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Building Science Resource Library

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

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

  • Disaster Type: 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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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.

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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.

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Announcing Version 3.0 of the Substantial Damage Estimator (SDE) Tool Flyer

The Substantial Damage Estimator (SDE) Tool was: Developed to assist State and local officials in determining substantial damage in accordance with a local floodplain management ordinance meeting the requirements of the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), Can be used to assess flood, wind, wildfire, seismic, and other forms of damage, Helps communities to provide timely substantial damage determinations so that reconstruction can begin following a disaster.

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Building Codes Save: Factsheet

A three-page factsheet about the Building Codes Save model and data.

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Building Codes Save: Nationwide Losses Prevention Infographic

Outlines the background and process of the study.

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Building Science and Risk MAP Fact Sheets

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.

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Building Science Branch - Flood & Wind Mitigation Accomplishments in Fiscal Year 2010 & the First Quarter of Fiscal Year 2011

The Building Science Branch develops mitigation guidance that focuses on creating disaster-resilient communities. Our research-based guidance promotes best practices designed to create safer communities and reduce the loss of life and property. The Building Science Branch of the FEMA Federal Insurance and Mitigation Administration (FIMA) Risk Reduction Division works with industry groups, consulting experts, and State and local communities to provide state-ofthe- art technical hazard mitigation solutions for buildings. This annual report provides highlights of accomplishments related specifically to flood and wind mitigation, including publications, conference participation, and training and outreach efforts. These accomplishments demonstrate how FEMA and its partners are reducing disaster loss throughout the country. The accomplishments detailed in this report include those completed in fiscal year (FY) 2010 and the first quarter (Q1) of FY 2011.

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Building Science Branch Brochures

Every year, natural disasters and man-made hazard events cause fatalities and injuries and cost billions of dollars in property damage throughout the United States. The FEMA Building Science Branch (BSB) studies these hazards and provides technical services within FEMA, to the rest of the federal government, and to our private sector partners. With a focus on earthquake, wind, flood, and other natural and man-made hazards, BSB takes a lead role in developing state-of-the-art publications, guidance materials, tools, training, technical bulletins, and recovery advisories that incorporate the most up-to-date building codes, flood damage-resistant requirements, seismic design guidelines, and wind design requirements for new and existing buildings. To help create disaster-resilient communities, key BSB activities include deploying Mitigation Assessment Teams to conduct post-disaster engineering investigations for a wide range of hazard events. BSB is also one of four agencies that make up the National Earthquake Hazards Reduction Program (NEHRP).

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Code Compatibility Report Appendices C - F

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.

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Examples of State and Local Erosion Studies and Hazard Maps

The document provides a historical perspective on state and community efforts to conduct erosion studies and develop hazard zone maps. It provides the designer with two things: 1) a description of 31 coastal erosion reports, databases, and references covering all or portions of the U.S. coastline, and 2) a description of 27 coastal hazard zone delineations previously completed by local and state agencies.

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FEMA 116, Reducing Losses in High Risk Flood Hazard Areas - A Guidebook for Local Officials

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

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FEMA 257, Mitigation of Flood and Erosion Damage to Residential Buildings in Coastal Areas

This publication documents the broad range of non-structural mitigation activities undertaken nationwide in communities exposed to coastal flooding and erosion.

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FEMA 296, Code Compatibility Report

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.

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FEMA 297, Code Compatibility Report Appendices A and B

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.

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FEMA 331, Protecting Business Operations - 2nd Report on Costs and Benefits of Natural Hazard Mitigation

Floodwaters can submerge critical equipment, hurricane-force winds can rip sections of roofing off production facilities, and earthquakes can bring down suspended ceilings in office facilities.

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FEMA L-235, Homeowner's Guide to Retrofitting

This brochure presents a brief overview of the information in FEMA P-312, Homeowner's Guide to Retrofitting using photographs and illustrations

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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.

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FEMA P-2055, Post-disaster Building Safety Evaluation Guidance

This report is on the current state of practice for post-disaster building safety evaluation, including recommendations related to structural and nonstructural safety and habitability. FEMA P-2055 summarizes and references best practice guideline documents or provides interim recommendations for issues without best practice guidance. It also identifies recommended improvements and needs, including a primer for state, local, tribal, and territorial governments that have the authority to set standards or policy related to the implementation of post-disaster evaluations, to protect the design professionals who volunteer as evaluators, and legislation to create the authority to evaluate and post buildings, deputize evaluators, and restrict occupancy.

The following incident types are covered in the Guide: earthquakes; hurricanes; floods; tornadoes; tsunamis; landslides and other land instabilities; volcanoes; snow, hail, and ice storms; fire; and explosions. The Guide can be a reference for any post-incident evaluation process and is not limited by the scale or official declaration of a disaster.

This Guide was developed as required by the Disaster Recovery Reform Act of 2018, Section 1241: Post-disaster Building Safety Assessment. For more information please see: https://www.fema.gov/disaster-recovery-reform-act-2018

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FEMA P-348, Protect Your Property from Flooding: 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.

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FEMA P-348, Protect Your Property from Flooding: 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.