Course Overview

Welcome to IS-277.a Benefit Cost-Analysis (BCA): Entry Level independent study course.

The purpose of this course is to provide the knowledge and skills needed to use the FEMA BCA Toolkit to develop the Benefit-Cost Ratio (BCR) for a mitigation project.

At the end of this course, you will be able to:

  • Download, install, and navigate the FEMA BCA Tool
  • Use the basic and supplemental features of the FEMA BCA Tool
  • Explain flood, tornado, hurricane wind, wildfire, and seismic hazard concepts
  • Identify, gather, and enter data and supporting documentation required for the following BCA Tool modules: Flood, Damage-Frequency Assessment (DFA), Tornado Safe Room, Hurricane Wind, Wildfire, and Seismic Non-Structural
  • Complete a BCA and develop the BCR for a mitigation project using the same modules
  • Provide justification and supporting documentation for overriding the FEMA standard values in the BCA Tool

Screen Features

Navigating Using Your Keyboard

Below are instructions for navigating through the course using your keyboard.
  • Use the “Tab” key to move forward through each screen’s navigation buttons and hyperlinks, or “Shift” + “Tab” to move backwards. A box surrounds the button that is currently selected.
  • Press “Enter” to select a navigation button or hyperlink.
  • Use the arrow keys to select answers for multiple-choice review questions or self-assessment checklists. Then tab to the Submit button and press Enter to complete a Knowledge Review or Self-Assessment.
  • Warning: Repeatedly pressing Tab beyond the number of selections on the screen may cause the keyboard to lock up. Use Ctrl + Tab to deselect an element or reset to the beginning of a screen’s navigation links (most often needed for screens with animations or media).
  • JAWS assistive technology users can press the Ctrl key to quiet the screen reader while the course audio plays.

Receiving Credit

Each lesson takes a variable amount of time to complete. If you are unable to complete the course in its entirety, you may close the window and reopen the course at any time. However, depending on the system used to take the course, it is possible you may have to repeat a portion of the last lesson you were studying.

Course Structure

This course is designed to allow you to progress through the lessons at your own pace. There are 24 lessons. Lessons 1–9 cover the general use of the BCA Tool and explain tool features that are available to you in all the BCA Modules. Lessons 10–24 each cover a specific BCA module.

Here is how the course is structured:

  • Lessons 1–9: General BCA Toolkit Use
  • Lessons 10–12: BCA Flood Module
  • Lessons 13–16: BCA DFA Module
  • Lessons 17–18: BCA Tornado Safe Room Module
  • Lessons 19–20: BCA Hurricane Wind Module
  • Lessons 21–22: BCA Wildfire Module
  • Lessons 23–24: BCA Seismic Non-Structural Module
  • Course Summary and Final Exam

Lesson 2 Overview

Welcome to Lesson 2. This lesson covers BCA Toolkit resources and installation.

At the end of this lesson, you will be able to:

  • Download and install the FEMA BCA Tool
  • Access BCA Toolkit resources

BCA Toolkit Overview

The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) requires federally funded projects from all agencies to demonstrate cost-effectiveness for the use of public funds.

FEMA’s response to this requirement was to develop the BCA Toolkit to enable users and reviewers to conduct and review BCAs of mitigation projects across a range of major natural hazards including flood, hurricane wind, tornado, wildfire, and earthquake.

The remainder of these lessons present information about the general use of the BCA Toolkit from installation all the way to exporting a completed BCA.

BCA Resources

The FEMA BCA page: http://www.fema.gov/benefit-cost-analysis provides links for policy documents, training, and reference guides.

Select this link to access all information presented.

Policies

Using the FEMA BCA Tool ensures that the calculations used in conducting the BCA of a mitigation project are in accordance with OMB Circular No. A-94 Revised, “Guidelines and Discount Rates for Benefit-Cost Analysis of Federal Programs”: https://www.whitehouse.gov/omb/circulars_a094, and FEMA’s standardized cost-effectiveness methodologies.

The Environmental Benefits Policy: https://www.fema.gov/media-library/assets/documents/33295?id=7759, allows for incorporation of environmental benefits (ecosystem service benefits) for acquisition projects under the HMA grant programs. Environmental benefits can be included for each structure when the project benefit-cost ratio (BCR) reaches 0.75.

BCA Training

The following courses provide BCA training:

  • IS-0276: Benefit-Cost Analysis (BCA) Fundamentals: https://training.fema.gov/is/courseoverview.aspx?code=is-276 This course serves as an overview of fundamental BCA concepts and theory and is the framework and prerequisite for the classroom, field, or facilitated distance learning BCA entry-level course.
  • E0276: Benefit-Cost Analysis: Entry Level This course is designed as an introduction to the fundamental concepts of a BCA. Participants will learn how to obtain BC data and conduct analyses using the basic versions of all the hazard modules. Interested participants may follow EMI Application Procedures: https://training.fema.gov/allhazards/apply.aspx to apply for this course.
  • IS-277: Benefit-Cost Analysis: Entry Level: https://training.fema.gov/is/courseoverview.aspx?code=IS-277 This course is designed with the same content as E0276 but is available as an independent study course.

BCA Reference Guides

The purpose of these guides is to provide BCA Tool users with additional information on completing the BCA for proposed mitigation projects. It is recommended that you download the guides to your computer because you will need them when you use the BCA Tool.

BCA Data Documentation Templates DDTs

DDTs are designed to assist users and reviewers in recording the data and methodologies utilized in the analysis. FEMA does not require DDTs to be submitted with a completed BCA; however, some Applicants do have this requirement. Check with your State Hazard Mitigation Officer or FEMA Regional office to find out if a completed DDT is required with your grant subapplication.

BCA Help

  • Tool Help: For assistance using the BCA Tool, contact the BCA Technical Assistance Helpline by phone at 1-855-540-6744 from 9:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m. (ET) Monday through Friday, or send an email to BC Helpline: [email protected]
  • Policy and Implementation Help: For assistance in reviewing or performing a benefit-cost analysis and for mitigation eligibility or policy questions, contact your State Hazard Mitigation Officer: https://www.fema.gov/state-hazard-mitigation-officers

BCA Tool Download

To install the BCA Tool, the first step is to download the installation files. Links to the installation files can be accessed from the FEMA BCApage: http://www.fema.gov/benefit-cost-analysis

Download the following installation files:

  • System Requirements
  • Standard Installation File
  • Installation and Troubleshooting Guide
  • Hurricane Hazard Data
  • Earthquake Hazard Data
  • Landslide Acquisition Benefit Calculator

When downloading, note the folder that the files are saved to.

BCA Tool Installation

Exclamation point in green circle.
Tip: To install the tool on your computer, you need to have administrative rights for your computer. If you are not sure you have administrative rights, contact your organization’s IT department before completing the steps below.
After downloading the files and ensuring you have administrative rights for your computer, complete the installation steps below:

  1. Navigate to the folder on your computer where you downloaded the files.
  2. Right-click on the BCA Setup zip file.
  3. From the popup menu, select Open with Windows Explorer. A new Windows Explorer window is displayed.
  4. At the top of the Windows Explorer window, select Extract all files.
  5. Navigate to the folder where you wish to extract the files to and select OK.
  6. Select the Extract button. The extracted files are displayed.
  7. Double-click the BCA Setup executable file (the file type is .exe). The Open File – Security Warning dialog box is displayed.
  8. Select the Run button. The BCA Setup dialog box is displayed.
  9. Select the Install button. The User Account Control dialog box is displayed.
  10. Select the Yes button.
  11. Select the Next button to begin installation.
  12. Select the Finish button to complete the installation.
"Remember!" in red talk bubble
If you run into issues other than administrative rights during installation, contact the BCA Technical Assistance Helpline by phone at 1-855-540-6744 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. (ET) Monday through Friday, or send an email to BC Helpline[email protected] Be ready to describe and explain which step above you were trying to carry out and any error message you may have received when you encountered the problem.

Lesson 2 Summary

This lesson covered the BCA Toolkit resources and installation, including:

  • How to download and install the FEMA BCA Tool
  • How to access BCA Toolkit resources

Lesson 3 Overview

Welcome to Lesson 3. This lesson covers BCA Tool home screen. At the end of this lesson, you will be able to:

  • Distinguish the sections of the BCA Tool Home Screen
  • Describe the functionalities provided by the BCA Tool in each section

BCA Tool Home Screen Overview

After a successful installation, you should find a BCA Tool icon on your desktop. Double-click this icon each time you need to open the tool. You will maximize the benefits of this course by having the BCA Tool open and interacting with the tool as you progress through the course. Earlier in the course, it was recommended that you have dual computer monitors. You may find it helpful to have the tool open on one monitor and this course on the other.

When you open the BCA Tool, the Home Screen is displayed. The Home Screen has three main sections: the Basic Navigation Toolbar at the top, the My Projects Window on the left, and the Quick Start Area on the right.

Select each numbered area to learn more about the main sections of the BCA Tool Home Screen.

Select this link for a full description of the BCA Tool Home Screen.

BCA Tool Home Screen

This screenshot of the BCA Tool Home Screen shows the following:

  • The top pane of the Home Screen shows the Basic Navigation Toolbar with a menu of the functionalities of the BCA Tool. The following five main areas of the menu are displayed from left to right. Each area contains icons for accessing a specific functionality, and a shortcut key for accessing that functionality.
    • Configure:
      • Home (Ctrl+H)
      • Projects (Ctrl+P)
      • Structures (Ctrl+S)
    • Actions
      • Print (Ctrl+R)
      • Export BCA (Cttrl+E)
    • Data
      • Import/Export (Ctrl+I)
    • Database
      • Backup/Restore (Ctrl+B)
    • About
      • About (Ctrl+A)
  • The left pane of the Home Screen shows the My Projects window with the following:
    • Projects and the structure(s) associated with each project that have been entered by the user in the tool are displayed using a tree navigation structure.
    • Below the tree structure of projects and structures are two buttons: Add Group and Delete Group
    • Below the two buttons is the label for the section “My Projects.”
    • To the right of the label is the BCA Workflow button.
    • Below the My Projects label and the BCA Workflow button is the toggle button My Projects.
    • Below the My Projects toggle button is the Help toggle button.
  • The right pane of the Home Screen shows the Quick Start Area with a process diagram for completing the five BCA Steps.
  • To the right of the diagram for completing the five BCA Steps is a box describing the BCA Tool Quick Start Area. The text in the box states: BCA Tool Quick Start

The BCA Tool provides access to resources and automated functions needed to complete a successful Benefit-Cost Analysis for hazard mitigation grant programs. The diagram to the left displays the process used to successfully complete a Benefit-Cost Analysis. To begin your project, click on the functional icons in the in the process diagram to the left. Each icon provides quick access to that functional area from the home screen. The functionality within the menu on the top (aka ribbon) and the navigation tree in the left pane are available throughout the tool.

View the Quick Start Tutorial Movie for an overview of how to Create a Project. The video walks you through the process of creating a project in the tool. You can also click on the Help icon for a link to context-sensitive help, or the Flash Player icon for a Flash-based movie tutorial.

 

BCA Tool Basic Navigation Toolbar

The Basic Navigation Toolbar provides icons for the five major functionalities of the tool: Configure, Actions, Data, Database, and About.

Select this link for a full description of the BCA Basic Navigation Toolbar.

Basic Navigation Toolbar

This screenshot of the BCA Tool Basic Navigation Toolbar shows a menu of the functionalities of the BCA Tool. The following five main areas of the menu are displayed from left to right. Each area contains icons for accessing a specific functionality, and a shortcut key for accessing that functionality.

  • Configure
    • Home (Ctrl+H)
    • Projects (Ctrl+P)
    • Structures (Ctrl+S)
  • Actions
    • Print (Ctrl+R)
    • Export BCA (Cttrl+E)
  • Data
    • Import/Export (Ctrl+I)
  • Database
    • Backup/Restore (Ctrl+B)
  • About
    • About (Ctrl+A)

My Projects Window

This window provides access to both Projects and Help, depending on whether you select “My Projects” or “Help.” Help is discussed in the next screen. The image on the right shows “My Projects” selected.

If projects have not been entered in the tool, this window will be empty. If projects have been entered, they are listed in the window.

Help Window

The Help content is the best first source of information when using the tool.

To access the Help content, select Help at the bottom of the My Projects window. The image on the right shows “Help” selected.

After selecting Help, the topics listed in the top part of the window change along with the main BCA Tool screen. For example, since you are currently in the Home screen, a list of video software demonstrations is provided as Help topics.

Quick Start Area: Overview of BCA Steps

The Quick Start Area process diagram shows the steps for completing a BCA. The lessons that follow in this unit will discuss each step in greater detail.

Completing a BCA involves the following steps:

  • Step One: Create new project.
  • Step Two: Create new structure(s).
  • Step Three: Add structures to project.
  • Step Four: Start new mitigation. This means starting the analysis of a mitigation project.
  • Step Five: Export BCA

Steps One and Two are interchangeable in order. You may create new structures first before creating the new project, but you are encouraged to create the new project first.

Quick Start Area: Access to Movie Tutorials

The Quick Start Movie Tutorial presents video clips that demonstrate how to complete BCA Steps One through Five. You can access the movie tutorials by selecting the Flash Player icon.

Quick Start Area: Quick Access to Functionalities

Using the hot links from the icons in the Quick Start Area diagram, you can quickly access the tool functionalities in order to complete the BCA steps.

