Tuesday, February 9, 2021 | 1:00 to 2:00 p.m. Eastern
Building Codes Save: The Data Behind a Nationwide Effort to Reduce Hazard-Related Property Loss
In August 2020, the Federal Emergency Management Agency released a long-awaited report on the financial savings that can be achieved by adopting stronger building codes that protect communities from property damage caused by hazards and disasters. The report, Building Codes Save: A Nationwide Study, found that billions of dollars could be saved by employing such codes.
Join us for this upcoming webinar that will discuss the importance of building codes and the need for greater adoption of hazard-resistant codes in communities nationwide. Experts will describe the Building Codes Save study; demonstrate the monetary benefit of adopting such codes; quantify the effect of hazard-resistant building codes in reducing flood, hurricane, and earthquake losses; and highlight how the results can be used to incentivize hazard-resistant code adoption.
After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information on how to join the webinar.
Senior Principal, AECOM
Vice President and Principal Engineer, Applied Research Associates
Modeling Analyst, AECOM
Hope A. Seligson
Regional Loss Estimation Specialist, Independent Consultant
Civil Engineer, Federal Emergency Management Agency
Matt Francis is a senior principal at AECOM, with 26 years' consulting experience in geohazards and foundation engineering, building codes development, infrastructure resilience planning, design, and construction, specializing in earthquake mitigations. He has bachelor's and master's degrees in Civil Engineering from BYU and resides in Salt Lake City, UT, supporting resilience projects across AECOM.
Francis is currently is technical lead for the Compass JV contract team supporting the Federal Emergency Management Agency's Building Codes Save program. He is a professional fellow of EERI and a member of the ASCE Infrastructure Resilience Division and the ASCE 7 Seismic and Tsunami Loads Committees.
Frank Lavelle is a vice president and principal engineer with 30 years of research, development, and project management experience in probabilistic risk assessment, catastrophe loss modeling, and decision support software. He joined Applied Research Associates (ARA) in 1990 after completing his PhD in structural engineering at Rice University. Lavelle is the product manager of ARA’s HurLoss hurricane catastrophe loss model, available on both ARA’s platform and the Oasis Loss Modelling Framework.
For the past seven years, Lavelle has been the ARA program manager for disaster and failure studies and community resilience support services for the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). From 2001 to 2011, Lavelle was the software development manager for the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s Hazus-MH hurricane wind and coastal storm surge models. He has performed numerous ratemaking and probable maximum loss studies for both property insurers and real estate industry clients. Lavelle is a member of the American Society of Civil Engineers and is a registered professional engineer in North Carolina.
Shane Parson is a natural hazard and climate change modeling analyst with the AECOM Germantown, Maryland Office. He has over 30 years of experience conducting research and project studies for natural hazard simulations, risk assessment modeling, benefit-cost and loss avoidance analysis, hazard mitigation, and climate change analysis. His doctoral dissertation used artificial neural networks to simulate a water model for Internet usage. Parson has been a long-time subject matter expert and independent tester for both the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Benefit Cost Analysis software and the FEMA Hazus software and has been the Hazus lead to the FEMA Headquarters Flood Risk Products Team since 2010. Parson’s current focus is on applying data analytics in cloud environments for modeling projects.
Professionally, Parson was president of the Virginia Floodplain Management Association for five years. He is an Amazon Web Services Certified Cloud Practitioner, Certified FEMA Hazus Professional and Hazus Practitioner, and Certified Floodplain Manager. Parson is also a registered professional engineer in Virginia.
Hope A. Seligson has over 30 years of experience in natural hazard risk assessment, regional loss, and casualty estimation to support emergency response and mitigation planning. In addition to having been part of the interdisciplinary team that developed the flood loss estimation methodology for Hazus, the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s National Multi-Hazard Risk Assessment Methodology and Software, she has extensively used the Hazus earthquake model in research and applications since 1997.
Seligson has written several guidelines documents focusing on improving inventory databases for Hazus and developed numerous enhanced inventory databases specifically for use in Hazus. She has also worked with public health researchers to enhance the state-of-the-art in earthquake-related injury modeling techniques. Seligson holds a master’s degree in structural engineering from Stanford University, emphasizing earthquake engineering.
Jonathan Westcott is a civil engineer with the Federal Emergency Management Agency's (FEMA) Building Science Branch. He has been with FEMA's Federal Insurance and Mitigation Administration since 2006. Westcott is responsible for developing technical policy, standards, and guidance on building science issues and led FEMA's Building Codes Save study. Westcott earned his bachelor's in civil engineering from Lehigh University with a coastal engineering specialty and a coastal engineering certificate from Old Dominion University. Westcott is a registered professional engineer in the Commonwealth of Virginia.
Using big data, FEMA’s modeling of the 18.1M buildings constructed in the United States since 2000 has found that the nation has benefited to the tune of $1.6 billion in savings each year. These savings represent the cumulative losses avoided from property damage associated with using the International Codes or similar building codes during floods, hurricanes, and earthquakes. FEMA projects that, by the year 2040, the nation will save around $3.2 billion in savings per year. This adds up to almost $133 billion in total losses avoided from 2000 to 2040.
Those dollar values represent considerable financial reasons for why communities should be proactive in adopting and enforcing hazard-resistant building codes. The study’s results fully support FEMA’s mission to help people prepare for, mitigate, respond to, and recover from natural hazards, specifically through programs and efforts that promote using hazard-resistant building codes.
FEMA is developing outreach materials that will help programs across the agency convey the study’s results to our state, local, tribal and territorial partners. The Building Codes Saves Study, which details the methodology, results, and conclusions and additional informational materials, are available on FEMA’s website.
If you are interested in learning more about Building Codes Save and how you can integrate the study’s findings into your program, please email FEMA’s Building Science Hotline.