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.
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  • Audience: Building professionals & engineers, individuals & homeowners, teachers & kids, etc.
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Mitigation Best Practice, Seismic Retrofit Protects Historic Theater

This story is about the historic Dock Street Theater, located in Charleston, South Caroline, It underwent a major retrofit in 2010 that offers significant protection from both seismic and high wind damages.

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FEMA P-1050-2, NEHRP Provisions Volume II: Part 3 Resource Papers

The 2015 NEHRP Provisions marks the ninth edition of this technical resource document since its first publication in 1985. FEMA is proud to sponsor this cycle of the NEHRP Provisions update, and to publish the new edition for use by national codes and standards organizations and the general public. The 2015 NEHRP Provisions are a new knowledge-based resource document intended to translate research results into engineering design practice. The new changes in the 2015 NEHRP Provisions have incorporated extensive 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. Similar to the previous edition, the 2015 NEHRP Provisions have adopted by reference the American Structural Engineers Association (ASCE) / Structural Engineering Institute (SEI) standard ASCE/SEI 7-10: Minimum Design Loads for New Buildings and Other Structures as the baseline.

Part III contains resource papers covering new concepts and methods for trial use and other supporting materials for design professionals. FEMA P-1050 DVD is available for order from the FEMA Distribution Center, 1-800-480-2520. The DVD includes additional design standard and building code-related resources.

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FEMA P-1050-1, 2015 NEHRP Provisions Volume I: Part 1 Provisions, Part 2 Commentary

The 2015 NEHRP Provisions marks the ninth edition of this technical resource document since its first publication in 1985. FEMA is proud to sponsor this cycle of the NEHRP Provisions update, and to publish the new edition for use by national codes and standards organizations and the general public. The 2015 NEHRP Provisions are a new knowledge-based resource document intended to translate research results into engineering design practice. The new changes in the 2015 NEHRP Provisions have incorporated extensive 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. Similar to the previous edition, the 2015 NEHRP Provisions have adopted by reference the American Structural Engineers Association (ASCE) / Structural Engineering Institute (SEI) standard ASCE/SEI 7-10: Minimum Design Loads for New Buildings and Other Structures as the baseline.

Part I of the 2015 NEHRP Provisions includes recommended new changes and modifications to the adopted ASCE/SEI 7-10. Part II provides a full commentary for Part I, consisting of new commentaries integrated with the ASCE/SEI 7-10 commentary.

FEMA P-1050 DVD is available for order from the FEMA Distribution Center, 1-800-480-2520. The DVD includes additional design standard and building code-related resources.

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FEMA P-1051, 2015 NEHRP Provisions: Design Examples

The 2015 NEHRP Provisions marks the ninth edition of this technical resource document since its first publication in 1985. FEMA is proud to sponsor this cycle of the NEHRP Provisions update and publish the new edition for national codes and standards organizations and the general public. The 2015 NEHRP Provisions are a new knowledge-based resource document intended to translate research results into engineering design practice. The new changes in the 2015 NEHRP Provisions have incorporated extensive 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. Similar to the previous edition, the 2015 NEHRP Provisions have adopted by reference the American Structural Engineers Association (ASCE) / Structural Engineering Institute (SEI) standard ASCE/SEI 7-10: Minimum Design Loads for New Buildings and Other Structures as the baseline.

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Performance of Buildings and Nonstructural Components in the 2014 South Napa Earthquake (FEMA P-1024)

On August 24, 2014, a magnitude-6.0 earthquake occurred in Napa, California. In response to this earthquake, the Special Projects task of the National Earthquake Technical Assistance Program (NETAP) was used to fund an investigation. At the time, this event had not yet been declared a federal disaster, and disaster funds were therefore not available. Because of limitations to this funding, some issues, such as performance of lifelines or building investigations in additional areas, could not be investigated. Past earthquakes in California have resulted in significant improvements to national and local building codes. For the 2014 South Napa earthquake, work was focused on documenting the observed performance of buildings and nonstructural components in order to lead into future improvements in future building codes, and to do so within six months.

The goal of the project was to assess and document the performance of a population of buildings impacted by the earthquake and develop a series of recommendations to further improve mitigation.

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FEMA P-155, Rapid Visual Screening of Buildings for Potential Seismic Hazards: Supporting Documentation

The Rapid Visual Screening (RVS) handbook can be used by trained personnel to identify, inventory, and screen buildings that are potentially seismically vulnerable. The RVS procedure comprises a method and several forms that help users to quickly identify, inventory, and score buildings according to their risk of collapse if hit by major earthquakes. The RVS handbook describes how to identify the structural type and key weakness characteristics, how to complete the screening forms, and how to manage a successful RVS program.

The third edition of the Supporting Documentation (FEMA P-155) describes the technical background and process used to update the Handbook and the revisions considered and conclusions reached. Extensive detail is also provided in FEMA P-155 on the third edition scoring and associated risk.

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FEMA 154, Rapid Visual Screening of Buildings for Potential Seismic Hazards: A Handbook (Third Edition)

The Rapid Visual Screening (RVS) handbook can be used by trained personnel to identify, inventory, and screen buildings that are potentially seismically vulnerable. The RVS procedure comprises a method and several forms that help users to quickly identify, inventory, and score buildings according to their risk of collapse if hit by major earthquakes. The RVS handbook describes how to identify the structural type and key weakness characteristics, how to complete the screening forms, and how to manage a successful RVS program.

The third edition of the Handbook (FEMA P-154) includes extensive updates, including improvements in the methodology, the screening forms, and the underlying scoring; the addition of a more detailed professional screening option (level 2 screening); new quick reference guides with extensive figures illustrating important building characteristics; an electronic scoring option; and guidance on how to administer an effective screening program. The FEMA P-154 CD contains PowerPoint slides with instructor notes; the RVS Student Manual (FEMA 154SM); data collection forms; and PDF and text file versions of FEMA P-154 (both FEMA P-154 and FEMA P-155 include the FEMA P-154 CD).

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Repair of Earthquake-Damaged Masonry Fireplace Chimneys (FEMA P-1024-RA1)

On August 24, 2014, a magnitude-6.0 earthquake occurred in Napa, California. In response to this earthquake, the Special Projects task of the National Earthquake Technical Assistance Program (NETAP) was used to fund an investigation. At the time, this event had not yet been declared a federal disaster, and disaster funds were therefore not available. Because of limitations to this funding, some issues, such as performance of lifelines or building investigations in additional areas, could not be investigated. Past earthquakes in California have resulted in significant improvements to national and local building codes. For the 2014 South Napa earthquake, work was focused on documenting the observed performance of buildings and nonstructural components in order to lead into future improvements in future building codes, and to do so within six months.

Recovery Advisory 1 (RA1) is Appendix A of the FEMA P-1024 report. RA1 recommends best practices for reconstruction of earthquake‐damaged masonry chimneys in one‐and two‐family dwellings to minimize risk of damage in future earthquakes.

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FEMA V-528, Earthquake Home Hazard Hunt Poster

This poster provides visuals and descriptions so that homeowners can identify and fix at-risk areas of their homes to reduce future earthquake damage and disruption.

Recommendations for reducing earthquake hazards in your home.

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FEMA P-1019, Emergency Power Systems for Critical Facilities: A Best Practices Approach to Improving Reliability

There is a significant likelihood that utility power will not be available for an extended period of time during severe natural hazard events. Thus, it is necessary for critical facilities to have reliable sources of sustained electrical power to achieve continued operation. This document provides guidance on the design and operation of emergency power systems in critical facilities so that they will be able to remain operational for extended periods, as needed.