Building Codes Save: FEMA’s Nationwide Building Code Losses Avoided Study Panel

Adoption and enforcement of modern, hazard-resistant building codes and standards helps to reduce the costs of natural disasters and make communities more resilient. But not all communities adopt them.

This presentation presents results of “Building Codes Save: A Nationwide Losses Avoided Study” that models billions of dollars in reduced disaster losses from modern codes to incentivize code adoption. It focuses on development of an innovative nationwide database of buildings, applying FEMA’s Hazus software to compute modern code performance relative to pre-modern code performance in terms of risk of losses due to flood, hurricane and seismic hazards.

The study quantifies the performance benefits, in terms of direct physical and economic losses avoided, from state and local adoption of modern hazard-resistant building codes and standards. The nationwide parcel-level dataset applies key hazard-resistant building-specific characteristics and includes hazard exposure using code maps and provisions, applied according to local building code adoption history. Modeling this data produces local-level changes in Average Annualized Losses (Losses Avoided) for hazard-prone communities across the country who adopted the 2000 I-Codes and later editions resulting in over 18M new buildings during the past two decades and poised to expand with greater resilience during the next.

  • ICC CEU:
    .10 CEU
01:00 PM - 01:50 PM
27 September 2021


Jonathan Westcott
Civil Engineer, FEMA
Dr. Shane Parson
Natural Hazard and Climate Change Modeling Analyst, AECOM