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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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2016 Fall Flooding in Iowas Recovery Advisories (1-5)

Flooding in Iowa in the fall of 2016 extended beyond mapped Special Flood Hazard Areas (SFHA) and exceeded base flood elevations (BFEs) by several feet in some areas, though the flooding was not as widespread as the Midwest Floods of 2008. Lessons learned from those floods were incorporated into mitigation efforts since that time and successfully guided the repair and reconstruction efforts and design of new buildings to reduce susceptibility to future flood damage.

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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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Best Practices for Incorporating Building Science Guidance into Community Risk MAP Implementation

The Building Science Branch provides communities with guidance on reducing flood risk through publications, education, and tools that can be used with the Risk Mapping, Assessment, and Planning (Risk MAP) program to help communities implement hazard-resistant construction. The purpose of this report is to present the best practices for incorporating Building Science flood mitigation information into the Risk MAP program and strategies for informing interested parties of the Building Science resources.

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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 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 347, Above the Flood: Elevating Your Floodprone House

This publication describes how homeowners in Miami-Dade County elevated their damaged slab-on-grade masonry houses following the devastating effects of Hurricane Andrew.

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FEMA 543, Design Guide for Improving Critical Facility Safety from Flooding and High Winds: Providing Protection to People and Buildings

To aid in the reconstruction of the Gulf Coast in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, this manual presents an overview of the principal planning and design considerations for improving the performance of critical facilities during, and in the aftermath of, flooding and high-wind events. It provides design guidance and practical recommendations for protecting critical facilities and their occupants against these natural hazards. The focus is on the design for new construction, but this manual also addresses rehabilitation of existing critical facilities. It presents incremental approaches that can be implemented over time to decrease the vulnerability of buildings, but emphasizes the importance of incorporating the requirements for mitigation against flooding and high winds into the planning and design of critical facilities from the very beginning of the process.

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FEMA 577, Design Guide for Improving Hospital Safety in Earthquakes, Floods, and High Winds: Providing Protection to People and Buildings

The intent of the Design Guide is to provide its audience with state-of-the-art knowledge on the variety of vulnerabilities faced by hospitals exposed to earthquakes, flooding, and high-winds risks, as well as the best ways to mitigate the risk of damage and disruption of hospital operations caused by these events. The information presented in this publication provides an exhaustive review of mitigation measures and design solutions that can improve the safety of hospitals in natural hazard events. However, this publication is not intended to be a comprehensive mitigation design manual that the reader can use to develop actual plans and specifications. It is intended as an introduction to the fundamental principles of natural hazard risk reduction, with an emphasis on mitigation planning and the design of hospital buildings.

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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