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NIBS Releases Study on Value of Mitigation

Posted by ICC

Jan 18, 2019 4:13:46 PM

The National Institute of Building Sciences (NIBS) released the Natural Hazard Mitigation Saves: 2018 Interim Report at its annual conference, Building Innovation 2019 in Washington, D.C.

The study found that adopting the 2018 International Codes (I-Codes) generates a national benefit of $11 for every $1 invested. The I-Codes create jobs and minimize insurance premiums and business interruptions following natural disasters and are the most widely used and adopted set of building safety codes in the world.

The 2018 Interim Report highlights the significant savings that result from implementing mitigation strategies in terms of safety, and the prevention of property loss and disruption of day-to-day life. The report includes findings from the 2017 Interim Report (released in January 2018) and a second report, Natural Hazard Mitigation Saves: Utilities and Transportation Infrastructure (released in October 2018).


International Code Council Chief Executive Officer Dominic Sims addresses attendees at Building Innovation 2019 on the 2018 findings and the next chapter of the Natural Hazards Mitigation Saves Report.

The NIBS project team looked at the benefits of designing buildings to meet the 2018 International Residential Code and 2018 International Building Code — the model building codes developed by the International Code Council — versus the prior generation of codes. The project team studied flood risk, hurricane wind hazards and earthquake risk and found a national benefit of $11 for every $1 invested. They found that the national mitigation benefit-cost ratio associated with code adoption is $6 to $1 for floods, $10 to $1 for hurricanes, and $12 to $1 for earthquakes, with benefits coming through avoided casualties, post-traumatic stress, property damage, business interruptions and insurance premiums.

The results show that all building stakeholders benefit from regularly updated codes – from developers, titleholders and lenders, to tenants and communities. Communities that consistently meet the latest editions of the I-Codes, culminating in the 2018 editions, have added 30,000 new jobs to the construction-materials industry. Last year’s interim report also found that adoption of the 2015 International Wildland Urban Interface Code provided a $4 to $1 mitigation benefit against wildfire risk.

These findings demonstrate the importance of regular updates to the building codes and strong code enforcement in order to mitigate damage from natural disasters such as wildfires, earthquakes, hurricanes and flooding.

“Disasters are only expected to increase in frequency and severity, so as an industry we need to work collaboratively on how to adapt the built environment to face even greater challenges,” said Code Council Chief Executive Officer Dominic Sims, CBO. “The findings of this report offer encouragement that our work, slow and steady as it may be, is well worth the effort. The Code Council has a long and close partnership with NIBS, and we look forward to continued engagement with the Institute on these important issues.”

As were the preceding reports, the 2018 Interim Report is an independent work, funded with the support of public- and private-organizations interested in expanding the understanding of the benefits of hazard mitigation. Sponsors for the study include the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development, the U.S. Economic Development Administration, the International Code Council, the Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety, the National Fire Protection Association, and the American Institute of Architects. Funding is still needed to study the benefits of additional mitigation strategies.

To vet the methodology used and ensure the study’s accuracy, NIBS received input from renowned experts in resilience across all hazard types, including academia, non-profits, government agencies and the private sector. Experts were engaged to conduct the analyses and additional experts were invited to peer-review the results. More than 100 subject matter experts participated in the development and review of the study methodologies and findings.


The ICC is a member-focused association. It is dedicated to developing model codes and standards used in the design, build and compliance process to construct safe, sustainable, affordable and resilient structures. Most U.S. communities and many global markets choose the International Codes.

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