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

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.

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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 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.

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Building Science Support and Code Changes Aiding Sandy Recovery Fact Sheet No. 3

In 2012, Hurricane Sandy made landfall, devastating New Jersey and New York with tens of billions of dollars in damages. Since then, recovery activities have focused on increasing resilience of buildings and the lifeline infrastructure. Significant progress on this front, described in this fact sheet, includes:

- Deployment of the Hurricane Sandy Mitigation Assessment Team (MAT) to assess damage and make recommendations
- Updated building codes at the local, State, and national levels
- Recovery projects across New Jersey, New York, and New York City to restore critical facilities and infrastructure
- Developing a culture of resilient recovery in building mitigation and risk reduction actions

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Cleaning Flooded Buildings Fact Sheet, Hurricane Sandy Fact Sheet No. 1

This Fact Sheet was developed to help building owners, operators, contractors, and volunteer assistance groups deal with the challenges of working in structures that were not fully cleaned and dried shortly after the flooding. Remember that when first returning to a flood-damaged building, responders should follow the initial precautions and restoration steps detailed in the FEMA Recovery Advisory, The ABC’s of Returning to Flooded Buildings (Appendix E of FEMA 549, 2005).

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Conference Papers: Advances in Hurricane Engineering Conference

The conference papers are the final, peer-reviewed drafts of two papers submitted to the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) Structural Engineering Institute (SEI) Conference on Advances in Hurricane Engineering 2012. The drafts may differ slightly from the published papers due to copyediting or other ASCE production activities. This material may be downloaded for personal use only. Any other use requires prior permission of the American Society of Civil Engineers.

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FEMA 281, Mitigation Assessment Team Report: Hurricane Opal in Florida

Hurricane Opal made landfall on October 4, 1995, as a Category 3 storm. Fifteen counties in the Florida Panhandle were declared Federal disaster areas. Field inspections were concentrated along a 200-mile stretch of Florida's Gulf of Mexico shoreline. Most of the structural damage associated with the storm was caused by coastal flood forces: storm surge, wind-generated waves, storm-induced erosion, and floodborne debris. The types of structural damage included slab foundations, pile and pier foundations, and framing systems. Recommendations for reconstruction include the application of v-zone construction requirements; construction materials should meet or exceed the minimum requirements for building materials in the Standard Building Code; slab and grade beams designed as freestanding structural elements; and pile, post, column, and pier foundations designed to accommodate all design flood, wind, and other loads simultaneously.

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FEMA 290, Mitigation Assessment Team Report: Hurricane Fran in North Carolina

On September 5, 1996, Hurricane Fran made landfall near Cape Fear, North Carolina. Coastal areas experienced significant erosion and scour. Erosion caused by Hurricane Fran was exacerbated by the previous dune erosion caused by Hurricane Bertha, which made landfall in the same area only two months earlier. The MAT observed very little damage in some areas, where velocity flows, wave action, and severe erosion occurred. The successful performance of buildings in these areas demonstrates the value of compliance with the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) requirements.

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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.