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Building Science

Building Science is a central focus for FEMA. It involves the study of how natural hazards effect structures, while FEMA employs leading industry professionals in architecture, engineering, and seismology to bring solutions to these challenges our county’s infrastructure faces.

Though research and data, it is proven that disaster-resistant building codes save lives and help protect your investment. The Natural Hazard Mitigation Saves: 2018 Interim Report demonstrated that designing buildings to meet the 2018 International Residential Code and 2018 International Building Code led to a national benefit of $11 saved for every $1 invested in comparison to older generations of code.

Building and construction success stories that result after disasters often start when a community has properly enforced building codes and standards. For homeowners, building professionals, or elected officials, it is important to realize that building codes are a minimum standard and that it is essential to build above the baseline. Ensuring that your building is up-to-code or beyond your area's adopted standard before a disaster strikes is one of the most important steps you can take to mitigate the damage caused by natural hazards.

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What You Can Do to Stay Resilient

To aid you, FEMA works with a diverse group of stakeholders to produce multi-hazard mitigation guidance that focuses on creating disaster-resilient communities to reduce loss of life and property.

Whether you are a homeowner, emergency manager, building code official, or policy maker, our free guidance will provide value to you by creating safer communities and reducing loss of life and property.

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Building Codes Save

FEMA’s landmark study, Building Codes Save: A Nationwide Study, shows that modern building codes lead to major reduction in property losses from natural disasters. Over a 20-year period, cities and counties with modern building codes would avoid at least $32 billion in losses, when compared to jurisdictions without modern building codes.

Building Code Adoption Tracking

FEMA tracks current building code adoption status for state, local, tribal and territorial governments, reaching approximately 22,000 jurisdictions across the nation. 

Find fact sheets, a WebGIS map, statistics and more about Building Code Adoption Tracking (BCAT).

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Publications

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Building Science Resource Library

Browse the Building Science Resource Library to easily access all of FEMA’s hazard-specific guidance that focuses on creating disaster-resistance communities in the convenience of one place.

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Building Code Documents

Reference our building code documents, which provide guidance on the hazard-resistant provisions in the building codes for property owners, engineers, design professionals, building codes officials, and the general public.

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