operational constraints and design considerations. By offering the user a quick selection tool, based on broad characteristics, the HMFB reduces a wide array of technical solutions to a few practical options. Although there are many causes of damage to roadways, this Field Book focuses primarily on flood-related causes of damage.

FEMA P-797, Hazard Mitigation Field Book: Roadways

The FEMA Hazard Mitigation Field Book (HMFB) for Roadways helps local government entities choose the best hazard mitigation (HM) solution(s) given their operational constraints and design considerations. By offering the user a quick selection tool, based on broad characteristics, the HMFB reduces a wide array of technical solutions to a few practical options. Although there are many causes of damage to roadways, this Field Book focuses primarily on flood-related causes of damage.

Reducing Losses in High Risk Flood Hazard Areas - A Guidebook for Local Officials

This guidebook provides information to help local governments improve the effectiveness of their floodplain management programs for high risk areas that have special types of flood hazards beyond typical flooding.

Reducing Losses in High Risk Flood Hazard Areas - A Guidebook for Local Officials (Text Version)

Text Version: This guidebook provides information to help local governments improve the effectiveness of their floodplain management programs for high risk areas that have special types of flood hazards beyond typical flooding.

Last updated September 17, 2020