Building Science Resource Library

The Building Science Resource Library contains all of FEMA’s hazard-specific guidance that focuses on creating hazard-resistant communities.

You can search for a document by its title, or filter the collection to browse by:

  • Topic: High winds, flood, earthquake, etc.
  • Document Type: Brochure, report, fact sheet, infographic, etc.
  • Audience: Building professionals & engineers, individuals & homeowners, teachers & kids, etc.
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Federal Role in State and Local Building Codes and Standards

FEMA aims to reduce the risk from natural hazards, and natural hazard-resistant building codes and standards are crucial to meeting this goal.

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Frequently Asked Questions for Homeowners

These frequently asked questions address common concerns of homeowners and occupants related to building codes and available tools.

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Checklist to Ask Your General Contractor

This document helps homeowners with hiring credible contractors who will construct using the codes and standards enforced in the home’s area.

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Building Codes Basics

Building codes and standards are crucial to protecting homes in the event of a natural hazard. There have been numerous examples of homes or communities that were designed and built to the latest building codes that have not only survived a significant natural disaster but were able to continue their intended function, helping their community quickly recover and remain resilient. Some of these examples are detailed here.

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Frequently Asked Questions for Renters

These frequently asked questions address common concerns of people who rent residential buildings related to building codes, the process, and available tools.

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Checklist to Acquire a Building Permit

This document equips and helps homeowners understand the general process for acquiring a building permit before starting any new construction, addition, repair, renovation, rebuilding, or mitigation work. It should not be used as a substitute for checking with your local building department or for understanding the building codes and regulations in your community.

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Basic Project Planning Template

This document equips property owners with a template that they can use to understand the basic planning elements of a construction project. It includes items that local building departments and design professionals usually require.

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Building Codes Toolkit for Homeowners and Occupants

The FEMA Building Codes Toolkit offers basic guidance and tools to help homeowners and occupants learn about building codes and how they can make a home more resilient against natural hazards.

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FEMA P-2192-4 2020 NEHRP Recommended Seismic Provisions: Seismic Design Category Maps for 2024 International Residential Code (IRC) and International Building Code (IBC)

This document includes the updated seismic design maps that have been adopted into the 2024 editions of the International Residential Code and the International Building Code. Both map sets are based on the 2020 NEHRP Recommended Seismic Provisions for New Buildings and Other Structures and the 2022 ASCE Minimum Design Loads and Associated Criteria for Buildings and Other Structures.

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FEMA P-366, Hazus Estimated Annualized Earthquake Losses for the United States

FEMA P-366 highlights the impacts of both high hazard and high exposure on losses caused by earthquakes. The study is based on loss estimates generated by Hazus, a geographic information system (GIS)-based earthquake loss estimation tool developed by FEMA.