FEMA’s BRIC Program

FEMA’s BRIC Program

The Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) Building Resilient Infrastructure and Communities (BRIC) program is FEMA’s new $500 million mitigation grant program. It prioritizes the adoption and enforcement of hazard resistant building codes and makes funding available for adoption activities (including staff time and consultant costs), training, certifications, electronic permitting, building department accreditation, and online access to codes and standards. Brick and mortar mitigation projects are more competitive candidates for funding based on state adopted codes and local BCEGS scores.

The Code Council hosted a webinar on BRIC on September 16th which featured leaders from FEMA and state and local government, who outlined the opportunity for building and fire prevention departments through BRIC and shared best practices for how to successfully leverage BRIC through coordination with hazard mitigation officials. Click here to access webinar playback. Download a PDF of the webinar slides here.

Click here for a fact sheet with key information on how BRIC promotes the adoption and enforcement of hazard resistant codes.

Click here for additional information on the Code Council’s When Disaster Strikes Institute, which FEMA mentions in its BRIC materials on eligible code activities. After a disaster, assessing damage and determining whether structures can be re-inhabited is a challenge. When assessments are not conducted quickly, a community’s residents may potentially reoccupy unsafe structures. The Code Council’s When Disaster Strikes Institute is a two-day course available virtually that can train code officials and others to conduct assessments quickly and thoroughly, collecting all required data.

All BRIC projects are reviewed on technical criteria. Out of 100 total available points, state applicants earn 20 points if they require the 2015 or 2018 International Building Code (IBC) and International Residential Code (IRC). Click here for state adoption information regarding the IBC and IRC.

Please contact us at advocacy@iccsafe.org with any additional questions.

Resilience Toolkit

Resilience

Creating Resilient Communities

Over the past twenty years communities worldwide have experienced disaster events that have significantly impacted their society, economy, and culture. As populations grow, urban areas expand, and interconnectedness increases, the potential for a disaster event to have deeper and further-reaching consequences also increases. As a result, there is a need to implement measures that increase societal, economic, and cultural resilience—community resilience.

Resiliency is about the ability to plan and prepare for, absorb, recover from, and more successfully adapt to adverse events regardless of whether the subject is an individual or our society, a business or our economy, a single bridge or all critical infrastructure.

We frame resilience in the built environment in four ways: (1) efficient disaster mitigation and recovery, (2) ensuring occupant mental and physical health and wellbeing, (3) improving building life cycles, and (4) creating a sustainable community.

The International Code Council has several resources available to assist jurisdictions, manufacturers and the public with these building practices. For decades, ICC’s codes and standards have addressed resilient and energy-related issues and we remain committed to working with Member Jurisdictions and industry partners to bring the right building products and practices to market, labeling new homes and structures as more efficient, and spreading the word about the need for wiser resource usage and building resilient structures.

Creating a resilient nation requires diligent planning and innovative thinking.  Incorporating new technologies in current building practices to achieve higher resiliency is exciting but can be expensive.  Thankfully, effectively utilizing current codes and standards throughout all phases of the building’s lifecycle increases the efficacy of new building technologies and offers a cost effective path toward community stability during times of disaster.  Resilience starts with strong, regularly updated, and properly implemented building codes.

The Code Council ICC is a member of the FEMA Resilient National Partnership Network, a founding member of the U.S. Resiliency Council,  a signatory to the Industry Statement on Resilience and a founding member of the Alliance for National & Community Resilience.

 

Building Codes: The Foundation for Resilience

Building codes are a fundamental contributor to community resilience. A community cannot be resilient without resilient buildings and the codes that support their development. As identified in Building Community Resilience through Modern Model Building Codes, “Resilience in the built environment starts with strong, regularly adopted, and properly administered building codes.”

Numerous studies have been conducted to date to determine the effectiveness of codes and support updates based on lessons learned following disasters. The National Institute of Buildings Sciences (NIBS) in its Natural Hazard Mitigation Saves: 2018 Interim Report found that adoption of the 2018 International Building Code (IBC) and the 2018 International Residential Code (IRC) provide an $11 benefit for every $1 invested when compared to codes in place around 1990. Higher benefits can accrue when benefits and costs are studied at a more localized level. Learn more about how Up-To-Date Building Codes Support Safe, Sustainable and Resilient Communities.

