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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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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.

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FEMA 338, Building Performance Assessment Team (BPAT) Report - Hurricane Georges in the Gulf Coast

This report presents FEMA's Building Performance Assessment Team's (BPAT) observations on the success and failure of buildings in the Florida Keys and Gulf Coast areas of the United States to withstand the wind and flood forces generated by Hurricane Georges. Recommendations to improve the building performance in future natural disasters in this area are included as well.

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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 490, Mitigation Assessment Team Report: Summary Report on Building Performance 2004 Hurricane Season

The purpose of this document is to summarize the observations, conclusions, and recommendations that were obtained during post-disaster assessments sponsored by the FEMA Mitigation Division in response to Florida 2004 hurricane season. More than ten rapid response teams and two Mitigation Assessment Teams (MATs) were deployed to document observations and provide recommendations. The rapid response data collection teams focused on coastal high water marks, inland wind effects, residential and commercial building performance, critical and essential facility performance, and mitigation program effectiveness. The MATs assessed damage to the built environment and relied on the perishable data, such as high water marks, collected by the rapid response teams to quantify flood and wind effects of the hurricanes.

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FEMA 548, Summary Report on Building Performance: Hurricane Katrina 2005

In the weeks following Hurricane Katrina, a Mitigation Assessment Team (MAT) was deployed to the affected Gulf Coast areas to assess the performance of buildings. Based on the observed damage, the MAT also evaluated the adequacy of current building codes and provided suggestions to update the codes.

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FEMA 549, Hurricane Katrina in the Gulf Coast: Mitigation Assessment Team Report, Building Performance Observations, Recommendations, and Technical Guidance

In response to Hurricane Katrina, FEMA deployed a Mitigation Assessment Team (MAT) to evaluate and assess damage from the hurricane and provide observations, conclusions, and recommendations on the performance of buildings and other structures impacted by wind and flood forces. The conclusions and recommendations of the report provide decision-makers with information and technical guidance that can be used to reduce future hurricane damage.

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FEMA 551, Selecting Appropriate Mitigation Measures for Floodprone Structures

This manual is intended to provide guidance to community officials for developing mitigation projects that reduce or eliminate identified risks for floodprone structures.

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FEMA Building Science Resources to Assist with Reconstruction After a Hurricane | Spanish

Después de desastres de gran magnitud, los Equipos de Evaluación de Mitigación (MAT, por sus siglas en inglés) de FEMA a menudo realizan investigaciones forenses del desempeño de edificios y publican los resultados en distintas publicaciones

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FEMA Building Science Training and Workshops for Hurricanes

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Building Science Branch has developed numerous training courses and workshops to provide information to communities and homeowners on how to build stronger and minimize damage from natural disasters. A few FEMA training courses and workshops may be useful as communities begin to rebuild after a hurricane. Most of these courses use a published manual as their basis. For more information or to inquire about one of these training sessions, please contact us at FEMA-BuildingScienceHelp@fema.dhs.gov or 866-927-2104. The published manuals can be obtained from http://www.fema.gov/building-science.

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FEMA L-780, Building Science for Disaster-Resistant Communities: Wind Hazard Publications

This brochure provides readers with a quick summary of publications that will help them prepare for and mitigate against wind 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 FIMA'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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FEMA P-1000, Safer, Stronger, Smarter: A Guide to Improving School Natural Hazard Safety

This Guide provides up-to-date, authoritative information and guidance that schools can use to develop a comprehensive strategy for addressing natural hazards. It is intended to be used by administrators, facilities managers, emergency managers, emergency planning committees, and teachers and staff at K through 12 schools. It can also be valuable for state officials, district administrators, school boards, teacher union leaders, and others that play a role in providing safe and disaster-resistant schools for all. Parents, caregivers, and students can also use this Guide to learn about ways to advocate for safe schools in their communities.