You will learn how to use these icons to complete BCA Steps One to Five in the upcoming lessons.

Lesson 3 Summary

This lesson covered the BCA Tool Home Screen, including:

  • The sections of the BCA Tool Home Screen
  • The functionalities provided by the BCA Tool in each section

Lesson 4 Overview

Welcome to Lesson 4. Lesson 4 covers Step One of the five BCA steps: Create New Project.

At the end of this lesson, you will be able to:

  • Add a new project using the Quick Start Area and the Basic Navigation Toolbar
  • Update and copy an existing project
  • Export and import an existing project

Projects Overview

Every BCA is based on projects and structures.

A project generally refers to the entire mitigation activity, which could protect a single structure or multiple structures.

A structure typically refers to a specific building, road, bridge, or utility that is being mitigated.

A project and structures are both needed to run a BCA, but the analysis itself is performed on each structure.

Add a New Project Using the Quick Start Area

The recommended method for creating a new project is to add a new project using the Quick Start Area.

To do so, complete the following steps:

  1. In the Quick Start Area, select Create New Project. The Project Info dialog box is displayed.
  2. Complete the data fields in the Project Info dialog box. The next page explains how to enter data in each Project Info field and save the information.

Enter and Save Project Info

To enter and save project info, complete the following steps:

  1. Enter the following details about the project.
    1. Project Name
    2. Project Number
    3. Analyst First and Last Name
    4. Program
    5. Disaster Number
    6. Discount Rate
    7. Comments
  2. Enter information about the project point of contact.
  3. Select the Save button.

Project Added Successfully

  1. After you select the Save button, the message “Project information saved successfully” is displayed.
  2. Select OK.
  3. Notice the newly added project is now listed in the My Projects window on the left and in the Project Inventory list on the right.

Add a New Project Using the Basic Navigation Toolbar

The alternative way to create a new project is by using the Basic Navigation Toolbar.

To do so, complete the following steps:

  1. On the Basic Navigation Toolbar, select the Projects icon. The My Projects window is displayed on the left and the Project Inventory list is displayed on the right.
  2. On the bottom right of the Project Inventory list, select the New button. The Project Info screen is displayed.
  3. Complete the data fields of the Project Info screen as explained on the previous page.
  4. On the bottom right of the Project Info screen, select the Save button. A BCA Tool dialog box with the message ‘Project information saved successfully” is displayed.
  5. On the bottom right of the dialog box, select the OK button.
  6. Notice that the newly added project is now listed in the My Projects window on the left and in the Project Inventory list on the right.

Select this link for a full description of how to create a new project using the Basic Navigation Toolbar.

Saved Projects Location

When you add a project in the BCA Tool, the project and all the information associated with it is saved within the BCA Tool installed on your computer. This means that only you have access to that project and all its associated information.

If you need to share the project you created with other BCA users, use the tool’s import and export functionalities that will be taught later in the course.

Demonstration: How to Update an Existing Project: Video Transcript

This video demonstrates how to update an existing project in the BCA Tool.

After you have added a new project, you may need to update that project. You may need to add newly available project information, or some of the project data you initially entered may need to be changed or deleted.

To update an existing project, complete the following steps:

  1. On the basic navigation toolbar of the BCA Tool, locate the Projects icon. The Projects icon is second from the left, and is between the Home icon and the Structures icon.
  2. Select the Projects icon. The Project Inventory screen is displayed.
  3. The Project Inventory screen displays a list of projects that have been entered in the tool. Notice that each project has its own row.
  4. Select the row of the project you wish to update. The project row becomes highlighted.
  5. At the bottom of the Project Inventory screen, locate the Update button. The Update button is between the New button and the Copy button.
  6. Select the Update button. The Project Info dialog box is displayed.
  7. Edit the data fields of the Project Info that need to be changed. In this example, you want to change the Project Point of Contact address information because of a change of street address.
  8. In the Project Point of Contact section, edit the street number and street name in the Address data field.
  9. Locate the Save button on the bottom right of the Project Info dialog box.
  10. When you are done entering your changes, select the Save button.
  11. Select OK on the “Project information saved successfully” dialog box.

This concludes the demonstration for how to update an existing project in the BCA Tool.

Copy an Existing Project

After you have added a new project, you may need to create a copy of that project to save time entering information about a similar project.

To copy an existing project, complete the following steps:

  1. On the Basic Navigation Toolbar, select the Projects icon to display the Project Inventory list. Notice that each project has its own row.
  2. Select the row of the project you wish to copy. The project row becomes highlighted.
  3. On the bottom right of the Project Inventory list, select the Copy button.

Project Copied Successfully

  1. After you select the Copy button, the message “Project has been copied successfully” is displayed.
  2. Select OK.
  3. Notice that the newly copied project is now listed in the My Projects window on the left and in the Project Inventory list on the right.
  4. As needed, update the information in the copied project as explained previously in the How to Update an Existing Project video.

Video Demonstration: How to Export an Existing Project: Video Transcript

This video demonstrates how to export an existing project in the BCA Tool.

You may need to export an existing project in order to share the project and all its associated information with another BCA user. The tool’s export functionality generates a zip file, which you can then provide to other BCA users, or attach to a grant sub-application.

To export an existing project, complete the following steps:

  1. On the basic navigation toolbar of the BCA Tool, locate the Import/Export icon. The Import/Export icon is third from the right, and is between the Export BCA icon and the Backup/Restore icon.
  2. Select the Import/Export icon. The BCA Import Export dialog box is displayed.
  3. The BCA Import Export dialog box has six tabs, the first of which is the BCA Export tab.
  4. Select the BCA Export tab. The BCA Export tab has two subtabs: Projects and Structures.
  5. Select the Projects subtab. A list of Active Projects is displayed.
  6. Each Active Project has a Project Number, Agency, and an Export checkbox.
  7. Select the Export checkbox of the project you wish to export.
  8. To the right of the list of Active Projects, Export Options are displayed.
  9. The first option asks: “Would you like to split up the exported file?”, and provides radio buttons for “No” and “Yes.”
  10. Select the “No” radio button.
  11. If you had selected “Yes,” another Export Option would have become active. This second option asks “How big would you like the files?”, and provides radio buttons for 5 Megabits and 10 Megabits.
  12. Since you selected “No” to splitting up the exported file, there is no need to select a size for the files.
  13. At the bottom left of the Projects subtab, select the BCA Export button. A Windows Explorer window is displayed.
  14. Navigate to the folder where you wish to save the generated export file.
  15. At the bottom of the Windows Explorer window, locate the File name text box.
  16. In the File name text box, enter a descriptive name for the BCA export file.
  17. Below the File name, notice that the file will be saved as a zip file type. This means that the generated export file is a zip file.
  18. On the bottom right of the Windows Explorer window, select the Save button.
  19. The export zip file is now saved in the folder you designated.
  20. Select OK on the “Export Successful” dialog box.
  21. Select the “X” button to close the BCA Export dialog box.

Please note, if you make any changes to the project after generating the export zip file, those changes will not be included in the zip file. Some tips are to:

  • Include the export date in the file name, e.g., “Floodsville_Acquisition_Oct15_2014Export.”
  • Notify the other user(s) if the project has been updated and that you are sending an updated project export zip file.

This concludes the demonstration for how to export an existing project in the BCA Tool.

Video Transcript: How to Import an Existing Project

This video demonstrates how to import an existing project in the BCA Tool.

You may need to import a project created by another BCA user. After successfully importing a project, you can view all the project details and even modify the project.

To import an existing project, you should have received a BCA export zip file from another user. After making sure you have the file, complete the following steps:

  1. Save the BCA Export zip file that you received from another BCA user to a folder on your computer.
  2. On the basic navigation toolbar of the BCA Tool, locate the Import/Export icon. The Import/Export icon is third from the right, and is between the Export BCA icon and the Backup/Restore icon.
  3. Select the Import/Export icon. The BCA Import/Export dialog box is displayed.
  4. The BCA Import/Export dialog box has six tabs, the second of which is the BCA Import tab.
  5. Select the BCA Import tab. The BCA Import tab has two subtabs: Import Structures and Import Projects.
  6. Select the Import Projects subtab. The confirmation message “Are you sure you want to import?” is displayed.
  7. Select Yes. A Windows Explorer window is displayed.
  8. Navigate to the folder where you saved the BCA Export zip file you received from another BCA user.
  9. Select the saved zip file.
  10. At the bottom right of the Windows Explorer window, select the Open button. The status message “Please wait while importing data” is displayed as the tool completes the import process.
  11. After import is complete, the confirmation message “Projects data successfully imported!” is displayed.
  12. Select OK.
  13. On the upper-right corner of the BCA Import Export dialog box, select the “X” button. This will close the dialog box.
  14. The BCA Home Screen is displayed with the My Projects window on the left, and the project you just imported is now listed.

Please note, if the BCA user made any changes to the project after generating the export zip file, those changes will not be included in the zip file.

As a tip, always check that you were given the latest project file to import.

This concludes the demonstration for how to import an existing project in the BCA Tool.

Lesson 4 Summary

This lesson covered Projects in the BCA Tool, including:

  • How to add a new project using the Quick Start Area
  • How to add a new project Using the Basic Navigation Toolbar
  • How to update an existing project
  • How to copy an existing project
  • How to import and export an existing project

Lesson 5 Overview

Welcome to Lesson 5. This lesson covers structures in the BCA Tool.

At the end of this lesson, you will be able to:

  • Add a new structure using the Quick Start Area and the Basic Navigation Toolbar
  • Update and copy an existing structure
  • Export and import an existing structure

Structures Overview

As explained in Lesson 4, every BCA is based on projects and structures. Also in Lesson 4, you successfully created a new project, which is Step One of the five BCA steps.

Lesson 5 covers Step Two of the five BCA steps: Create New Structure(s). As previously explained, a structure is generally a specific building, road, bridge, or utility that is being protected from direct damages, and the BCA itself is performed on each structure.

For each structure entered in the BCA Tool, the following data are required:

  • Structure Name
  • State

Add a New Structure Using the Quick Start Area

The recommended way to create new structures is by using the Create New Structure icon in the Quick Start Area.

To do so, complete the following steps:

  1. In the Quick Start Area, select the Create New Structure icon.
  2. The Add/Update Structure screen is displayed.
  3. Complete the data fields in the Add/Update Structure window.

The next page explains how to enter data in each Add/Update Structure field and save the information.

Enter and Save Structure Info

  1. To enter and save structure info, complete the following steps:
  2. Enter details about the structure:
    1. Structure Name
    2. Structure Type
    3. Historic Building
    4. Contact First and Last Name
    5. Address and City
    6. State and Country
    7. ZIP
    8. Latitude and Longitude
  3. Select the Save button.

Add a New Structure Using the Basic Navigation Toolbar

The alternative way to create new structures is by using the Structures icon in the Basic Navigation Toolbar.

To do so, complete the following steps:

  1. On the Basic Navigation Toolbar, select the Structures icon. The Structure Inventory list is displayed.
  2. On the bottom right of the list, select the New button
  3. The Add/Update Structure window is displayed. Complete the data fields of the Add/Update Structure window as explained on the previous page.
  4. Select the Save button.
  5. The message “Structure saved successfully” is displayed. Select OK.
  6. Notice that the newly added structure is now listed in the Structure Inventory screen.

Select this link for a full description of how to add a new structure using the Basic Navigation Toolbar.

How to Update an Existing Structure: Video Transcript

This video demonstrates how to update an existing structure in the BCA Tool.

After you have added a new structure, you may need to update that structure. You may need to add newly-available structure information, or some of the structure data you initially entered may need to be changed or deleted.

To update an existing structure, complete the following steps:

  1. On the basic navigation toolbar of the BCA Tool, locate the Structures icon. The Structures icon is third from the left, and is between the Projects icon and the Print icon.
  2. Select the Structures icon. The Structure Inventory screen is displayed.
  3. The Structure Inventory screen displays a list of structures that have been entered in the tool. Notice that each structure has its own row.
  4. Select the row of the structure you wish to update. The structure row becomes highlighted.
  5. At the bottom of the Structure Inventory screen, locate the Update button. The Update button is between the New button and the Copy button.
  6. Select the Update button. The Add/Update Structure dialog box is displayed.
  7. Edit the data fields of the structure info that need to be changed.
  8. In this example, you want to add the Latitude and Longitude information because you just obtained the information. Enter the information in the correct data fields.
  9. Locate the Save button on the bottom right of the Add/Update Structure dialog box.
  10. Select the Save button. The message “Structure saved successfully” is displayed.
  11. Select OK.

This concludes the demonstration for how to update an existing structure in the BCA Tool.

Copy an Existing Structure (1 of 2)

After you have added a new structure, you may need to create a copy of that structure to save time entering information about a similar structure.

Multiple Structures
A project could involve multiple structures, as in a structure acquisition and demolition project involving five residences in the same neighborhood that will have the same zip code, county, and state.

You could make a copy of the first structure, making sure to then use the “Update Structure” functionality of the tool with the information specific to the second structure. For example, you would most likely have to update the Contact First and Last Name, and the Latitude and Longitude in the copied structure.

