New Study Looks at Mitigation Savings


According to a recent report from the National Institute of Building Sciences, every federal grant dollar spent on disaster resiliency and mitigation can save the United States $6. On top of that, the study found that every dollar spent on building to higher standards than the 2015 building codes could save $4.

The Report

The study, titled Natural Hazard Mitigation Saves: 2017 Interim Report, was released earlier this month, around the same time that the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration declared 2017 the costliest year on record for weather and climate disasters (with costs coming in at $306 billion).

During the study, the Institute looked at the results of 23 years of federally funded mitigation grants provided by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the U.S. Economic Development Administration and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and came to the $6 savings figure.

Additionally, the team looked at scenarios that focused on designing new buildings to exceed provisions of the International Code Council’s 2015 International Codes, which brought on the $4 savings figure.

“The project team estimated that just implementing these two sets of mitigation strategies would prevent 600 deaths, 1 million nonfatal injuries and 4,000 cases of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in the long term,” noted NIBS.

“In addition, designing new buildings to exceed the 2015 International Building Code and International Residential Code would result in 87,000 new, long-term jobs, and an approximate 1 percent increase in utilization of domestically produced construction material.”

Mitigation strategies evaluated included:

  • For flood resistance, acquiring or demolishing flood-prone buildings, especially single-family homes, manufactured homes and two- to four-family dwellings.
  • For wind resistance, adding hurricane shutters, tornado safe rooms and other common measures.
  • For earthquake resistance, strengthening various structural and nonstructural components.
  • For fire resistance, replacing roofs, managing vegetation to reduce fuels and replacing wooden water tanks.
© / Claudiad

The study also found that every dollar spent on building to higher standards than the 2015 building codes could save $4.

Strategies to exceed building code requirements included:

  • For flood resistance (to address riverine flooding and hurricane surge), building new homes higher than required by the 2015 IBC.
  • For resistance to hurricane winds, building new homes to comply with the Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety Fortified Home Hurricane standards.
  • For resistance to earthquakes, building new buildings stronger and stiffer than required by the 2015 IBC.
  • For fire resistance in the wildland-urban interface, building new buildings to comply with the 2015 International Wildland-Urban Interface Code.

NIBS notes that the report was funded by both public and private organizations including FEMA, HUD, EDA, ICC, IBHS, the National Fire Protection Association and the American Institute of Architects.

In addition, more than 100 subject matter experts participated in the development and review of the study.

For access to the full report, visit


Tagged categories: Disasters; Good Technical Practice; National Institute of Building Sciences; North America; Safety

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