U.S. disaster losses from wind, floods, earthquakes, and fires now average $100 billion per year, and in 2017 exceeded $300 billion—25% of the $1.3 trillion building value put in place that year. Fortunately, there are affordable and highly cost-effective strategies that policymakers, building owners, and the building industry can deploy to reduce these impacts.
These strategies include adopting and strengthening building codes, upgrading existing buildings, and improving utilities and transportation systems. The benefits and costs associated with these mitigation measures have been identified through the most exhaustive benefit-cost analysis of natural hazard mitigation to date and documented in Natural Hazard Mitigation Saves.
The study was funded by three federal agencies and four private-sector sponsors and produced by the National Institute of Building Sciences – the nation’s Congressionally chartered convener of experts from the building professions, industry, labor, consumer interests, and government. For the report and accompanying fact sheets, see www.nibs.org/mitigationsaves.
This fact sheet summarizes the study findings and significant savings associated with various mitigation measures.
- Adopting the latest building code requirements is affordable and saves $11 per $1 invested.
- Above-code design could save $4 per $1 cost.
- Private-sector building retrofits could save $4 per $1 cost.
- Lifeline retrofit saves $4 per $1 cost.
- Federal grants save $6 per $1 cost.