 

A “whole community” approach

Communities are complex, interconnected systems. Community systems are rarely, if ever, isolated from one another. When adverse events occur, all components in the local system must continue to function. An office building with functioning electricity cannot effectively operate if employees are unable to commute because public transit is shutdown. A structure built to code that stands tall in a disaster must be reachable by roads and sidewalks during and after that disaster to be occupied. Employees can’t effectively function if grocery store shelves are bare, etc.

For a community to be resilient, it must understand the resilience of each community function and how well each can respond to adverse events. That means having a community plan to get critical systems operating again. Resilience in the built environment begins with strong, regularly adopted and properly administered building codes, but communities must look across all of its interconnected functions to truly be a resilient community.

Through the Alliance for National & Community Resilience (ANCR), the Code Council is working to build on the strong foundation provided by building codes to support a whole community approach to protecting the health, safety and welfare of communities and their residents.

 

Resilience is…

Efficient Disaster Mitigation & Recovery

  • Provisions in the I-Codes address disaster preparedness and recovery – from how and where to build in flood plains to constructing buildings that can better withstand natural and manmade disasters.
  • Codes are cost-effective, too. A study for FEMA done by the National Institute of Building Sciences’ Multihazard Mitigation Council showed that for every dollar spent on mitigation efforts like adopting current codes, four dollars were saved in post-disaster relief costs.

Ensuring Mental & Physical Health and Wellbeing

  • Provisions in the I-Codes address mental and physical health and well-being from dealing with sanitation and pest control to designing buildings that respond to the latest science on mood and mental health.

Improving Building Life Cycles

  • Provisions in the I-Codes enable changes to the systems inside the building or even the structure itself at some point after its initial construction and occupation including repair, alteration, change of occupancy, addition to and relocation of existing buildings.
  • As communities change, so do the buildings they use. Updated codes allow buildings to adapt, keeping a sense of continuity while also reducing blight from outdated, unused buildings.

Creating a Sustainable Community

  • Provisions in the I-Codes include sustainability measures for the entire construction project and its site making buildings more efficient and less economically and environmentally wasteful.
  • Building sustainably has effects that go beyond the walls and into the community – for example, car charging stations make it easier to own eco-friendly vehicles and smart grid demand response systems lower energy prices for the consumer and increase grid stability for the surrounding area.
The Intersection of Codes and Resilience
Family of Solutions
Codes and Standards

Off-Site Construction

Off-Site Construction Solutions for Today’s Challenges

The building industry is facing multiple challenges, including workforce availability, housing affordability, job site safety, building quality and sustainability. The expanded use of off-site construction (often called modular or prefabrication) is one approach to address these challenges. The International Code Council’s Family of Solutions offers multiple solutions to support the safe and efficient use of off-site construction.

Can't see the video? Click here!

Design, Fabrication, Construction and Assembly

ICC/MBI Standard 1200: Standard for Off-Site Construction: Planning, Design, Fabrication, and Assembly

The International Code Council is partnering with the Modular Building Institute (MBI) in the development of a comprehensive standard to address all facets of the off-site construction process including: planning; designing; fabricating; transporting; and assembling commercial and residential building elements. This includes componentized, panelized and modularized elements. This standard will not apply to HUD Manufactured Housing or “tiny homes.” Learn More.

 

ICC G5-2019 Guideline for the Safe Use of ISO Intermodal Shipping Containers Repurposed as Buildings and Building Components

  • More than 30 million International Organization for Standardization (ISO) intermodal shipping containers are in use around the world today. These containers were built to ISO standards and maintained to standards defined by the International Maritime Organization’s (IMO) “Convention for Safe Containers.”
  • New or used, containers are now repurposed at a pace that makes their reuse a multi-billion-dollar global industry. Containers are regularly repurposed and converted into International Residential Code and International Building Code occupancy uses. As a building material, the applications are widely diverse as is the extent to which the container is used as a structural building element.
  • Local jurisdictions and state administrative programs are reacting to the growing trend of shipping container repurposing but can be behind in terms of regulations and compliance. This International Code Council Guideline is intended to help state and local jurisdictions as well as owners, architects, builders and engineers in their assessment as to how to design, review and approve shipping containers as a building element. Purchase ICC G5-2019.

