Building Code Resources

Catalog of FEMA Building Science Resources

6th Edition – FEMA P-787 

January 2022

FEMA’s Building Science and Earthquake and Wind Programs Branches have compiled this catalog of available FEMA publications for natural hazards.  The publication descriptions are first organized by primary hazard – earthquake, food, high wind, hurricane, multi-hazard, other hazards, Mitigation Assessment Team (MAT) program, and building codes resources – and then by stakeholder groups – individuals and homeowners, teachers and kids, private sector and small business, community planning and policy, building professionals and engineers (contractors, builders, engineers, and architects), and private sector and small business – and are further arranged by subject areas and ordered alphabetically.

Link to download  P-787 Catalog of FEMA Building Science Resources

Building Science Resource Library

The Building Science Resource Library contains all of FEMA’s hazard-specific guidance that focuses on creating hazard-resistant communities.

Link to FEMA’s Building Science Library.

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

October 2021

FEMA’s Building Science Branch has released a Timeline of FEMA Policies and Regulations Related to Building Codes and Standards. The timeline shows the history of FEMA’s participation in the building code and standards development process.

One highlight of the timeline is the upcoming FEMA Building Code Strategy.  The strategy will act as the blueprint to advance the agency’s building code efforts to help people before, during and after disasters. 

The timeline highlights key building code regulations and events.  Each event is designated a color which indicates whether that event was a federal law/mandate, a FEMA action or a building code action.  The timeline also includes details about each calendar entry.

The timeline’s audience includes the general public, officials and community planners.  Hazard-resistant building codes are a low-cost, high-impact solution that will be central to breaking the cycle of disaster damage and reconstruction.

To see all the historical and notable dates in addition to downloading the timeline of FEMA Policies and Regulations Related to Building Codes and Standards click here.

FEMA Releases the Building Codes Toolkit for Building Owners and Occupants

July 2021

FEMA’s Building Science Branch is proud to announce the release of the updated Building Codes Toolkit is intended to provide building owners and occupants with knowledge that will allow them to better understand the importance of building codes, as well as how to go about incorporating building codes into their own building or structure.

The toolkit includes new materials as well as updates to many sections from the 2014 edition.  They are:

  • Building Codes 101
  • History of Building Codes
  • Checklist to Acquire a Building Permit
  • Checklist to Ask Your General Contractor
  • Role of the Insurance Industry
  • Frequently Asked Questions
  • Resources

The toolkit can be read as one publication or can be read as separate documents to give readers information specific to their needs.  Step-by-step guidance and background information about building codes are provided to help readers make informed decisions.

Readers will learn the importance of building codes and how to use them in building designs.  It includes checklists and a notes section so users can track their learning progress.

This toolkit is meant to encourage more people to adopt and support building codes and standards.  Areas that adopt building codes become safer and stronger against natural hazards, resulting in less damage, lower costs and fewer deaths and injuries caused by the disaster.  The FEMA Building Codes Toolkit can help building owners and occupants become one step closer to living in an area that is safer and stronger against natural hazards.

For additional information on building codes, visit the FEMA Building Science Branch website.

FEMA’s New Disaster Recovery Grant Policy for Code Enforcement and Administration

FEMA implemented a new disaster recovery grant policy under the Public Assistance program, “Building Code and Floodplain Management Administration and Enforcement.” 

This new policy offers building officials and communities an effective way to access resources needed to effectively administer and enforce building codes and floodplain management ordinances for up to 180 days following a major disaster declaration. The goals of the new policy are to increase the overall speed of recovery and enhance compliance with state and local building codes and floodplain management ordinances.

The policy was established by Section 1206 of the Disaster Recovery Reform Act, which made several important policy and regulatory changes to the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act.

Policy and Building Code Decision Tree – Navigating Building Damage within the Public Assistance Grant Program

March 29, 2021

The new FEMA Policy and Building Code Decision Tree: Navigating Building Damage within the Public Assistance Grant Program guides FEMA staff, FEMA Public Assistance (PA) grant applicants, or their representatives, hazard mitigation officers, and others through the process of making determinations and decisions related to substantial structural and substantial damage.

As “substantial structural damage” and “substantial damage” are two conditions that require a building to improve beyond its pre-damage state, FEMA Public Assistance (PA) policy allows improvement of a damaged building through replacement when the cost of repair would exceed 50% of the replacement cost.

This document has been developed to guide FEMA staff, PA grant applicants or their representatives through the process of making these determinations and decisions.

Download the decision tree.