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.

Link to Flood Building Codes

Link to NFIP Technical Bulletins

Building Community Resilience with Natural Hazard Code Adoption and Enforcement

August 2022

In November 2020, FEMA’s landmark study, Building Codes Save: A Nationwide Study, and its accompanying brochure, Protecting Communities and Saving Money, made the case for why communities should proactively adopt and enforce natural hazard-resistant building codes. The results spoke for themselves: an estimated reduction in property losses of $132 billion–based on forecasted consistent growth associated with using modern building codes from 2000-2040–nationwide.

As June 1 marked the start of hurricane season, officials from the White House, FEMA, state and local government and private sector entities announced the National Initiative to Advance Building Codes at Florida International University. Within this initiative, federal departments and agencies will review federal funding and financing of building construction to ensure projects follow updated model codes. The initiative will also provide incentives and support for communities to adopt modern building codes. FEMA’s Building Codes Strategy was announced in April at the National Hurricane Conference.

To help with these efforts, FEMA published the Building Codes Adoption Playbook for Authorities Having Jurisdiction. The Playbook is intended for officials interested in increasing community resilience and reducing loss from natural hazards by adopting the latest editions of model building codes.

The Playbook equips officials with background and language to help educate decision-makers and constituents on the benefits of adopting and enforcing the latest building code editions. In addition, the publication provides general steps to help navigate the code adoption process and informs about FEMA grants available to support building code adoption and enforcement activities.

A Step Forward, recommendations for Improving Seismic Code Development, Content, and Education

April 2022 

FEMA P-2191, A Step Forward, recommendations for Improving Seismic Code Development, Content, and Education  summarizes recommendations to improve seismic code and standard development, content and education.

FEMA P-2191 identifies how improved content, usability and better distribution of updates would improve the public’s understanding of seismic codes.  It also suggests seismic code and standard education to practicing engineers and building officials.

Seismic codes and standards provide necessary regulations for building design and construction to meet the required level of seismic performance.  However, there are many areas where seismic codes and standards can be improved.  This report helps to capture the opinions and recommendations of seismic code and standard developers, users and other stakeholders.

Link to Download.

EPA Tool Provides the Public with Customized Updates on Local Enforcement and Compliance Activities

March 22, 2022

EPA announced the release of a new web tool, called “ECHO Notify,” that empowers members of the public to stay informed about important environmental enforcement and compliance activities in their communities.  Through ECHO Notify, users can sign up to receive weekly emails when new information is available within the selected geographic area, such as when a violation or enforcement action has taken place at a nearby facility. 

ECHO Notify provides information on all EPA enforcement and compliance activities as well as activities of state and local governments under the Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act, Resource Conservation and Recovery Act, and the Safe Drinking Water Act.  

Increased transparency leads to stronger deterrence of environmental violations.  As more people play an active role in protecting their neighborhoods from pollution, EPA has developed ECHO Notify so that finding updates on environmental enforcement and compliance activities is as easy as checking your email.

Link to EPA’s website ECHO Notify,. On the homepage, you can: 

  • Select a geographic area and/or facility ID(s)
  • Choose the type of compliance and enforcement information of interest

EPA has prepared a short video that provides an overview of ECHO Notify and explains how to use it.  Link to the video, ECHO Tutorial: Intro to ECHO NotifyEXITEXIT EPA WEBSITE.

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

March 25, 2022

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.

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

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

This 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 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.