Copy an Existing Structure (2 of 2)

To copy an existing structure, complete the following steps:

  1. Select the Structures icon on the basic navigation toolbar to display the Structure Inventory screen. Notice that each structure has its own row.
  2. Select the row of the structure you wish to copy. The structure row becomes highlighted.
  3. At the bottom of the Structure Inventory screen, select the Copy button.

Structure Copied Successfully

  1. After you select the Copy button, the message “Structure successfully copied” is displayed.
  2. Select OK.
  3. Notice that the newly copied structure is now listed in the Structure Inventory screen.

Video Transcript: How to Import an Existing Structure

This video demonstrates how to import an existing structure in the BCA Tool.

You may need to import a structure created by another BCA user. After successfully importing a structure, you can view all the structure details and even modify the structure. To import an existing structure, you should have received either an Excel structure export file or a comma separated values export file from another user.

After making sure you have the file, complete the following steps:

  1. Save the structure export file that you received from another BCA user to a folder on your computer.
  2. On the basic navigation toolbar of the BCA Tool, locate the Import/Export icon. The Import/Export icon is third from the right, and is between the Export BCA icon and Backup/Restore icon.
  3. Select the Import/Export icon. The BCA Import/Export dialog box is displayed.
  4. The BCA Import/Export dialog box has six tabs, with the Structure Import tab located fourth from the left.
  5. Select the Structure Import tab. The tab has two sections: For Excel Import and For CSV Import.
  6. Each tab has a radio button that you can select, depending on the format of the file you received from the other BCA user.
  7. For this demonstration, assume that you received an Excel file.
  8. Select the Excel Import radio button.
  9. To the right of the radio button, select the Open Excel File button. A Windows Explorer window is displayed.
  10. Navigate to the folder on your computer where you saved the structure export file you received from another BCA user.
  11. Select the structure export file.
  12. At the bottom of the Windows Explorer window, select the Open button. The BCA Tool’s Structure Import tab is displayed again.
  13. If there is more than one worksheet with data in the structure export Excel spreadsheet, a drop-down list of the available worksheets becomes available.
  14. Select the triangle to display the drop-down list.
  15. Select the worksheet that has the structure data you need to import.
  16. Select the Column Mapping button.
  17. Two columns are displayed, the System Columns and the User Columns.
  18. The System Columns are the structure data fields in the BCA Tool.
  19. The User Columns are the columns in the imported Excel file.
  20. For each System Column item, select the appropriate User Column that maps to the system column. For example, if the System Column or the BCA Tool structure data field is “County,” select the correct User Column that provides that information. Display the available choices by hovering the mouse on the right side of the User Column, until a triangle becomes visible. Select the triangle in order to display the drop-down list of available columns.
  21. After completing this step for each System Column item, select the Import button at the bottom of the Structure Import tab.
  22. The message “Import Successful” is displayed. Select OK.
  23. Select the “X” at the upper right corner of the BCA Import/Export dialog box.
  24. The box is closed and the Home screen is displayed.
  25. On the basic navigation toolbar of the BCA Tool, locate the Structures icon. The Structures icon is third from the left, and is between the Projects icon and Print icon.
  26. Select the Structures icon. The Structure Inventory screen is displayed, with the newly imported structure.

Please note, if the BCA user made any changes to the structure after generating the structure export file, those changes will not be included in the file you have.

Tip: Always check that you were given the latest structure file to import.

This concludes the demonstration for how to import an existing structure in the BCA Tool.

 

Video Transcript: How to Export an Existing Structure

This video demonstrates how to export an existing structure in the BCA Tool.

You may need to export an existing structure in order to share the structure and all its associated information with another BCA user. The tool’s export structure functionality generates either a Microsoft Excel file or a comma separated values (.csv) file, which you can then provide to other BCA users.

To export an existing structure, complete the following steps:

  1. On the basic navigation toolbar of the BCA Tool, locate the Import/Export icon. The Import/Export icon is third from the right, and is between the Export BCA icon and the Backup/Restore icon.
  2. Select the Import/Export icon. The BCA Import/Export dialog box is displayed.
  3. The BCA Import/Export dialog box has six tabs, with the Structure Export tab located third from the left.
  4. Select the Structure Export tab. Note that each structure has its own row.
  5. Locate the row of the structure you wish to export.
  6. The eighth column of the structure row provides an Export checkbox. Click inside the checkbox to select it.
  7. At the bottom left of the Structure Export tab, there are two buttons, Export to Excel and Export to Text File.
  8. The Export to Excel button will generate a Microsoft Excel file containing the structure information, while the Export to Text File button will generate a comma separated values file.
  9. Let’s look at both options, starting with the Export to Excel option.
  10. Select the Export to Excel button. A Windows Explorer window is displayed.
  11. Navigate to the location on your computer where you wish to save the Excel file. This demonstration will show the file being saved to the Desktop.
  12. At the bottom of the Windows Explorer window, locate the File name text box.
  13. Enter a specific and descriptive file name for the structure export file.
  14. Notice in the Save as type box that the file is going to be saved as an Excel file.
  15. Select the Save button. The Export Successful dialog box is displayed.
  16. Select OK.
  17. Now try the Export to Text File option, with the same structure already selected for export.
  18. This time, select the Export to Text File button. A Windows Explorer window is displayed.
  19. Navigate to the location on your computer where you wish to save the comma separated values file. Save the file to the Desktop.
  20. At the bottom of the Windows Explorer window, locate the File name text box.
  21. Enter a specific and descriptive file name for the structure export file.
  22. Notice in the Save as type box that the file is going to be saved as file with the extension .csv.
  23. Select the Save button. The Export Successful dialog box is displayed.
  24. Select OK.
  25. On the upper right corner of the BCA Import Export dialog box, select the X button. This will close the dialog box.
  26. Navigate to the Desktop and double-click the newly saved Excel file to view the exported structure information in Excel.
  27. Double-click the newly saved .csv file to view the exported structure information as comma-separated values.

Note: If you make any changes to the structure after generating the structure export file, those changes will not be included.

Tips:

  • Include the export date in the file name, e.g., “123_ABC_Street_Oct15_2014Export.”
  • Notify the other user(s) if the structure has been updated and that you are sending an updated structure export file.

This concludes the demonstration for how to export an existing structure in the BCA Tool.

Lesson 5 Summary

This lesson covered structures in the BCA Tool, including:

  • How to add a new structure using the Quick Start Area
  • How to add a new structure Using the Basic Navigation Toolbar
  • How to update an existing structure
  • How to copy an existing structure
  • How to import and export an existing structure

Lesson 6 Overview

Welcome to Lesson 6. This lesson covers Adding Structures to a Project in the BCA Tool.

At the end of this lesson, you will be able to add structures to a project in the BCA Tool.

Add Structures to Project Overview

Of the five BCA steps, you have completed Step One: Create New Project and Step Two: Create New Structure(s).

Lesson 6 explains how to complete Step Three: Add Structures to Project.

Add Structures to Project Overview

The recommended way to add structures to project is to use the Quick Start Area. To do so, complete the following steps:

  1. In the Quick Start Area, select the Add Structures to Project icon.
  2. A list of projects is displayed. Select the project you wish to add structures to.
  3. The Add/Remove Structures dialog box is displayed.
  4. The left section of the dialog box provides a list of structures that have been entered in the tool.
  5. The right section shows the name of the project you selected.
  6. The middle section provides Add and Remove buttons for adding/removing structures to/from projects.
  7. From the list of structures on the left, select the checkbox to the left of the structure(s that you wish to add to the project.
  8. Select the Add button in the middle section.
  9. Notice that the structure(s) is (are) now listed under the Project on the right section.
  10. At the bottom of the Add/Remove Structures dialog box, select OK.
  11. The message “Add/Remove Structures Succeeded” is displayed. Select OK.

Select this link for a full description of how to add structures to a project using the BCA Tool Quick Start Area.

Lesson 6 Summary

This lesson covered how to add structures to a project in the BCA Tool.

Lesson 7 Overview

Welcome to Lesson 7. This lesson covers starting a new mitigation in the BCA Tool.

At the end of this lesson, you will be able to start a new mitigation in the BCA Tool.

Start New Mitigation Overview

Of the five BCA steps, you have completed:

  • Step One: Create New Project
  • Step Two: Create New Structure(s)
  • Step Three: Add Structures to Project

Lesson 7 explains how to complete Step Four: Start New Mitigation. This is where the analysis of a specific mitigation project begins.

While this lesson explains how to start the analysis, the succeeding course units will explain how to complete the analysis and determine the project BCR for different hazard types using the appropriate BCA Module.

Video Transcript: How to Start a New Mitigation

The recommended way to start a new mitigation is to use the Quick Start Area. To do so, complete the following steps:

  1. In the Quick Start Area, locate the Start New Mitigation icon in the middle part.
  2. Select Start New Mitigation. A list of the projects you have entered in the tool is displayed.
  3. Select the project you wish to begin the benefit-cost analysis for. A list of structures associated with that project is displayed.
  4. Select the structure you wish to begin the benefit-cost analysis for. The Mitigation Information screen is displayed.
  5. Although the course will explain the analysis process in each specific BCA hazard module, for now note the important items.
  6. At the top left of the screen, notice that the Project name is listed followed by the Structure name.
  7. Below that, notice that more structure details are provided such as structure name, structure type, address, city, state, county, and zip code.
  8. At the bottom part of the screen, notice the options for starting the new mitigation. You will select the correct radio button depending on the BCA hazard module that you will be completing the analysis for.

This concludes the demonstration for how to start a new mitigation in the BCA Tool.

Lesson 7 Summary

This lesson covered how to start a new mitigation in the BCA Tool.

Lesson 8 Overview

Welcome to Lesson 8. This lesson covers some general features of the BCA Tool that are available in all the BCA Modules.

At the end of this lesson, you will be able to use the following general features of the BCA Tool:

  • Export BCA
  • Print BCA Report
  • Backup or restore the tool’s database on your computer

Export BCA

After completing the analysis for a mitigation project, you can complete the last of the BCA steps, Step Five: Export BCA.

You learned how to export a BCA in Lesson 4. Additional examples of exporting a BCA are provided in the succeeding course lessons.

Video Demonstration: How to Print a BCA Report

This video demonstrates how to print a BCA report in the BCA Tool. The BCA Report for the completed analysis can also be printed. Some Applicants may require the BCA Report to be submitted along with the exported BCA file. The BCA Report can be printed out in Adobe PDF, Microsoft® Word, or Microsoft® Excel format.

To print the BCA Report, complete the following steps:

  1. On the basic navigation toolbar of the BCA Tool, locate the Print icon. The Print icon is fourth from the left, and is between the Structures icon and the Export BCA icon.
  2. Select the Print icon. A list of BCA projects is displayed.
  3. Select the project for which you wish to print a report. The BCA Report dialog box is displayed.
  4. The Menu Bar of the dialog box shows the current page of the report, the total number of pages, and icons for navigating through the report pages.
  5. To the right of that is the Refresh icon, followed by the Print, Print Layout, Page Setup, and Export icons.
  6. To the right of the icons is the Zoom selection box, providing options for Page Width, Whole Page, and 500 to 25% zoom value.
  7. Select the triangle next to the Export icon. The Excel, PDF, and Word options are displayed.
  8. For this demonstration, select PDF. A Windows Explorer dialog box is displayed.
  9. Navigate to the folder where you wish to save the BCA Report.
  10. At the bottom of the Windows Explorer window, notice that the tool provides the default file name of “BCA Report,” and that the file type is pdf.
  11. You may type over the file name if you wish to give the report a different name.
  12. Select the Save button.
  13. Select the “X” button to close the BCA Report window.
  14. To view the report, navigate to the folder where you saved the BCA Report file. Double-click the file to open it and view its contents.
  15. To email the BCA Report file to another party, use the Attach File functionality of the email program.
  16. To attach the file to a grant application, use the Attach File functionality of the grant application program, or include the BCA Report file in the attachments of the grant application.

This concludes the demonstration for how to print a BCA report in the BCA Tool.

Backup/Restore

Backup/Restore is an advanced BCA Tool functionality that is not commonly used by the majority of BCA Tool users.

It is an advanced functionality because it provides the same benefit as a computer hard drive backup, except that it backs up the BCA Tool’s database that is on your computer. The resulting file is a “.bak” file.

The Restore functionality uses the .bak file to restore the tool’s database from the last backup.

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Tip
For the majority of BCA Tool users, the recommended procedure for backing up your projects and structures is to export projects and structures to a designated folder on your computer or on your organization’s network drives. This ensures that any information you have entered and saved previously can be imported back into the tool.

Lesson 8 Summary

This lesson covered other BCA Tool features, including:

  • Exporting a BCA
  • How to print a BCA report
  • Backup/Restore of the tool’s database

Lesson 9 Overview

Welcome to Lesson 9. This lesson covers deleting projects and structures in the BCA Tool.

At the end of this lesson, you will be able to delete projects and structures that you have saved in the BCA Tool.

Delete Projects and Structures Overview

It is good practice to keep the list of structures and projects in the BCA Tool as clean as possible. To this end, you may need to delete unwanted and unneeded projects and structures.

Most structures that have been saved in the BCA Tool have been associated with projects. Structures that have been associated with projects can only be deleted by first deleting the project.

If you need to delete a structure that is currently associated with a project, you need to first dissociate the structure from the project.

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Tip
A “+” sign to the left of the Structure Name in the Structure Inventory window indicates that the structure is currently associated with a project.