 

Design

  • NTA Structural Design Services
    • Whether new or existing construction, NTA’s Engineering Department can provide you with complete structural engineering calculations and analysis to aid in determining code compliance. NTA has licensed engineers in all 50 states, including the District of Columbia, Guam and parts of Canada.
    • Our staff of highly qualified engineers is made up of both PE’s (Professional Engineers) and trained design engineers to allow us the ability to offer third party engineering to fit each client’s unique needs, ensuring that each client receives top of the line customer service and quick project turnaround. Learn more.

 

Fabrication

  • IAS Accreditation for Manufactures/Fabricators
    • IAS provides accreditation for structural steel (AC172), reinforced and precast/pre-stressed concrete (AC157) and wood wall panel fabricators (AC196) based on requirements in Chapter 17 of the International Building Code®.
    • Getting accredited involves an assessment of the fabricators management system and verification that the on-site inspections have met the requirements of industry standards and IAS accreditation criteria. Maintaining accreditation requires periodic assessments as required by the building code. Learn more.
      • IAS AC157: Accreditation Criteria for Inspection Programs for Prestressed/Precast Concrete Panels
      • IAS AC172: Accreditation Criteria for Inspection Programs for Structural Steel
      • IAS AC196: Accreditation Criteria for Inspection Programs for Wood Panels
    • IAS AC472: Accreditation of Fabricator Inspection Program for Metal Building Systems
      • IAS accredits the inspection programs of companies that design and fabricate custom engineered metal building systems.
      • The accreditation is based on requirements in IAS Accreditation Criteria AC472, International Building Code® and related standards. The accreditation criteria covers inspections of metal building system elements that are essential for designing, specifying, building or approving metal building systems. Learn more.
  • ICC-ES Product Evaluations
    • ICC-ES AC462: Acceptance Criteria for Structural Building Materials from Shipping Containers
      • The acceptance criteria is limited to the evaluation of the reuse of shipping containers as a source of building materials, with the steel components of the shipping containers redesigned for use in the design of steel structures under Sections 104.9, 2204, 2205, 2210, and 2211 of the IBC and R104.9 and R301.1.3 of the IRC. The intent of the acceptance criteria is to evaluate the quality control procedures used to establish and verify the dimensions, chemical and physical properties of the steel components of the shipping containers, and to evaluate the steel components for design in accordance with the provisions of the IBC. Purchase AC462.
    • ICC-ES AC14: Acceptance Criteria for Prefabricated Wood I-Joists
      • The prefabricated wood I-joists are used in lieu of sawn lumber joists and rafters. The I-joists are limited to use in combustible roof and floor construction. Purchase AC14.
    • ICC-ES AC04: Sandwich Panels
      • AC04 establishes guidelines for the evaluation of all sandwich panels except panels with specific configurations and/or compositions that are covered in other current acceptance criteria. Purchase AC04
    • ICC-ES AC340: Patio Covers
      • AC340 establishes guidelines for evaluation of patio covers, particularly with regard to wind and snow loads. Purchase AC340
    • ICC-ES AC509: 3D Automated Construction Technology for 3D Concrete Walls
      • AC509 establishes guidelines for evaluation of the material and durability properties of proprietary 3D concrete and the structural performance of 3D concrete walls. Purchase AC509
    • NTA Building Product Testing
      • NTA is an independent third-party agency, offering evaluation, testing, inspection, and certification services to the building product industry. NTA is fully accredited to the ISO 17025 (Midwest/Southwest testing laboratory), ISO 17020 (inspection body) and, ISO 17065 (certification body) standards, ensuring that both consumers and regulatory agencies are confident in our testing services and comprehensive product evaluations. Learn more.

