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Building Science - Hurricane Publications

Communities located in areas prone to hurricanes are at risk of extreme winds and flooding. FEMA Building Science has developed publications and guidance to assist building owners and occupants in taking the proper precautions to stay safe when a hurricane strikes. Implementing the guidance provided by FEMA will allow for your building or structure to withstand the harsh impacts of hurricanes, thus reducing damages and keeping building occupants safe.

You can order publications from the FEMA Distribution Center.

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FEMA Building Science Resources to Assist with Reconstruction after a Hurricane

FEMA has produced numerous publications detailing best practices for natural hazard mitigation associated with hurricane impacts. This flyer summarizes a few of the readily available publications and resources that can be used by homeowners as well as design and construction professionals during reconstruction following hurricanes.

ASCE 24: Improving the Performance of Buildings and Structures in Flood Hazard Areas

This paper provides and introduction and history of ASCE 24, Flood Resistant Design and Construction, and presents information on the relationship between ASCE 24 and the NFIP requirements. The published version may be found at http://ascelibrary.org/doi/abs/10.1061/9780784412626.006.

Flood Provisions in the International Code Series and 2010 Florida Building Code

This paper provides an introduction and history of the flood provisions in the International Codes, and describes the flood provisions of the 2010 Florida Building Code. The published version may be found at https://ascelibrary.org/doi/abs/10.1061/9780784412626.007.

RA 1- Successfully Retrofitting Buildings for Wind Resistance

The purpose of this Recovery Advisory is to present key wind retrofit guidelines for buildings located in hurricane-prone regions.

RA 2- Best Practices for Minimizing Wind and Water Infiltration Damage

This Recovery Advisory presents important recommendations to reduce wind and water infiltration damage to new and existing residential buildings.

Building Science Training and Workshops for Hurricanes

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Building Science Branch has developed numerous training courses and workshops to provide information to communities and homeowners on how to build stronger and minimize damage from natural disasters. A few FEMA training courses and workshops may be useful as communities begin to rebuild after a hurricane. Most of these courses use a published manual as their basis. For more information or to inquire about one of these training sessions, please contact us at FEMA-BuildingScienceHelp@fema.dhs.gov or 866-927-2104. The published manuals can be obtained from http://www.fema.gov/building-science.

Building Science for Disaster-Resistant Communities: Flood Hazard Publications

This brochure provides readers with a quick summary of publications that will help them prepare for and mitigate against flood hazards. The Building Science Branch develops and produces technical guidance and tools focused on fostering a disaster-resistant built environment. Located within FEMA’s Federal Insurance and Mitigation Administration’s (FIMA’s) Risk Reduction Division, the Building Science Branch supports the directorate’s mission to reduce risk to life and property by providing state-of-the-art technical hazard mitigation solutions for buildings.

FEMA L-781, Building Science for Disaster-Resistant Communities: Hurricane Hazard Publications (2011)

This brochure provides readers with a quick summary of publications that will help them prepare for and mitigate against hurricane hazards. The Building Science Branch develops and produces technical guidance and tools focused on fostering a disaster-resistant built environment. Located within FEMA’s Federal Insurance and Mitigation Administration’s (FIMA’s) Risk Reduction Division, the Building Science Branch supports the directorate’s mission to reduce risk to life and property by providing state-of-the-art technical hazard mitigation solutions for buildings.

FEMA L-782, Building Science for Disaster-Resistant Communities: Flood Hazard Publications (2011)

This brochure provides readers with a quick summary of publications that will help them prepare for and mitigate against flood hazards. The Building Science Branch develops and produces technical guidance and tools focused on fostering a disaster-resistant built environment. Located within FEMA’s Federal Insurance and Mitigation Administration’s (FIMA’s) Risk Reduction Division, the Building Science Branch supports the directorate’s mission to reduce risk to life and property by providing state-of-the-art technical hazard mitigation solutions for buildings.

Cleaning Flooded Buildings Fact Sheet

This Fact Sheet builds on the information provided in FEMA’s Recovery Advisory, Initial Restoration for Flooded Buildings (2005), prepared after Hurricane Katrina. It offers information on correctly cleaning and drying buildings that were not adequately cleaned and dried shortly after the Hurricane Sandy flooding. The advisory describes the selection and application of appropriate cleaners as well as the equipment and process needed to properly dry the building prior to any restoration efforts.

FEMA P-499, Home Builder's Guide to Coastal Construction

FEMA produced this series of 37 fact sheets to provide technical guidance and recommendations concerning the construction of coastal residential buildings. The fact sheets present information aimed at improving the performance of buildings subject to flood and wind forces in coastal environments. Photographs and drawings illustrate the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) regulatory requirements, the proper siting of coastal buildings, and recommended design and construction practices for building components, including structural connections, the building envelope, and utilities.