Delete an Existing Project

To delete an existing project, complete the following steps:

  1. On the Basic Navigation Toolbar, select the Projects icon to display the Project Inventory list. Notice that each project has its own row.
  2. At the end of the row of the project you wish to delete, select the Delete icon.
  3. The warning message Are you sure you want to delete project?” is displayed.
  4. Select Yes.
  5. The deleted project and its associated structures are no longer displayed in the My Projects Window on the left, and the deleted project is no longer displayed in the Project Inventory list.

Select this link for a full description of how to delete an existing project.

Video Transcript: How to Dissociate an Existing Structure from a Project

This video demonstrates how to dissociate an existing structure from a project in the BCA Tool.

To dissociate a structure from a project, complete the following steps:

  1. On the Basic Navigation Toolbar of the BCA Tool, locate the Structures icon. The Structures icon is third from the left, and is between the Projects icon and the Print icon.
  2. Select the Structures icon. The Structure Inventory is displayed.
  3. Check for the plus icon to the left of the Structure Name. Select the plus icon.
  4. The Project Name associated with the structure is displayed. Take note of the Project Name.
  5. On the basic navigation toolbar of the BCA Tool, locate the Home icon. The Home icon is first from the left, and on the left of the Projects icon.
  6. Select the Home icon. The Quick Start Area is displayed.
  7. In the Quick Start Area, select the Add Structures to Project icon. A list of projects is displayed.
  8. Select the project associated with the structure you would like to dissociate. The Add/Remove Structures dialog box is displayed.
  9. In the Add/Remove Structures dialog box, locate the structure in the right column where the structures included in the project are listed.
  10. Select the checkbox of the structure you wish to dissociate from the project.
  11. Select the Remove button.
  12. Select OK.
  13. The “Add/Remove Structures Succeeded” message dialog box is displayed. Select OK.

Note on the left side of the screen in the My Projects Window, the structure has been removed.

This concludes the demonstration for how to dissociate an existing structure from a project in the BCA Tool.

Lesson 9 Summary

This lesson covered deleting projects and structures that you saved in the BCA Tool.

Lesson 10 Overview

Welcome to Lesson 10. This lesson covers the Flood Module overview. At the end of this lesson, you will be able to explain the basic concepts and theory of the BCA Tool’s Flood Module.

BCA Flood Module: Basic Concepts and Theory: Video Transcript

BCA Flood Module: Basic Concepts and Theory: Video Transcript

This video explains the basic concepts and theory of the Flood Module of the BCA Tool.

Let’s start with a brief illustration of how the Flood Module works.

First, we have a structure—a residence in this case. Regardless of whether the mitigation project is to acquire and demolish, elevate, or complete another flood mitigation activity, the data needed to run a Flood Module analysis are the same. Note that for the house, the first floor elevation—or FFE—must be known. It is also necessary to know details about the house like the square footage, replacement value, whether there is a basement, the number of stories, and other data inputs.

Next, the flood elevation values for the 10-, 50-, 100-, and 500-year floods is another requirement and most often come from a Flood Insurance Study. The depth of flooding for these four flood magnitudes is the difference between the flood elevation value and FFE value.

With the depth of flooding known, it is possible to calculate damages. This illustration shows an example of a “Depth-Damage Function,” or DDF. Note that the DDF shown here is for a one-story home with no basement. The BCA Tool automatically uses the correct DDF depending on the answers to questions about the structure.

From the DDF and the questions about the structure, the BCA Tool calculates the amount of damage for the before-mitigation scenario and the after-mitigation scenario. The difference in these two amounts is the impact of the project, otherwise known as project benefits.

Note that this demonstration only shows how the BCA Tool calculates physical damage to the structure and contents. The BCA Tool also allows for additional benefits like displacement costs, environmental, social, and other benefits when they are applicable to the project.

This concludes the explanation of the basic concepts and theory of the Flood Module of the BCA Tool.

Lesson 10 Summary

Lesson 10 covered the Flood Module basic concepts and theory.

Lesson 11 Overview

Welcome to Lesson 11. This lesson covers the Flood Module walk-through.

At the end of this lesson, you will be able to:

  • Explain Flood Module data and documentation requirements
  • Explain Flood Module key data inputs
  • Complete a BCA using the Flood Module

BCA Steps Review

With the basic concepts and theory of the Flood Module in mind, you are now ready to conduct a BCA for a proposed flood mitigation project.

Remember that the following five steps are required to complete a BCA:

  • Step One: Create new project.
  • Step Two: Create new structure(s).
  • Step Three: Add structures to project.
  • Step Four: Start new mitigation. This means starting the analysis of a mitigation project.
  • Step Five: Export BCA

Flood Module Walk-Through Scenario

The following screens will walk you through the process of conducting a BCA and generating the BCR for a Structure Elevation Project scenario.

Select this link to display the Structure Elevation Project scenario in another window. It is recommended that you keep the scenario window open while completing the walk-through, or print the scenario.

Step One: Create New Project

To start the Flood Module walk-through, complete the following steps:

  • Create a new project.*
  • In the Project Info window, enter the data in Tables 1 and 2 of the Structure Elevation Project scenario.
  • On the bottom right of the screen, select the Save button.

*Remember that there are two ways to create a new project:

  • The recommended way is to select the Create New Project icon in the Quick Start Area.
  • The alternative way is to select Projects in the basic navigation toolbar and then select the New button on the bottom right of the screen.

Step Two: Create New Structure(s)

To continue the Flood Module walk-through, complete the following steps:

Create a new structure.*

  • In the Add/Update Structure window, enter the data in Table 3 of the Structure Elevation Project scenario.
  • On the bottom right of the screen, select the Save button.

*Remember that there are two ways to create a new structure:

  • The recommended way is to select the Create New Structure icon in the Quick Start Area.
  • The alternative way is to select Structures in the basic navigation toolbar and then select the New button on the bottom right of the screen.

Step Three: Add Structure(s) to Project

To continue the Flood Module walk-through, complete the following steps:

  • In the Quick Start Area, select the Add Structures to Project icon.
  • Select the “Smithville Elevation” project.
  • In the Add/Remove Structures screen, check the box before “335 Aspen Court.”
  • Select the Add button.
  • Select the OK button. The message “Add/Remove Structures Succeeded” is displayed.
  • Select the OK button.

Remember: There are two ways to add structures to a project. Select this link to review the two ways to add structures to a project.

Step Four: Start New Mitigation

To continue the Flood Module walk-through, complete the following steps:

  • In the Quick Start Area, select the Start New Mitigation icon.
  • Select “Smithville Elevation” as the project, and then select “335 Aspen Court” as the structure.
  • At the bottom of the Mitigation Information screen, select “Flood.”
  • In the upper right part of the screen, select Save and Continue to display the next screen.

Remember: There are two ways to start new mitigation. Select this link to review the two ways to start new mitigation.

The purpose of this screen is to offer users the use of a Short Form or a Long Form wizard for completing a Flood Module BCA.

Short Form:

  • Simplified design intended to provide a quick, preliminary BCR using data entry boxes on one screen
  • Does not include all of the data inputs that can generate project benefits
  • Designed for experienced BCA Tool users
  • Offers no Help content
  • Data entered will be lost if analysis is later changed to the Long Form

The use of the Short Form wizard is discussed at the end of Lesson 11.

Long Form

  • The Long Form is used to complete a BCA that will be submitted according to FEMA’s Hazard Mitigation Assistance (HMA) program guidelines
  • Once you select “Long Form,” you cannot change the analysis back to the “Short Form.”

To continue the Flood Module walk-through, complete the following steps:

  • Select “Long Form.”
  • In the upper right part of the screen, select Save and Continue to display the next screen.

Flood Mitigation Type

The purpose of this screen is to identify the flood mitigation type. You can determine this from the detailed scope of work included in the project subapplication.

The selected flood mitigation type determines the data that the tool will need to complete the analysis. For example, if “Elevation” is selected as the flood mitigation type, the tool will ask for data on how high the structure will be elevated. The tool will not ask for such data when analyzing an Acquisition project.

To continue the Flood Module walk-through, complete the following steps:

  • Select “Elevation” as the flood mitigation type.
  • In the upper right part of the screen, select Save and Continue to display the next screen.
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Tip
On this screen, you can hover the mouse over each flood mitigation project type to display a brief description of that project type.

Full Flood – Questionnaire: Key Data Inputs

The purpose of this screen is to verify that all data are available that would be required to perform a BCA in the Flood Module. If the responses to the questionnaire on this screen fail that verification, the tool automatically transfers the analysis to the DFA Module (discussed in Unit 3 of this course).

Important data inputs on the screen include:

  • What is the source of your flood data?
  • Is the project located in a Special Flood Hazard Area (SFHA) FEMA-delineated floodplain?
  • Is the source of flooding a river?
  • Does your flood data delineate the flood elevations and discharges for four different frequencies for the project area?
  • Do you have a streambed elevation?
  • Do you have a First Floor Elevation?

Select this link for a complete description of the data inputs for the Questionnaire.

What is the source of your flood data?

To complete this data field, select one of the following options:

  • Flood Insurance Study (FIS) A study that provides flood data for larger areas like an entire community or county. The FEMA FIS Tutorial provides background information and is a prerequisite of this course. To access the FIS Tutorial, go to Flood Hazard Mapping Online Tutorials: http://www.fema.gov/online-tutorials on the FEMA website, scroll down to the Other Tutorials section, and then select the FIS Tutorial link.
  • Hydrology & Hydraulics (H&H) Study A study completed by qualified professional engineers using modern modeling techniques and is oftentimes required to demonstrate the effectiveness of proposed drainage improvement projects.
  • Both If both FIS and H&H studies are available, there is an abundance of flood data to use in conducting the BCA.
  • I have no flood data Many locations do not have an FIS, or ways to obtain the flood data needed for a Flood Module analysis. If you select this option, the tool will display a warning message that you will be redirected to the DFA Module.

Select “Cancel” to stay in the Flood Module, or select “OK” to be redirected to the DFA Module.

Is the project located in a Special Flood Hazard Area (SFHA) FEMA-delineated floodplain?

To complete this data field, select one of the following options:

  • Yes The project is located in an SFHA FEMA-delineated floodplain. The FEMA FIRM Tutorial shows you how to determine this and is a prerequisite of this course. To access the FIRM Tutorial, go to the Flood Hazard Mapping Online Tutorials: http://www.fema.gov/online-tutorials on the FEMA website, scroll down to the Other Tutorials section, and then select the FIRM Tutorial link.
  • No The project is not located in an SFHA FEMA-delineated floodplain. It is possible for a project to be situated outside of an SFHA, especially if it is a stormwater flood problem. However, if the project is not in an SFHA, it is likely that no FIS data will be available.
  • Unknown It has not been determined that the project is in a mapped floodplain.

Is the source of flooding a river?

To complete this data field, select one of the following options:

  • Yes Riverine flooding is causing the need for flood mitigation.
  • No Coastal flooding is causing the need for flood mitigation.

Does your flood data delineate the flood elevations and discharges for four different frequencies for the project area?

To complete this data field, select one of the following options:

  • Yes Flood profile for 10-, 50-, 100-, and 500-year floods and a summary of discharges are available.
  • No The above data are not available. The tool will display a warning message that you will be redirected to the DFA Module.

Select “Cancel” to stay in the Flood Module, or select “OK” to be redirected to the DFA Module.

Do you have a streambed elevation?

To complete this data field, select one of the following options:

  • Yes Streambed elevation data is available. Having this data available allows the analysis to be completed within the Flood Module.
  • No Streambed elevation data is not available. The tool will display a warning message that you will be redirected to the DFA Module.

Select “Cancel” to stay in the Flood Module, or select “OK” to be redirected to the DFA Module.

Do you have a First Floor Elevation?

To complete this data field, select one of the following options:

  • Yes First Floor Elevation data is available. Having this data available allows the analysis to be completed within the Flood Module.
  • No First Floor Elevation data is not available. The tool will display a warning message that you will be redirected to the DFA Module.

Select “Cancel” to stay in the Flood Module, or select “OK” to be redirected to the DFA Module.

Full Flood – Questionnaire

To continue the Flood Module walk-through, complete the following steps:

  • In the Full Flood-Questionnaire screen, enter the data in Table 4 of the Structure Elevation Project scenario.
  • In the upper right part of the screen, select Save and Continue to display the next screen.

Cost Estimation Info: Overview

The purpose of this screen is to establish the “costs” (or C) needed to calculate the BCR. This Cost Estimation Info screen is the same for all BCA modules, so it will be explained in detail here and referenced in all succeeding course modules.

The Cost Estimation screen has five important sections that will be explained in detail in the following pages.

Cost Estimation Info: Project Useful Life

In IS-276, you learned about the PUL. The Help topic “How do I determine Project Useful Life?” provides the PUL table with FEMA standard values for project types.

Select this link to access the PUL table with FEMA standard values.

When using the standard PUL values provided in the table, provide justification text that you are using standard values from the FEMA PUL table. There is no need to provide back-up documentation.

If you wish to override the standard value with a higher PUL, you must provide back-up documentation, such as official vendor publications or engineering data from a reliable source.

You will learn how to enter justification text and attach back-up documentation within the tool on the next two pages.