 

Construction and Assembly

  • IAS Accreditation of Assemblers
    • IAS AC478: Accreditation Criteria for Inspection Practices of Metal Building Assemblers
      • IAS accredits the inspection practices of companies that assemble metal building systems. The accreditation is based on requirements in IAS Accreditation Criteria AC478 and the International Building Code®. Getting accredited involves an assessment of the company’s management system, that includes the assembly processes, internal safety, training programs, periodic jobsite inspections, etc. IAS accreditation establishes a benchmark for companies qualified to assemble and erect metal buildings. Learn more.

Plan Review, Permitting and Inspection

ICC/MBI Standard 1205:  Standard for Off-Site Construction: Inspection and Regulatory Compliance

ICC is partnering with the Modular Building Institute (MBI) in the development of a comprehensive standard to address the inspection, approval and regulatory compliance of off-site residential and commercial construction components and their assembly and completion at the final building site. This includes: permitting; in-plant and on-site final inspections; third party inspections; the role of Industrialized Building Departments, state modular programs and the Authority Having Jurisdiction. Off-site construction includes componentized, panelized and modularized elements. This standard will not apply to HUD Manufactured Housing or “tiny homes”. Learn More.

 

Plan Review & Permitting

  • IAS AC251: Building Department Third-party Service Providers Accreditation
    • IAS accreditation demonstrates that subcontracting companies are competent to provide building department services for communities. The accreditation is based on IAS Accreditation Criteria for Building Code Regulatory Agencies And Third-Party Service Providers (AC251). Getting accredited involves an assessment of the department’s goals, policies, and procedures for permitting, inspections and plan reviews. Learn more.
  • NTA Third-Party Plan Review Services
    • NTA’s third-party plan review helps to ensure your structure meets or exceeds requirements for quality, safety and performance, as well as being code compliant. We are an industry leader in verifying HUD, modular, residential, commercial and industrial buildings are compliant to the International Residential Code (IRC), International Building Code (IBC) and other state and Federal standards. Learn more.
  • ICC Training & Certifications
    • The ICC Learning Center features a specialty catalog of webinars and online and in-person courses that support code officials and third-party plan reviewers and inspectors for both commercial and residential off-site construction. Learn More.

 

Inspection

  • IAS Accreditations
    • IAS AC98: Inspection Agency Accreditation
      • IAS accredits inspection agencies to ISO/IEC Standard 17020. This accreditation process involves an assessment of the agencies competence for performing inspections and the consistency of their inspection activities. IAS accredits agencies that perform inspections of materials, products, installations, processes or services. Learn more.
    • IAS AC291, ISO/IEC Standard 17020: Special Inspection Agency Accreditation
      • IAS provides accreditation for special inspection agencies based on requirements in the International Building Code®, New York City Building Code, Philadelphia Building Code, Southern Nevada Building Code and IAS AC291. Getting accredited involves an assessment of the agency’s inspection procedures, the competence of its inspection staff, and its reporting procedures. Accredited agencies have demonstrated competence to perform special inspections required in the building code and related standards. Learn more.
    • ICC Training & Certifications
    • NTA Third-Party Inspection Services
      • NTA is the third party of choice for residential, commercial and factory-built housing inspection and certification because of our consistent ability to deliver in-plant quality audits by knowledgeable personnel. We employ professionals that, combined, have completed over 300 building code examinations and have over 190 inspector licenses and certifications. Our network of third-party inspectors enables us to assess in-plant quality control procedures; ensuring consistent quality of your product for code compliance and if needed, help you build an entire quality assurance program. Learn more.
    • NTA Building Product Testing
    • ICC-ES Product Evaluations
  • The ICC Learning Center features a specialty catalog of webinars and online and in-person courses that support code officials and third-party plan reviewers and inspectors for both commercial and residential off-site construction. Learn More.