FEMA P-550, Recommended Residential Construction for Coastal Areas: Building on Strong and Safe Foundations

Every storm has shown that, while good design and construction cannot completely eliminate risk, they can significantly reduce the risk to life and damage to property. This design manual provides recommended designs and guidance for rebuilding homes destroyed by hurricanes in the Gulf Coast. The manual also provides guidance in designing and building less vulnerable new homes that reduce the risk to life and property. To keep pace with developing codes and standards and to improve its guidance, FEMA is issuing this Second Edition of FEMA 550. The Second Edition of FEMA 550 contains a new foundation style Case H, which incorporates an elevated concrete beam for improved structural efficiency. The Second Edition of FEMA 550 has also been updated for consistency with the 2006 and 2009 editions of the IRC and IBC, and the 2005 Edition of ASCE 7 Minimum Design Loads for Buildings and Other Structures.

FEMA P-762, Local Officials Guide for Coastal Construction

This document was developed to assist building officials in understanding the connection between the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) guidelines, the International Building Code, and the International Residential Code. Additionally, flood and wind provisions of both ASCE 7-05 and ASCE 24-05 are presented and discussed. The guide also explores building performance and real-life success and failures following recent storm events and recommends design and construction “best practices” where appropriate.

FEMA P-85, Protecting Manufactured Homes from Floods and Other Hazards

FEMA P-85 (Second Edition, November 2009) has been updated to reflect the requirements of the most current codes and standards and to provide the best practices approach in reducing damages from natural hazards. While the original version of FEMA 85 concentrated on flood and wind events, this version also addresses seismic hazards and recommends several multi-hazard resistant foundation designs. Designs are included for wood-framed foundations, conventional concrete and masonry pier foundations, and ground anchors. The ground anchor foundations are based on results from a series of first-of-its-kind saturated and dry soil anchor tests.

FEMA P-85, Protecting Manufactured Homes from Floods and Other Hazards (Text Version)

FEMA P-85 has been updated to reflect the requirements of the most current codes and standards and to provide a best practices approach in reducing damages from natural hazards. While the original version of FEMA 85 concentrated on flood and wind events, this version also addresses seismic hazards and recommends several multi-hazard resistant foundation designs. Designs are included for wood-framed foundations, conventional concrete and masonry pier foundations, and ground anchors. The ground anchor foundations are based on results from a series of first-of-its-kind saturated and dry soil anchor tests.

FEMA 551 Selecting Appropriate Mitigation Measures for Floodprone Structures

This manual is intended to provide guidance to community officials for developing mitigation projects that reduce or eliminate identified risks for floodprone structures.

FEMA P-55, Coastal Construction Manual: Principles and Practices of Planning, Siting, Designing, Constructing, and Maintaining Residential Buildings in Coastal Areas, 4th Edition Volume 1

The 2011 CCM, 4th Ed. (FEMA P-55), is a 2-volume publication that provides a comprehensive approach to planning, siting, designing, constructing, and maintaining homes in the coastal environment. Volume I provides information about hazard identification, siting decisions, regulatory requirements, economic implications, and risk management. The primary audience for Volume I is design professionals, officials, and those involved in the decision-making process. Volume II contains in-depth descriptions of design, construction, and maintenance practices that, when followed, will increase the durability of residential buildings in the harsh coastal environment and reduce economic losses associated with coastal natural disasters. The primary audience for Volume II is the design professional who is familiar with building codes and standards and; has a basic understanding of engineering principles.

FEMA P-55, Coastal Construction Manual: Principles and Practices of Planning, Siting, Designing, Constructing, and Maintaining Residential Buildings in Coastal Areas, 4th Edition Volume II

The 2011 CCM, 4th Ed. (FEMA P-55), is a 2-volume publication that provides a comprehensive approach to planning, siting, designing, constructing, and maintaining homes in the coastal environment. Volume I provides information about hazard identification, siting decisions, regulatory requirements, economic implications, and risk management. The primary audience for Volume I is design professionals, officials, and those involved in the decision-making process. Volume II contains in-depth descriptions of design, construction, and maintenance practices that, when followed, will increase the durability of residential buildings in the harsh coastal environment and reduce economic losses associated with coastal natural disasters. The primary audience for Volume II is the design professional who is familiar with building codes and standards and; has a basic understanding of engineering principles.

FEMA P-347, Above the Flood: Elevating Your Floodprone House

This publication shows how floodprone houses in south Florida were elevated above the 100-year flood level following Hurricane Andrew. Alternative elevation techniques are also demonstrated.

FEMA P-312, Homeowner's Guide to Retrofitting 3rd Edition

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has prepared this guide specifically for homeowners who want to know how to protect their homes from flooding. As a homeowner, you need clear information about the options available to you and straightforward guidance that will help you make decisions. This guide gives you both, in a form designed for readers who have little or no experience with flood protection methods or building construction techniques.

FEMA P-259, Engineering Principles and Practices of Retrofitting Floodprone Residential Structures, Third Edition

The third edition of this document is intended to further aid homeowners in selecting and successfully executing a flood retrofit on their home. Engineering design and economic guidance on what constitutes feasible and cost-effective retrofitting measures for flood-prone residential and non-residential structures are presented. Elevation, relocation, dry floodproofing, wet floodproofing, and the use of levees and floodwalls to mitigate flood hazards are discussed. This edition was updated to be more user-friendly and concise, the overall length of the publication has been shortened.

FEMA P-55, Calculator (Excel Spreadsheet)

FEMA P-55, Calculator (PDF for Viewing Only)

FEMA P-55, Coastal Construction Manual Resources Combined

Last updated October 14, 2020