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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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Building Codes Toolkit

Developed by the FEMA Federal Insurance & Mitigation Administration (FIMA), Risk Reduction Division, Building Science Branch, this Building Codes Toolkit provides basic guidance and easy-to-use tools to help property owners understand building codes and the basic processes and standards associated with proper design, permitting, construction, and mitigation.

Building codes specify the minimum design and construction requirements to safeguard the health, safety, and welfare of both building occupants and the general public. Historically, details of the building codes, how they are implemented, and its value to overall community planning and disaster resilience have only been understood by the technical community (i.e., engineers, architects, building codes officials, etc.). FEMA recognizes that it is also equally important for the property owners to learn building codes and how their investment to proper construction ultimately protects their property and their occupants.

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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 439B, Blast-Resistant Benefits of Seismic Design, Phase 2 Study: Performance Analysis of Structural Steel Strengthening Systems

This is one in a series of publications that were developed in response to September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on the New York World Trade Center and the subsequent events that led to the formation of DHS and an increased emphasis on preparedness and mitigation of terrorism-related hazards. One issue that FEMA began shortly after that was to examine whether lessons learned in response to natural hazards could be effectively applied to protect building occupants from human threats. Important similarities between seismic and blast loadings lend themselves to such examination.

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FEMA P-737, Home Builder's Guide to Construction in Wildfire Zones

The purpose of these Technical Fact Sheets is to provide information about wildfire behavior and recommendations for building design and construction methods in the wildland/urban interface. Implementation of the recommended design and construction methods can greatly increase the chances of a building’s survival in a wildfire.

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FEMA P-754, Wildfire Hazard Mitigation Handbook for Public Facilities

This Handbook is intended for use by State, local, tribal, and private, non-profit Applicants for assistance, FEMA and State PA Group Supervisors, and FEMA and State PA Program Project Specialists. The Handbook can be used to identify potentially feasible mitigation measures that can be implemented during the repair and rebuilding of damaged facilities after a disaster.

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FEMA P-957, Snow Load Safety Guide

The objective of the Risk Management Series Snow Load Safety Guide is to inform building stakeholders about the risks a snow event poses to their buildings, provide them with information about preventative measures to take before the snow season and inform them of actions that should be taken before, during, and after a snow event. This document is not intended to provide a comprehensive discussion of the underlying issues or forensics of snow-induced structural failure. The purpose is instead to: 1. Inform building stakeholders of susceptible snow loading conditions 2. Identify potentially vulnerable roof framing systems 3. Outline a general methodology to monitor buildings for signs of potential failure so that steps can be taken to reduce the potential risk of snow-load-induced structural failure

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FEMA Roof Snowdrift Design Guide

Following a series of heavy snow and wind events in February of 2015, a FEMA team assessed four partial school building collapses in the Greater Boston area. In all four cases, the partial collapses were due to roof snowdrift loading. In two of the four cases, the FEMA team observed and documented 3-D drifts that cannot be determined when following the current ASCE 7 minimum load requirements.

This new design guide provides guidance, in the form of three design examples, for three-dimensional (3-D) roof snowdrifts. The procedures identified are consistent with the intersecting drift provisions expected in the 2022 edition of ASCE 7 and are intended to serve as best practice guidance for design professionals in the interim.

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FEMA Snow Load Safety Guidance Flyer

This flyer summarizes warning signs of overstress conditions during a snow event, key safety issues and risks a snow event poses to buildings, and what to do after a snow event.

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Provisions of the 2009 I-Codes and ASCE 24 Compared to the NFIP

This table is a comparison of the provisions of the 2009 I-Codes/ASCE 24-05 and the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) requirements.

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Rebuilding After a Wildfire Fact Sheet

Returning to your fire-damaged home will undoubtedly be an emotional experience. But as you go about the task of rebuilding, there are many ways to rebuild safer, stronger, smarter and more resilient to wildfires. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has teamed with Firewise Communities, the Federal Alliance for Safe Housing, and the Institute for Business and Home Safety to provide this resource for rebuilding after a fire.

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Snow Study Summary Report: Observations of Snow Load Effects on Four School Buildings in New England

The conclusions and recommendations of this report are intended to provide decision-makers and design professionals with information and technical guidance that can be used to reduce future damage from snow loads.

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Timeline of FEMA Policies and Regulations Related to Building Codes and Standards