Benefit-Cost Analysis (BCA) is a method that determines the future risk reduction benefits of a hazard mitigation project and compares those benefits to its costs. The result is a Benefit-Cost Ratio (BCR). A project is considered cost-effective when the BCR is 1.0 or greater. Applicants and subapplicants must use FEMA-approved methodologies and tools—such as the BCA Toolkit—to demonstrate the cost-effectiveness of their projects.
News and Announcements
FEMA has established a pre-calculated benefit for certain hospital generator projects. The pre-calculated benefits for a hospital generator project are $6.95 per hospital building gross square footage (BGSF) in urban areas, including most suburban areas, and $12.62 per hospital BGSF in rural areas. For more information, including how to determine if a hospital is in an urban or rural area, see the hospital generator pre-calculated benefits memorandum.
FEMA has updated the acquisition and elevation pre-calculated benefit values, which were originally established in 2013. The new inflation-adjusted values are $323,000 for acquisitions and $205,000 for elevations. For more information, see the updated memorandum.
Benefit-Cost Analysis Toolkit
Due to Microsoft updates, users with older versions of Microsoft Windows and Excel (2013 and 2016) may experience functionality issues with the BCA Toolkit. If you are using an older version of Windows or Excel, FEMA recommends using the BCA Toolkit in Excel Online.
To help complete an analysis within the required guidelines, you must use the BCA Toolkit, which is a calculator developed using FEMA-approved methodologies and tools to show the cost-effectiveness of your projects. Do your BCA early in the project development process to make sure you will meet the cost-effectiveness eligibility requirement.
BCA Toolkit Privacy Statement
FEMA does not see, collect, or store any data you enter into the FEMA BCA Toolkit unless the file is submitted as part of a Hazard Mitigation Assistance (HMA) or Public Assistance (PA) project application. Any and all information you enter into the BCA Toolkit is stored in the Microsoft Excel file on your machine or server and not on FEMA’s website or server.
The BCA Toolkit uses a Leaflet Application Programming Interface (API) for property address lookup and standardization. The Leaflet API may use your IP address for geolocation purposes, but does not collect any personal information. FEMA does not endorse any non-federal government entities or products.
To streamline the grant application process, FEMA has released pre-calculated analyses for several eligible projects.
- Acquisitions and Elevations in the Special Flood Hazard Area (SFHA)
- Residential Hurricane Wind Retrofits
- Non-Residential Hurricane Wind Retrofits
- Individual Tornado Safe Rooms
- Hazard Mitigation Grant Program Post Wildfire
- Hospital Generators
The pre-calculated benefits and benchmark costs are not intended to drive actual project costs or to serve as detailed project cost estimates. Individual project cost estimates must be based on industry standards, vendor estimates or other acceptable sources. Projects must still meet all other grant requirements.
Get Support Conducting a Benefit-Cost Analysis
The BCA Reference Guide is the primary guide to conducting a Benefit-Cost Analysis. It gives an overview of:
- Benefits and costs
- How to use the software to get a Benefit-Cost Ratio for a single project or multiple projects
- Information about pre-calculated benefits
FEMA provides both classroom and online independent study courses for FEMA, state, local, territorial, and tribal staff to learn BCA fundamentals.
To see upcoming offerings and register for the classroom BCA course (E0276), visit the FEMA training website and search the course catalog for “Benefit-Cost Analysis.” You can also download the training materials used in the classroom course.
FEMA’s BCA Helpline is available to provide assistance using the BCA Toolkit, including with troubleshooting technical issues. The BCA Helpline cannot review or perform benefit-cost analysis. For help reviewing or performing BCA, or to ask eligibility or policy questions, please contact your local state hazard mitigation officer.
The BCA Helpline’s hours are 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. (EST), Monday through Friday. Email questions to firstname.lastname@example.org or call toll free at 1-855-540-6744.