Affordability

Building Codes Ensure Affordable Housing

Access to affordable housing is becoming too difficult for too many Americans and more can and must be done. The root causes for the challenge are complicated and multifaceted. To effectuate change, solutions must address not only first costs but also costs associated with operation and maintenance. Getting a family into a home is not enough. They need to be able to afford to live there too. Cheap homes that blow over in the face of modest winds, suffer severe damage from minor flooding, become uninhabitable following low grade earthquakes, or impose unnecessarily high energy and water utility bills are not the type of homes we should be promoting. Their residents deserve more.

Low to moderate income families have the most at stake when it comes to protecting their property from natural hazards. Recent Bankrate studies have reported that only 39 percent of those surveyed could cover a $1,000 blow with savings. High energy and water bills also have disproportionate impacts. Middle-income and high-income ratepayers spend 1 to 5 percent of their income on energy bills, whereas low-income customers face energy burdens from 6 to 30 percent or more depending on their state of residence.

Modern Model Building Codes Reduce Operations Expenses without Impacting First Costs

Fortunately, we can promote homes that are affordable, resilient, and energy and water efficient. In January, a FEMA-funded study by the congressionally-established National Institute of Building Sciences (NIBS) found that up to date model building codes save $11 for every $1 invested through earthquake, flood, and wind mitigation benefits, with a $4 to $1 wildfire mitigation benefit. These benefits represent avoided casualties, property damage, business interruptions, and insurance costs, and are enjoyed by all building stakeholders – from developers, titleholders, and lenders, to tenants and communities. Keeping utility bills low also mitigates default risks, with one recent study finding that energy-efficient homes can reduce the risk of mortgage default by about a third.

Contemporary research continues to find that modern model building codes have no appreciable implications for housing affordability—in fact, no peer reviewed research has found otherwise. Improvements to model building codes’ resilience over the nearly 30-year period the NIBS report studied were found to increase a home’s purchase price by around a half a percentage point in earthquake country or in an area affected by riverine flood. Similarly, a detailed benefit-cost analysis of seismic code adoption for Memphis, Tennessee found that adopting up-to-date codes, for the apartment building studied, would add less than 1 percent to the construction cost (and less to the purchase price, since construction cost typically amounts to between 1/3rd and 2/3rds of purchase price), while reducing annualized loss—in terms of repair cost, collapse probability, and fatalities—by approximately 50 percent.

Additional analyses have made similar findings. After Moore, Oklahoma experienced its third violent tornado in 14 years, the City significantly strengthened its building codes. The Moore Association of Home Builders estimated a $1-$2/sqft resulting increase in the cost of construction. Yet, researchers found that the change to a stronger building code had no effect on the price per square foot or home sales. A study by Headwaters Economics last fall found that, in the county studied, a new home built to model wildfire-resistant codes can be constructed for roughly the same cost as a typical home. According to the Association of State Floodplain Managers, the insurance savings from meeting current codes’ flood mitigation requirements can reduce homeowners’ net monthly mortgage and flood insurance costs by at least 5 percent.

The cost effectiveness of modern codes is due in no small part to the active participation in the code development process of stakeholders representing development and property management interests. The Building Owners and Managers Association, National Association of Home Builders, and the National Multifamily Housing Council are founding strategic partners of ICC, with each devoting considerable time and effort towards ensuring code updates are practical and cut costs whenever possible.

Greater Uniform Adoption of Current Model Building Codes Would Promote Housing Affordability

Support for more uniform adoption of modern model building codes at the state and local levels could help tackle the affordable housing challenge – both for stick-built homes and modular homes built offsite. Modular homes show promise as an affordable housing solution, capable of curbing construction timelines and reducing costs by 25% or more. ICC is in the process of developing two standards that will help expand the use of offsite construction by promoting more efficient design, fabrication, and approvals.

For both modular and stick-built homes, a more unified code landscape would help minimize construction cost through clearer and more consistent design and construction requirements and quality standards—allowing greater efficiencies for builders, materials manufacturers, and designers. For communities, promoting strong codes can help reduce borrowing costs and incentivize economic investment through reduced threat of loss and better risk pricing.