"Remember!" in red talk bubble
To access the Help topics, go to the My Projects window on the left side of the BCA Tool screen and select Help at the bottom. Remember also that Help topics are displayed depending on which BCA screen you are currently viewing. To access the PUL Help topic, you will need to be in the Cost Estimation Info screen.

Project Useful Life

To continue the Flood Module walk-through, enter the PUL value in Table 5 of the Structure Elevation Project scenario in the Project Useful Life data field.

Justification Text

Provide justification text to explain data you enter in the tool. This allows reviewers to evaluate the validity of the entered data.

The tool provides a way to associate justification text with the corresponding data field.

To provide justification text for the data you entered in the Project Useful Life data field, complete the following steps (the Cost Estimation Info screenshot is annotated with the step number):

  1. Click the cursor inside the Project Useful Life data field.
  2. The Justification/Documentation section at the bottom of the screen displays “Project Useful Life” as the corresponding data field.
  3. In the text box, type “See Project Useful Life table.”
  4. Select “Save Justification.”

Backup Documentation

Together with the justification text, the tool provides a way to attach backup documentation to a corresponding data field.

To attach backup documentation for the data you entered in the Project Useful Life data field, complete the following steps: (the Cost Estimation Info screenshot will be annotated with the step number):

  1. Click the cursor inside the Project Useful Life data field.
  2. In the Justification/Documentation section at the bottom of the screen, select the Upload Documents tab. The Upload Documents table is displayed.
  3. Select Add New Document. The Windows Explorer navigation dialog box is displayed.
  4. Navigate to the documentation file that you wish to upload.
  5. Highlight the file.
  6. Select Open. The file is now displayed in the Upload Documents table.

Justification/Backup Documentation Icons

Icon with exclamation point inside red circle.
The purpose of the exclamation point inside the circle icon is to indicate that the BCA Tool expects justification text or backup documentation for the data you entered.
paper clip icon
The purpose of the paper clip icon is to indicate that a document has been attached. You may need to click between data fields before the paper clip icon is displayed.
Note that the BCA Tool is able to check if justification or documentation has been provided for the data fields that need documentation support. However, the tool does not check if the justification text or the attached documentation is accurate, complete, consistent, or reliable.

Cost Estimation Info: Project Costs

The Mitigation Project Cost data field provides the basis for the “cost” value in the BCA. Higher cost values lower the final BCR.

Valid and reliable sources of this data include:

  • Licensed building contractors or engineers
  • National cost estimating guides (e.g., RS Means, Marshall & Swift)
  • Historic costs of completed similar mitigation projects

Support the data by uploading the cost estimate document provided by the reliable source.

To continue the Flood Module walk-through, enter the Mitigation Project Cost value provided in Table 5 of the Structure Elevation Project scenario in the Mitigation Project Cost data field.

Cost Estimation Info: Maintenance Costs

The Annual Project Maintenance Cost data field represents an added, future cost that should be included in the cost-effectiveness calculation. Maintenance keeps the completed project functioning to the designed level of effectiveness.

Support the maintenance cost data values by attaching maintenance cost documentation from reliable and competent sources such as licensed building contractors or engineers.

Annual maintenance costs can have a significant impact on a proposed project’s cost-effectiveness. For example, a wildfire hazardous fuels reduction mitigation project will incur maintenance costs and may need to be actively maintained, possibly even several times a year.

To continue the Flood Module walk-through, enter the Maintenance Cost value provided in Table 5 of the Structure Elevation Project scenario in the Maintenance Costs data field.

Video Transcript: How to Use the BCA Cost Estimator Tool

This video demonstrates how to use the BCA Cost Estimator Tool. The purpose of this demonstration is to show you how to use the tool’s built-in Cost Estimation functionality if you do not have a project cost estimate provided by a professional. Please note that this demonstration is not part of the BCA Flood Module walk-through that uses the Structure Elevation Project scenario. To use the cost estimator, complete the following steps:

  1. Select your answer for the question “Do you have a detailed scope of work?” Even though you may not have a detailed cost estimate provided to you, you still must have a detailed scope of work. Therefore, for this question the answer must be “Yes.”
  2. Select your answer for the question “Do you have a detailed cost estimate for the entire project?” Select “No.”
  3. The Summary of Cost Estimation section becomes active. This section is where the built-in Cost Estimator tool begins.
  4. The Cost Estimator organizes costs into four main groups:
    • Pre-Construction Costs
    • Construction Costs
    • Construction Markups
    • Annual Project Maintenance Costs
  5. You can access a cost group by selecting the link. After selecting the link of a cost group, sub-groups of costs will be displayed.
  6. For this demonstration, select the Construction Costs link. The subgroups of Demolition, New Construction, and Site Restoration costs are displayed.The sub-groups of of costs that are displayed change depending on the type of mitigation activity selected. For example, the New Construction costs sub-group would not be displayed for a structure acquisition and demolition project, but is displayed here because this is a structure elevation project.
  7. Select the New Construction link. A cost estimation table is displayed with the following columns from left to right:
    • The Description column is for potential budget line items.
    • The P, H, and C columns indicate how the cost of the budget line item was determined.
      • P stands for Published. Check the box under this column if the source of the cost documentation is a regional or national cost estimation resource like RS Means or Marshall and Swift.
      • H stands for Historic. Check the box under this column if there are recent costs for similar projects that have been implemented by the community.
      • C stands for Contractor-provided. Check the box under this column if the cost estimate was provided by a contractor.
    • The Quantity column is for the number of units of the line item.
    • The Unit column is for the unit of the line item needed for the project. Examples of commonly-used units are hour, square foot, or each.
    • The Cost column is for the cost per unit in dollars.
    • The Task Cost column is for the quantity times cost, and is a system-calculated value.
    • To continue this demonstration, enter the values for the following budget line items:
    • In the row of the budget line item New water, select the checkbox under the P column to indicate that the source of the cost estimate is a national cost estimation guide, which is a “Published” source, enter the number 1 in the Quantity column, enter Each in the Unit column, and enter the amount $2,000 in the Cost column.
    • In the row of the budget line item New sewer, select the checkbox under the P column, enter the number 1 in the Quantity column, enter Each in the Unit column, and enter the amount $2,000 in the Cost column.
    • In the row of the budget line item New electric, select the checkbox under the P column, enter the number 1 in the Quantity column, enter Each in the Unit column, and enter the amount $2,000 in the Cost column.
    • In the row of the budget line item Storm water management, select the checkbox under the H column to indicate that the cost estimate was obtained from a similar project in the community and therefore a “Historic” source, enter the number 1 in the Quantity column, enter Each in the Unit column, and enter the amount $500 in the Cost column.
    • In the row of the budget line item New foundation – spread footings/walls, select the checkbox under the P column, enter the number 1 in the Quantity column, enter Each in the Unit column, and enter the amount $120,000 in the Cost column.
  8. Note that at the bottom of the table, the tool provides blank rows for adding budget line items that are not included in the table. Since a new utility room will be constructed as part of the project, it needs to be added as a budget line item. To do so, complete the following steps:
    • Click the cursor inside the Description column of the blank row and type “New utility room”.
    • Select the checkbox under the “C” column to indicate that the cost is a contractor-provided estimate.
    • Enter the number 100 in the Quantity column.
    • Enter square foot in the Unit column.
    • Enter the amount $150 in the Cost column.
    • The system should calculate the Task Cost to be $15,000.
  9. Next, you need to delete budget line items in the cost estimate table that are not included in the project. To do so, complete the following steps:
    • Position the cursor on the blue rectangle to the left of the budget line item row. The row is highlighted.
    • Press the Delete key on the keyboard. The message “You have selected 1 row for deletion. Choose Yes to delete the row or No to exit.” is displayed.
    • Select “Yes.”
    • Repeat for each budget line item that is not included in the project.
  10. On the bottom right of the screen, select Save. Note the total New Construction cost.
  11. On the upper left part of the screen, select Save and Go Back to go back to the Cost Estimation Info screen.
  12. Notice that the New Construction cost is carried over to the Mitigation Project Cost data field of the Cost Estimation Info screen.This concludes the demonstration for how to use the BCA Cost Estimator Tool.

Cost Estimation Info: Project Cost Escalation

This functionality is used in situations where the mitigation project cost was obtained from similar projects that were completed in the past and the costs no longer reflect current prices.

Please note that this page explains how to use the Cost Escalation functionality and is not part of the Flood Module walk-through that uses the Structure Elevation project scenario.

Select each link to learn more about Project Cost Escalation data inputs and the Escalate button.

  1. Does estimate reflect current prices?
  2. Cost Basis Year
  3. Construction Start Year
  4. Construction End Year
  5. Escalate Button

Does estimate reflect current prices?

In the Does estimate reflect current prices? data field, select “No.” The data fields for project cost escalation become active.

Cost Basis Year

In the Cost Basis Year data field, enter the year the cost estimate was developed.

Construction Start Year

In the Construction Start Year data field, enter the year that the construction is estimated to begin.

Remember to factor in time for the application to be reviewed, approved, and awarded. If needed, consult your State or Tribal Hazard Mitigation Officer.

Construction End Year

In the Construction End Year data field, enter the year that the construction is estimated to end.

To determine the end year, check the proposed project schedule for an estimate of the project completion date if the project is approved and implemented.

Escalate Button

When you select the Escalate button after entering values in the cost escalation data fields, the tool will escalate the project costs to the midpoint of the Construction Start Year and Construction End Year values.

The Project Escalation data field located to the left of the Escalate button displays the escalation amount.

The tool will then add this Project Escalation amount to the Mitigation Project Cost amount, and the sum of the two amounts will be displayed in the Final Mitigation Project Cost data field.

Cost Estimation Info

To continue the Flood Module walk-through, complete the following steps:

  • Check to make sure that you selected “Yes” to the question “Does estimate reflect current prices?”.
  • In the upper right part of the screen, select Save and Continue to display the Volunteer Costs screen.

Volunteer Costs: Key Data Inputs

The purpose of this screen is to calculate the total cost of volunteers required to provide volunteer emergency services after a disaster occurs related to the structure included in the mitigation project.

Examples of volunteer costs that will be prevented or avoided by implementing the mitigation project include volunteer labor to fix a flooded residence or volunteer sandbagging to prevent the loss of function of a water treatment plant.

Mitigation projects that eliminate or reduce the need for volunteer labor can claim a benefit. Data can be obtained from sources like:

  • Volunteer sign-in sheets from a reliable source such as the American Red Cross or Emergency Management Agency
  • Estimates by experts
  • Estimates transferred from similar past disasters or a signed affidavit from a homeowner showing the number of people and estimated number of hours
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Tip
Per diem days for non-local charities should only count the number of days spent repairing the actual structure(s) being mitigated in the project.

Volunteer Costs

To continue the Flood Module walk-through, complete the following steps:

  • Enter the data in Table 6 of the Structure Elevation Project scenario in the Volunteer Costs screen.
  • In the upper right part of the screen, select Save and Continue to display the next screen.

Social Benefits: Key Data Inputs

The purpose of this screen is to calculate the value of mental stress and anxiety and lost productivity. The screen includes the following data fields:

  • Treatment Costs per Person are FEMA standard values
  • Productivity Loss per Person are FEMA standard values

The Help topics provide an explanation of how the above standard values were determined.

  • Number of Persons: Number of people living in the residence who would be impacted by the flood events that the project is seeking to mitigate
  • Number of Workers: Number of occupants of the residence who are employed full-time
  • Retirees and children should not be counted since they have no productivity that would be lost because of a flood event
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Tip
If the Number of Workers is unknown, a default value of 1.22 can be used. This is the national value for the number of workers per household that comes from the 2013 American Community Survey 1-Year Estimates/U.S. Census data.

Social Benefits

To continue the Flood Module walk-through, complete the following steps:

  • Enter the data in Table 7 of the Structure Elevation Project scenario in the Social Benefits screen.
  • In the upper right part of the screen, select Save and Continue to display the next screen.

Flood Data Source

The purpose of this screen is to provide details about the flood data source, mostly for use by the subapplication reviewer. The information is also available in the subapplication.

The data fields on this screen are not required for the BCR calculation.

To continue the Flood Module walk-through, complete the following steps:

  • Enter the data in Table 8 of the Structure Elevation Project scenario in the Flood Data Source screen.
  • In the upper right part of the screen, select Save and Continue to display the next screen.

Riverine Elevation and Discharge Data

The purpose of this screen is to provide the flood elevation data (depth of flooding) for the different flood event probabilities.

The elevation data then provides the basis for determining damages from the Depth Damage Function (DDF).

The DDF is used to correlate the flood depths to damage amounts, which are part of the avoided losses of the project.

The following page explains the First Floor Elevation data field.

First Floor Elevation

The FFE data field is important because, together with flood elevations, it determines how high floodwater gets into the structure.

This “depth” is the basis for the value used to correlate flood depth to flood damage in the DDFs.

Raising or lowering the value by even tenths of a foot can have a significant impact on the final BCR. The greater the flood depth—measured as the difference between the FFE and the flood elevations—the higher the BCR.

Ideally, the FFE data should be obtained from the elevation certificate, and it must be entered in feet in the same vertical datum as the flood elevations. It is best to attach the elevation certificate as backup documentation. You can learn more about elevation certificates on the FEMA website.

The following page describes how to obtain the correct FFE from the elevation certificate.

Elevation Certificate

To obtain the FFE from the Elevation Certificate, complete the following steps:

Select each link to learn more about obtaining the FFE from the Elevation Certificate.

  1. Obtain the Building Diagram Number from the Elevation Certificate.
  2. Access the FFE Guidance Table from the Help topics.
  3. Obtain the FFE from the Elevation Certificate.

To continue the BCA Flood Module walk-through, enter the data in Tables 9 and 10 of the Structure Elevation Project scenario in the Riverine Elevation and Discharge Data screen. In the upper right part of the screen, select Save and Continue to display the next screen.

Obtain the Building Diagram Number

In section A7 of the structure’s Elevation Certificate, take note of the Building Diagram Number.

In the screenshot of the Elevation Certificate below, note that the value in section A7 is “2.” You will use this value in the next step.

 

Access the FFE Guidance Table

  • Within the Riverine Elevation and Discharge Data screen of the BCA Tool, access the Help topics.
  • Open the topic “How do I determine the First Floor Elevation (FFE)?”.
  • Scroll down to the FFE Guidance Table on page 3.
  • In that table, locate the row of the Building Diagram Number you obtained from the Elevation Certificate. In this example, Building Diagram Number “2” is the third row from the top.
  • Look up the corresponding value in the A-Zone FFE Location column. In this example, the value is C2.b. You will use this value in the next step.

Obtain the FFE

  • Locate section C2.b of the structure’s Elevation Certificate and take note of the elevation in feet.
  • In the screenshot of the Elevation Certificate below, note that the value is 440.70 feet. This is the FFE value to enter in the Riverine Elevation and Discharge Data screen of the BCA Tool.

 

Structure Information: Key Data Inputs

The purpose of the Structure Information screen is to establish the total building replacement value for the structure that is being mitigated and to provide information to pull in the correct DDF.

Select each link to learn more about important data fields on this screen.

Total Size of Building

For a residential structure, the Total Size of Building is the total square feet of livable space. For a non-residential structure (if the building is more than one story), the Total Size of Building is the square feet of the first floor only. The higher the Total Size of Building value, the higher the final BCR. Large changes in the value will have a large impact. The data can be obtained from assessor records, tax cards, deeds or the structure owner. Documentation to support the data can be a printout of assessor records, letterhead from assessor/tax agency, or a copy of the deed.

Value of Building ($/ sq. ft.)

The Value of Building ($/sq. ft.) is the cost per square foot of building a comparable structure (residential, commercial, etc.). Multiplying this cost per square foot by the square footage entered in the Total Size of Building yields the total Building Replacement Value (BRV). The BRV is how much it would cost to repair or replace the structure if it is damaged in a flood. This is similar to the replacement cost values that insurance companies use. Note that the replacement value is being used instead of market value—in most cases, the replacement cost will be higher than the market value. The higher the Value of Building, the higher the final BCR. Preferably, the data should be obtained from local building officials, but national cost estimation tools like RS Means and Marshall and Swift can be used. Documentation to support the data can be a letter from a local building official, a copy of a national cost estimating manual, or a copy of other estimating tools used. Cite the reference of the data source.

Is the building residential?

To determine if a building is residential, refer to the Help topic “How do I determine if the building is residential?” The Help topic states that “The building is considered residential if the primary purpose of the building is for living space. A location is considered non-residential if it is open to the public or is a place of work.” For a residence that is also used as a business, the Help topic states that “If the primary purpose of the building is living space, the building should be considered residential; however, you can still account for business income losses and/or displacement costs from an in-home business, such as daycare services.”

Street Maintenance Details Section

Refer to the Help topic “Why are street maintenance costs treated as a benefit?”. The Help topic explains that these data fields are applicable for “flood acquisition or relocation projects that allow a community to remove or abandon certain lengths of road and associated infrastructure.” The Help topic provides additional details.

Structure Information

To continue the Flood Module walk-through, complete the following steps:

  • Enter the data in Table 11 of the Structure Elevation Project scenario in the Structure Information screen.
  • In the upper right part of the screen, select Save and Continue to display the next screen.

Residential Structure Information: Key Data Inputs

The purpose of this screen is to select the appropriate DDF and determine the residential displacement costs.Select each link to learn more about important data fields on this screen:

Depth Damage Function Type

Depth Damage Functions (DDFs) take the flood depths that were calculated previously and bring in those percentages of BRV as damage. The vast majority of DDFs will be the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) default.

Current Federal Lodging Per Diem

The Current Federal Lodging Per Diem and the Current Federal Meals Per Diem data fields are used to calculate the residential displacement costs. These data fields use the General Services Administration (GSA) rates to represent the additional out-of-pocket expenses that an individual or family will incur when displaced from their residence.

Current Federal Meals Per Diem

Like the Current Federal Lodging Per Diem, the Current Federal Meals Per Diem is used to calculate the residential displacement costs and uses the GSA rates to represent the additional out-of-pocket expenses that an individual or family will incur when displaced from their residence. The value in this data field is multiplied by the Population Affected value, which is the number of people who reside in the structure. The total Meals Per Diem is then added to the total Lodging Per Diem to calculate the Displacement Cost. The Help topic “How do I calculate residential displacement costs?” provides users with links to websites for looking up the applicable GSA per diem rate for their location and explains how to document any per diem calculations.

NFIP

Select the NFIP checkbox if the structure being mitigated has an NFIP policy. This is a project benefit because there are NFIP policy administration costs that are avoided by not having to administer future damage and Increased Cost of Compliance (ICC) claims. If you select the NFIP checkbox, provide the NFIP policy number in the Justification data field as back-up documentation. The Help topic “How do I calculate flood insurance administration benefits?” provides more information.

Residential Structure Information

To continue the Flood Module walk-through, complete the following steps:

  • Enter the data in Table 12 of the Structure Elevation Project scenario in the Residential Structure Information screen.
  • In the upper right part of the screen, select Save and Continue to display the next screen.

Damages Before and After Mitigation

The purpose of this screen is to allow users to input additional losses avoided with respect to flood depths.

The values entered would be the damage class and dollar value of damage for a flood depth. Entering values on this screen allows for a more complete estimate of project benefits and is really only done if the BCR is slightly below 1.00.

The data can be obtained from the property owner, and documentation to support the data must be provided—including insurance claims or repair records.

To continue the Flood Module walk-through, there is no need to add additional losses to the Damages Before and After Mitigation screen.

To the right of the After Mitigation tab, select the Damage Calculation Table, which is described on the next page.

Damage Calculation Table

Selecting the Damage Calculation Table button on the Damages Before and After screen displays the Damage Calculation Table.

This table shows all calculated benefits on one screen—before and after mitigation.

This is a summary screen, and there is no need for you to enter data. The BCA Flood Module automatically populates the expected annual damages for a specific structure before and after mitigation based on the data you selected on the previous screens.

To continue the Flood Module walk-through, close the screen that displays the Damage Calculation Table.

In the upper right part of the Damages Before and After Mitigation screen, select Save and Continue to display the next screen.

Summary of Benefits

The purpose of this screen is to display summary information and to present the mitigation project BCR, which is the value of total benefits divided by total costs. Remember from Unit 2 that this screen has three sections.

Select each numbered area to learn more about the Summary of Benefits screen.

Expected Annual Damages Before and After Mitigation

The top section of the screen displays the Before and After Mitigation values that have been filled in by the tool. These values are based on the data you entered in the previous screens and the calculations built into the tool.

Expected Avoided Damages After Mitigation (BENEFITS)

The middle section of the screen shows the impact of the project, or the project benefits.

Benefits, Costs, and Benefit-Cost Ratio

The bottom section of the screen shows the Mitigation Benefits, the Mitigation Costs, and the difference between these two values. It also includes the most important value: the Benefit-Cost Ratio, which is the Mitigation Benefits divided by the Mitigation Costs.

Summary of Benefits Screen

This screenshot of the BCA Tool’s Summary of Benefits screen shows the following:

  • On the top row of the screen, the left part displays the Project Name: Smithville Elevation, the Structure: 335 Aspen Court, the Mitigation Type: Flood – Elevation.
  • On the top row of the screen, the right part displays the Structure BCR: 2.51.
  • On the second row of the screen, the left part displays the Save and Go Back button.
  • On the second row of the screen, the right part displays the Save and Continue button.
  • On the third row of the screen, the left part displays the screen name: Summary of Benefits.
  • Below the screen name are two sections. The section on the left is the Expected Annual Damages Before Mitigation with the following data fields and the value displayed in each field:
    • Annual: $37,536
    • Present Value: $465,789
  • The section on the right is the Expected Annual Damages After Mitigation with the following data fields and the value displayed in each field:
    • Annual: $8
    • Present Value: $103
  • The next section of the screen displays the Expected Avoided Damages After Mitigation (BENEFITS):
    • Annual: $37,528
    • Present Value: $465,686
  • The bottom section displays the following data fields and the value displayed in each field:
    • Mitigation Benefits: $465,686
    • Mitigation Costs: $185,500
    • Benefits Minus Costs: $280,186
    • Benefit-Cost Ratio: 2.51

Mitigation Information

The purpose of this screen is to allow you to start another mitigation action for the same structure.

For example, some acquisition projects may aim to reduce losses from both flooding and high winds. In such situations, after completing the Flood Module analysis, you would select Hurricane Wind and complete that analysis for the same structure.

However, in the case of the Structure Elevation Project scenario that you are using for the Flood Module walk-through, it is unlikely that there would be additional hazard losses to mitigate.

To continue the Flood Module walk-through, select View Report to view the Status Report explained on the next page.

Status Report

The purpose of the Status Report table is to display the status of the documentation attached to the BCA.Select each numbered link to learn more about the Status Report table columns.

Screen

The Screen column provides the screen name.

Comments

The Comments column provides comments.

Status

The Status column provides either a green check mark status or a red “X” status. The green check mark means that documentation has been attached. The red “X” means that documentation has not been attached.

Opened

The Opened column displays “Yes” or “No,” depending on whether the screen has been opened.

Go To Screen

The Go To Screen column displays the text “Go.” Selecting the text will take you directly to that screen so that you can add documentation and have a complete, well-documented BCA.

Close

The Close button brings you back to the Mitigation Information screen.

Data Documentation Template

The DDT can be used as a guide in collecting information to meet the data and documentation requirements of the BCA Tool.

As explained in Unit 1, DDTs are not required; however, some states are requiring these reports to be submitted along with the BCA.

To display the DDT, select View DDT in the Mitigation Information screen. The DDT document opens in MS Word in another window.

The Data Documentation Template is also available on the FEMA website, at: https://www.fema.gov/media-library/assets/documents/19682

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Tip
The information provided in the “Potential Sources” column of the DDT is not intended to be exhaustive, and other sources are certainly possible. Those listed are merely the most common documentation sources. Contact the State, Tribal, and Regional Office for determination of acceptable documentation.

Step Five: Export BCA

Steps One through Four of the BCA process are now complete. To complete Step Five: Export BCA, complete the following steps:

  • On the basic navigation toolbar, select Home. The Quick Start Area is displayed.
  • Select the Export BCA icon. A list of the projects you have created is displayed.
  • Select “Smithville Elevation” as the project you wish to export. The Windows Explorer dialog box is displayed.
  • In the File Name field, enter “Smithville Elevation.”
  • Note that the file type is “.zip” by default.
  • Save the zip file to the desired location on your computer.

The exported file can then be imported by other analysts or reviewers into their BCA Tool. After import, they can review the analysis to evaluate the data entered, the justification and documentation that supports the data, and the final BCR.

Congratulations! You have completed the Flood Module walk-through, generated the BCR, and successfully exported the BCA zip file.

Short Form: Overview

The Short Form is intended for experienced users who use the BCA Tool frequently—often to perform preliminary analyses with limited data—just to see if a proposed mitigation action has the potential to be cost-effective.

The Short Form calculates a BCR based only on the following prevented losses:

  • Building damage
  • Contents damage
  • Displacement costs

Other benefits such as environmental and social benefits can only be included in the Long Form analysis.

"Remember!" in red talk bubble
The Short Form functionality is accessed from the Select Wizard screen. The Select Wizard screen is displayed after you start a new Flood mitigation project. The functionality offers no Help content because it is for experienced users.

Short Form: Key Data Inputs

After you select Short Form in the Select Wizard screen, the Structure Information screen is displayed.

First, the tool asks if the source of flooding is a river. Below that question are three tabs. The data inputs in each tab have been discussed previously in this lesson.

Select each link to view each tab.

Structure Tab

 

 The Structure tab shows the following data fields and the values entered for each field:

  • Total Size of building (Sq Ft.): 1800
  • Value of Building (BRV) ($/Sq Ft): 95.00
  • Demolition Damage Threshold (%): 50.00%
  • Is this a residential building: Yes (radio button is selected) or No
  • Building Type (dropdown menu): displays the prompt “Select”
  • Foundation Type (dropdown menu): displays the selection “None of the Below”
  • Does a Basement Exist?: Yes or No (radio button is selected)

Mitigation Tab

 

The Mitigation tab shows the following data fields and the values entered for each field:

  • Type (dropdown menu): displays the prompt “Select”
  • Project Useful Life (Yrs): 0
  • Mitigation Project Cost ($): $
  • Depth Damage Function Type: Default (radio button is selected) or Library
  • Select Depth Damage Function (DDF) (dropdown menu): displays the prompt “Select”
  • Current federal lodging per diem: $77
  • Population affected: (no entry)
  • Current federal meals per diem: $46
  • Cost per person to eat meals at home: $7
  • Displacement Cost: $77.00

Flood Profile Tab

 

The Flood Profile tab shows the following data fields and the values entered for each field:

  • Enter the First Floor Elevation: 440.70
  • Streambed Elevation (ft): 0.00
  • Below the data fields is the Show After Mitigation Button.
  • Below the Show After Mitigation button is the Flood Profile table. This table has four columns and two rows.
  • The column headers read from left to right: Recurrence Interval, Percent Annual Chance (%), Elevation Before Mitigation (ft), Discharge Before Mitigation (cfs)
  • Row 1 values read from left to right: 10, 10.00%, 0.00, 0.0
  • Row 2 values read from left to right: 50, 2.00%, 0.00, 0.0

Lesson 11 Summary

Lesson 11 covered the Flood Module walk-through, including:

  • Flood Module data and documentation requirements
  • Flood Module key data inputs
  • How to complete a Flood Module BCA

Lesson 12 Overview

Welcome to Lesson 12. This lesson covers data inputs for basement types.

At the end of this lesson, you will be able to determine the different data inputs for basements of residential structures.

Basements: Overview

One of the most common errors using the Flood Module is the incorrect usage of basement information. It is important to use the data inputs correctly; otherwise, reviewers may have to enter the correct values, and if this happens, the project’s cost-effectiveness may change.

This lesson provides detailed instructions for how to correctly enter basement information into the Flood Module for the three most common basement types:

  • Unfinished and not walkout
  • Finished and walkout
  • Finished and not walkout

The Supplement to the Benefit-Cost Analysis Reference Guide: http://www.fema.gov/media-library-data/1396549910018-c9a089b8a8dfdcf760edcea2ff55ca56/bca_guide_supplement__508_final.pdf provides all of the information presented in this lesson along with some additional basement types, such as partially finished basements.

The BCA page on the FEMA website also provides a link to the Supplement document.

Transcript: Basements Data Inputs

This video explains how to enter data inputs for three types of basements.

Unfinished and Not Walkout Basements

This diagram shows a residence that has an unfinished, non-walkout basement. Ask yourself: at what elevation will damage start to occur, if the basement is unfinished? Although there could be some basement and foundation leakage, the tool assumes that damage will occur once water gets high enough to flood the livable space. That elevation is labelled with the FFE, or First Floor Elevation.

On the Riverine Elevation and Discharge Data screen, this is the FFE value to enter.

For the Structure Information screen, the important concerns are the Total Size of Building in square feet, and the Residential Structure Details. For the Total size of building, the correct value to enter, is only the square footage of only the habitable space. In this case, since the basement is unfinished, the basement square footage cannot be used. Only the livable space square footage on the main floor can be used.

For the Residential Structure Details, the correct options are One Story for the Select Building Type and Yes for the question Does the building have a basement?

Finished and Walkout Basements

This diagram shows a residence with a finished, walkout basement. The data inputs for a residence with a walkout finished basement is completed differently. This means that the level of the basement floor is the FFE value to use in the Riverine Elevation and Discharge Data screen.

First, note that damage will begin as soon as water gets into the walkout basement. This means that the level of the basement floor is the FFE value to use in the Riverine Elevation and Discharge Data screen.

On the Structure Information Screen, the Total size of the building is the entire square footage of the structure since it is all livable, finished space.

The Residential Structure Details can be confusing. For a home with a finished, walkout basement, the basement floor is the reference level. From the basement floor, there are two stories above it. This means that the Building Type should be Two or More Stories. For the question ‘Does the building have a basement?’, even though the home has a basement, the correct answer is No. With the basement floor as your reference level, if you select Yes for the basement in this case, the tool will calculate damages as if there is another basement below the walkout basement.

Finished and Not Walkout Basements

The finished basement that does not have a walkout is the most complicated of the three basement types in this lesson. It is helpful to understand the theory first before discussing how to enter the information for this basement type into the BCA Tool. Here is a graphic demonstration of a finished basement without a walkout.

Much of the information for non-walkout basements is the same as finished walkout basements. However, ask yourself again: when will damage begin? Like walkout basements, damage begins as soon as water is able to flood the finished basement. But unlike walkout basements, water cannot enter the structure until it reaches an elevation of an entry point like a basement window. For this reason, this elevation has to be offset in the damage tables.

Like the walkout basement, for the Riverine Elevation and Discharge Data screen, the FFE is the level of the basement floor since that is where damage begins.

For the Structure Information Screen, the Total size of the building is the square footage of the entire structure since it is all livable finished space.

The Residential Structure Details are also the same as for a walkout basement: the Select Building Type is two or more stories – and for the question Does the building have a basement, select No. If this is confusing, please review the “Finished Basement With Walkout” content again.

Now it is time to discuss how to do the basement offset. Select the Save and Continue button in the upper-right corner of the screen to display the Residential Structure Information screen.

The Depth Damage Function was discussed earlier in this module. To complete the basement offset, you must select the Library DDF. Then select the Corps of Engineers Generic DDF from the drop-down menu and the Depth Damage Functions table will populate.

However, note that there is now a Before Mitigation User Entered column.

To complete the offset, enter a zero for each of the flood depths that need to be offset. In our example, it is four feet. Notice that as you enter a zero in the Before Mitigation User Entered column, the dollar amounts in the Before Mitigation column are removed.

Finally, enter zero values for the same flood depths for the Contents and Displacement tabs to also remove these calculated damages.

The Loss of Function tab applies only to non-residential structures and does not need to be modified.

 Lesson 12 Summary

Lesson 12 covered how to determine the different data inputs for basements of residential structures.

Lesson 13 Overview

Welcome to Lesson 13. This lesson covers the DFA Module overview.

At the end of this lesson, you will be able to:

  • Explain key DFA concepts
  • Distinguish when to use the DFA Module to complete a BCA

DFA Module Overview

The DFA Module allows users to complete a BCA based on data for:

  • Damage amounts of hazard events
  • Frequency, or Recurrence Interval (RI), of hazard events
  • Analysis duration
  • Project effectiveness

The video on the following page provides an overview of the DFA Module and explains the basic concepts and theory.

Transcript: DFA Module Basic Concepts and Theory

This video explains the basic concepts and theory of the Damage-Frequency Assessment Module of the BCA Tool.

To analyze the cost-effectiveness of mitigation projects, the DFA Module determines the “C,” or the “Costs” part of the project’s BCR in the same manner that the other BCA hazard modules do, and uses the same formula for determining project benefits, which is the difference between Damages Before Mitigation, and Damages after Mitigation.

However, as the name implies, the DFA Module calculates project benefits by using information from hazard events, specifically the damage amounts from the hazard events, and the frequency, or recurrence interval of the hazard event. Let’s see how the module uses this hazard event information to determine project benefits.

Consider a structure built in 1960 and the goal is to mitigate hazard damage today. This creates a “screen of time” called the “Analysis Duration.” Let’s assume that two hazard events occurred during the analysis duration, with one event causing greater damage than the other. Remember that for each hazard event, the DFA Module requires the damage amounts, and the associated frequency or recurrence interval. The DFA Module uses this historic damage information to determine the amount of damage that is likely to occur in a given year, also known as annualized damages.

In this mitigation project example, the DFA Module may calculate the historic annualized damage value to be $8,000.00.

The DFA Module uses the historic annualized damage value, and assumes that the same level of damage will occur, looking forward over the project useful life. This value is the Damages Before Mitigation.

In this example, the Damages Before Mitigation value will be $8,000.00.

The next step is to calculate the Damages After Mitigation, or the anticipated damages over the project useful life with the project in place. This requires entering data for the project effectiveness, or how much the project will reduce damage.

In this example, the DFA Module may calculate the annualized Damages After Mitigation value to be $200.00.

The project benefits is the difference between the annualized damages before Mitigation and the Damages After Mitigation—or $7,800 in this example.

This concludes the basic concepts and theory of the DFA Module of the BCA Tool.

When to Use the DFA Module: Overview

The decision to use the DFA Module depends on the following key factors:

  • Hazard Type
  • Available Data
  • Project Type

Each factor is explained in the succeeding pages.

When to Use the DFA Module: Hazard Type

For mitigation projects that protect against the following hazards, the DFA Module is the only option to use in the BCA Tool:

  • Snow and Ice Storms
  • Tsunami
  • Volcanic Hazards
  • Flash or Alluvial Fan Floods

For mitigation projects that protect against the following hazards, additional factors like available data and project type will determine if the DFA Module should be used instead of its respective hazard module:

  • Floods
  • Earthquake
  • Hurricane Wind
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Tip
If a project analyzed in its respective hazard module does not produce a BCR greater than or equal to 1.0, it can be analyzed in the DFA Module. If the new BCR is greater than or equal to 1.0 and is properly documented, the DFA analysis is acceptable for project applications.

When to Use the DFA Module: Available Data

Use the DFA Module when data required by the specific hazard modules are not available.

Examples include:

  • Flood Hazard
    • Flood elevation, streambed elevation, and discharge data are not available from a Flood Insurance Study (FIS) or other source, such as another agency, engineer, or hydrologist
    • First Floor Elevation of the structure is not documented
  • Hurricane Wind Hazard
    • Building property information is not available

When to Use the DFA Module: Project Type

Use the DFA Module for the following project types:

  • Projects for non-residential buildings, including critical facilities
  • Projects for non-buildings like roads, bridges, and utilities
  • Projects to purchase and install generators for critical facilities like police and fire stations, hospitals, and water and wastewater treatment facilities
  • Other project types, as long as data required by the DFA Module are available

Lesson 13 Summary

Lesson 13 covered the DFA Module overview, including:

  • Key DFA concepts
  • How to distinguish when to use the DFA Module when completing a BCA

Lesson 14 Overview

Welcome to Lesson 14. This lesson covers DFA Module data requirements.

At the end of this lesson, you will be able to explain DFA Module data and documentation requirements.

Minimum Data Requirements

The minimum data required by the DFA Module is one hazard event with:

  • Documented damages and losses
  • Documented recurrence interval

Damage and Loss Data

Commonly used resources for obtaining damage and loss data and documentation include:

  • FEMA Project Worksheets and Damage Survey Reports
  • Insurance or repair records
  • Data from state and local agencies
  • Newspaper articles citing other credible sources

Recurrence Interval Data

Depending on the hazard type that caused the historic damage, there may be credible recurrence interval documentation available.

Select each link to learn more about recurrence interval documentation sources for certain hazards.

Flood

  •  The National Weather Services provides the Precipitation Frequency Data Server: http://hdsc.nws.noaa.gov/hdsc/pfds, which can be utilized to establish a frequency for various precipitation events.
  • U.S. Geological Survey stream gauge data can also be used to extrapolate frequency information for flood events, the details of which can be found in the Supplement to the Benefit-Cost Analysis Reference Guide: http://www.fema.gov/media-library-data/1396549910018-c9a089b8a8dfdcf760edcea2ff55ca56/bca_guide_supplement__508_final.pdf

Hurricane Wind

Snow and Ice Storm

  • The National Snow and Ice Data Center: http://nsidc.org/data/search/data-search.html provides data from satellites and field observations that are taken from National Air and Space Administration (NASA), National Science Foundation (NSF), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), and other programs.
  • The U.S. Army’s Cold Regions Research and Engineering Laboratory (CRREL): http://www.erdc.usace.army.mil/Locations/CRREL/ compiles data from newspaper reports, Storm Data (NOAA 1949 to present) and its predecessors, FEMA Mitigation Reports, utility reports, journal articles, and other publications.

All Hazards

Unknown Frequency Calculator

The BCA Tool provides a built-in Unknown Frequency Calculator when recurrence interval data are not available.

The Unknown Frequency Calculator can determine and use the recurrence intervals as long as the Damage Year is known for at least three historic events. An example of damage event history is shown in the table below.

 

Damage Year

Damage Description

Amount ($)

2006 Utility Loss of Function 725,000
2010 Utility Loss of Function 205,000
2013 Utility Loss of Function 1,575,000

Importance of Documentation

Because of the DFA Module’s flexibility and dependency on user-provided data, clear and acceptable documentation is a critical requirement.

If the provided documentation does not support the BCA, it could result in an application not being approved.

These documentation requirements will be discussed throughout this module.

Image used for tip element icon
Tip
Extraordinary claims require extraordinary documentation!

Lesson 14 Summary

Lesson 14 covered the DFA Module data requirements.

Lesson 15 Overview

Welcome to Lesson 15. This lesson covers the DFA Module walk-through.

At the end of this lesson, you will be able to:

  • Explain DFA Module data and documentation requirements
  • Complete a BCA using the DFA Module

BCA Steps Review

With the basic concepts and theory of the DFA Module in mind, you are now ready to conduct a BCA for a proposed floodproofing project.

Remember that the following five steps are required to complete a BCA:

  • Step One: Create new project.
  • Step Two: Create new structure(s).
  • Step Three: Add structures to project.
  • Step Four: Start new mitigation. This means starting the analysis of a mitigation project.
  • Step Five: Export BCA.

DFA Module Walk-Through Scenario

The following screens will walk you through the process of conducting a BCA and generating the BCR for a Floodproofing Project scenario. The DFA Module is being used instead of the Flood Module because of the following factors:

  • Project Type: The structure is a non-residential building that houses a utility service (telephone company data center).
  • Available Data: Although the recurrence intervals are unknown, documentation for the damage amounts and dates for three hazard events is available. Thus, the analysis can use the tool’s built-in Unknown Frequency Calculator.

Select this link to display the Floodproofing Project scenario in another screen. It is recommended that you keep the scenario screen open while completing the walk-through, or print the scenario.

Step One: Create New Project

To start the DFA Module walk-through, complete the following steps:

  • In the Quick Start Area, select the Create New Structure icon.
  • In the Project Info screen, enter the data in Tables 1 and 2 of the Floodproofing Project scenario.
  • On the bottom right of the screen, select the Save button.

Step Two: Create New Structure(s)

To start the DFA Module walk-through, complete the following steps:

  • In the Quick Start Area, select the Create New Structure icon.
  • In the Add/Update Structure screen, enter the data in Table 3 of the Floodproofing Project scenario.
  • On the bottom right of the screen, select the Save button.

Step Three: Add Structure(s) to Project

To continue the DFA Module walk-through, complete the following steps:

  • In the Quick Start Area, select the Add Structures to Project icon.
  • Select the “Charleston Data Center Floodproofing” project.
  • In the Add/Remove Structures screen, check the box before “Telecom Data Center.”
  • Select the Add button.
  • Select the OK button. The message “Add/Remove Structures Succeeded” is displayed.
  • Select the OK button.

Step Four: Start New Mitigation

To continue the DFA Module walk-through, complete the following steps:

  • In the Quick Start Area, select the Start New Mitigation icon.
  • Select “Charleston Data Center Floodproofing” as the project, and then select “Telecom Data Structure” as the structure.
  • At the bottom of the Mitigation Information screen, select “Damage-Frequency Assessment.”
  •  In the upper right part of the screen, select Save and Continue to display the next screen.

Hazard and Mitigation Info: Key Data Inputs

The purpose of this screen is to identify the hazard, mitigation type, and damage events needed for the analysis.

Select each link to learn more about key Hazard and Mitigation Info data inputs:

Basis of Damages

Screenshot of BCA Tool Mitigation Information screen with dropdown menu for the Mitigation Type data field. See page for full text.

The basis for the damages data field in the Hazard and Mitigation Info screen asks the question: What is the basis for the damages? Below the question are the following two choices, each with a radio button:

  • Historical Damages (radio button is selected)
  • Expected Damages

To complete this data field, select “Historical Damages” if the need for mitigation has arisen from actual past damage events for which there is damage documentation.

For each event, required documentation includes year and dollar amounts for at least one loss category (e.g., physical damage, loss of function, etc.).

Select “Expected Damages” if there is no historic damage or if that information is not available. An expected-damages analysis depends on technical data that provides the amount of damage if an event of a certain recurrence interval were to occur. Engineering reports and modeling are common sources of technical data. If this option is selected, the users may apply data from other BCA modules to use as the basis for damage calculations. For example, an expected damage analysis may show that a structure will have four feet of water on the first floor. Users can use the depth-damage function from the Flood Module to determine the amount of damage for a four-foot flood depth.

Hazard Mitigation Data Fields: Mitigation Type

Screenshot of BCA Tool Mitigation Information screen with dropdown menu for the Mitigation Type data field. See page for full text.

The Mitigation Type data field in the Hazard and Mitigation Info screen provides a dropdown menu with a prompt that says “Select.”

Below “Select” are the following options:

  • Acquisition
  • Elevation
  • Dry Flood Proofing
  • Drainage Improvement
  • Other flood proofing measures (highlighted)To complete this data field, determine the mitigation type from the detailed Scope of Work of the project subapplication.

Hazard Mitigation Data Fields: Hazard

Screenshot of BCA Tool Mitigation Information screen with dropdown menu for the Hazard data field. See page for full text.

The Hazard data field in the Hazard and Mitigation Info screen provides a dropdown menu with a prompt that says “Select.” Below “Select” are the following options:

  • Flood (selected)
  • Hurricane Wind
  • Earthquake
  • Tornado Safe Room
  • Other
  • Hurricane Safe Room

To complete this data field, determine the hazard from the Problem Description section of the project subapplication.

Number of Damage Events and Recurrence Intervals

Screenshot of BCA Tool Mitigation Information screen with text fields for the number of damage events and known recurrence intervals. See page for full text.

The number of damage events and recurrent intervals data fields in the Hazard and Mitigation Info screen show the following:

  • How many damage events do you have?: 3
  • For how many of these events do you know the recurrence intervals?: 0

Below the data fields is the Note: You must know the damage year for all damage events.

In the Charleston Data Center Floodproofing Project scenario, there are three damage events, and the recurrence interval is not known for any of the three events.

To complete these data fields, determine how many damaging events have occurred to the structure being mitigated by the project. The minimum requirements are:

  • At least one hazard event with a known frequency (recurrence interval), or
  • At least three events with unknown frequencies.

Loss of Function Overview

When a proposed mitigation project will prevent the loss of function (LOF) of services to the community, these constitute project benefits— as long as data exist to quantify the value of the service.

The next few pages will discuss LOF before proceeding with the DFA Module walk-through.

LOF should be considered when the project will reduce or eliminate the loss of service to:

  • Critical facilities, including fire stations, hospitals, and police stations
  • Roads
  • Bridges
  • Utilities

Add LOF data correctly by:

  • Entering accurate LOF data obtained from reliable sources
  • Providing appropriate documentation to support entered data
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Tip
LOF can be used in the other BCA hazard modules, not only in DFA.

Loss of Function: Critical Facilities

The BCA Tool calculates the LOF benefits for projects that can mitigate closures of critical facilities caused by a hazard event.

Potential documentation sources for critical facility LOF data inputs are the facility itself, a community planning department, or other reliable source. Map and distance information can be obtained from a Geographic Information System (GIS) or from an online mapping source, with a printout of the map used as documentation.

Select each link to learn more about entering LOF data for each facility type:

Fire Station

Prepare the following LOF data and supporting documentation:

  • Number of people served: Enter the number of people from the surrounding community who would be affected if the fire station being mitigated was out of service.
  • Type of area served: Identify the geographic area served by the fire station as urban, suburban, rural, or wilderness.
  • Distance in miles between this fire station and the alternative fire station: Enter the number of additional miles it would take the next closest fire station to respond to emergency calls.
  • Does fire station provide Emergency Medical Services (EMS): This data field tells the tool if casualties avoided by the project need to be added to the calculation. If you select “No,” then no additional information is needed. If you select “Yes,” the tool will ask for the additional distance (in miles) for the next closest fire station that provides EMS service.
  • Show Total ($/day): Select this button for the tool to automatically calculate the LOF cost for that fire station being out of service. The calculation assumes that if Fire Station A is out of service—thus forcing Fire Station B to serve a larger geographical area—the average response time will increase, thereby resulting in greater fire losses. If the fire station provides EMS, the calculation assumes that the increased response time will result in greater casualties.

Police Station

Prepare the following LOF data and supporting documentation:

  • Type of area served: Identify the geographic area served by the police station as metropolitan, city, or rural.
  • Number of people served: Enter the number of people from the surrounding community who would be affected if the police station being mitigated was out of service.
  • Number of police officers working at the police station: Enter the number of police officers currently based in the police station.
  • Number of police officers that would serve the same area if the station were shut down due to a disaster: Enter the number of police officers who would serve the community if the police station was not functional.
  • Show Total ($/day): Select this button for the tool to automatically calculate the LOF cost for that police station being out of service. This calculation provides an economic value to the increased crime that is likely to occur if a police station is out of service.

Hospital

Prepare the following LOF data and supporting documentation:

  • Number of people served: Enter the number of people in the hospital’s service area. This may be available from the hospital itself, community planning department, or other source.
  • Distance in miles between this hospital and the hospital that would treat these people in the event this hospital was inoperative: Enter the number of additional miles it would take to reach the next closest hospital to which emergencies could be rerouted.
  • Number of people normally served by the alternate hospital: Enter the number of people who are already served by the alternate hospital.
  • Show Total ($/day): Select this button for the tool to automatically calculate the LOF cost for that hospital being out of service. The calculation assumes that if Hospital A is temporarily shut down, emergency care patients will have to travel farther to Hospital B, with the increased travel time resulting in increased casualties.

Other

“Other” facilities refer to structures that house a non-critical public service (e.g., a library, school, other government agency, or a business). The LOF value is calculated from the annual budget and the duration or period of time that the structure is not functional. Prepare the following LOF data and supporting documentation:

  • Service Name: Enter the service provided by the structure.
  • Annual Budget: Enter the annual budget of the service, agency, or business housed in the building itself.

Source for the above data include online public information posted online or from the entity itself. If there are multiple agencies with individual budgets, use the combined budgets. If the entity involved is a school district, provide the annual budget of the school(s) being mitigated.

  • Total Annual Budget: System-calculated value

Loss of Function: Roads and Bridges

The BCA Tool calculates the LOF benefits for projects that can reduce or eliminate detours caused by a hazard event. Prepare the following LOF data and supporting documentation:

  1. Roads/Bridges Facility Description
  2. Estimated Number of One-Way Traffic Trips per Day
  3. Additional Time Per One Way Trip
  4. Number of Additional Miles

Select this link to learn more about the key data fields in the Roads/Bridges screen.

Roads/Bridges Screen Description

Screenshot of BCA Tool showing Roads/Bridges screen. See page for full text.

This screenshot of the BCA Tool’s Roads/Bridges screen shows the following:

  • On the top row of the screen, the left part displays the Save and Go Back button.
  • On the top row of the screen, the right part displays the Save and Continue button (not pictured).
  • On the second row of the screen, the left part displays the screen name: Roads/Bridges.
  • Below the window name are the following data fields and the values entered for each field. The first four fields are explained in detail below.
    • Roads/Bridges Facility Description: no entry
    • Estimated Number of One-way Traffic Trips Per Day: no entry
    • Additional Time Per One-Way Trip (hh:mm): HH: 0 MM: 0
    • Number of Additional Miles: 0
    • Federal Rate: $0.550
    • Economic Loss Per Day of Loss of Function: $0

Roads/Bridges Facility Description

RoadsBridgeDialog-SS-2-400x172 (jpg)
To complete this field, identify the road/bridge classification (e.g., primary or secondary road, type of bridge) and other descriptors. Example: “Riverview Road is the primary route and sole access road to and from the Stewartville Subdivision.”

Estimated Number of One-Way Traffic Trips Per Day

Screenshot of BCA Tool DFA Module showing red callout numbered 2 pointing to the Estimated Number of One-Way Traffic Trips Per Day field.

To complete this field, enter the traffic count data for the road or bridge to be mitigated.

Provide documentation from state or local road or planning agencies.

Additional Time Per One-Way Trip

Screenshot of BCA Tool DFA Module showing red callout numbered 3 pointing to the Additional Time per One-Way Trip field.

To complete this field, enter the duration of a detour in hours and minutes. The tool has a standard calculation for the value of a person’s time.

Provide documentation showing the detour time calculation as obtained from an online mapping program or other reliable source.

Number of Additional Miles

Screenshot of BCA Tool DFA Module showing red callout numbered 4 pointing to the Number of Additional Miles field.

To complete this field, enter the number of extra miles that the detour will cause. Do not include the number of miles of the normal route.

Provide documentation showing the increased distance as obtained from an online mapping program or other reliable source.

Loss of Function: Utilities

The BCA Tool calculates the LOF benefits for projects that can reduce or eliminate utility outages caused by a hazard event.

Prepare the following LOF data and supporting documentation:

  1. Utility Facility Description
  2. Type of Service
  3. Number of Customers Served
  4. Value Per Unit of Service
  5. Total Value of Service Per Day

Select this link to learn more about the key data fields in the Utilities Screen.

Utility Facility Description

To complete this field, enter a brief narrative description that includes:

  • Type of service provided (electricity, potable water, etc.)
  • Entity, agency, or company providing the service
  • If applicable, the facility being mitigated

Example: Plainsview Regional Wastewater Treatment Plan

Type of Service

To complete this field, select the type of service. This information can be found in the Scope of Work of the project subapplication. Choose one of the following:

  • Electrical
  • Potable Water
  • Wastewater
  • Other (gas, telecom, etc.)

Number of Customers Served

The BCA Tool calculates utilities LOF based on per-person, per-day costs, and the values entered in the LOF screens need to reflect this. To complete this field, enter the number of people served by the utility who will lose service if the project is not implemented.

Potential documentation types include:

  • Service population from the utility company on company letterhead
  • If a utility serves the entire population of a community, provide documentation of the community population obtained from the U.S. Census Bureau.
  • If a utility provides the number of accounts or hook-ups, provide documentation of the number of accounts obtained from the utility company. Since there is one account per household, you will need to multiply the number of accounts by the average number of household members for that community. Provide documentation of the average household size in that community obtained from the U.S. Census Bureau.

Value Per Unit of Service

The tool fills in the FEMA standard values:

  • Electrical: $131.00 ($/person/day)
  • Potable Water: $103.00 ($/person/day)
  • Wastewater: $45.00 ($/person/day)

Once again, note that the value in this data field is per-person, per-day. These standard values are calculated based on residential and regional economic impact from national statistics.The standard values can be overridden by entering a value in the “Other” data field. As is true for all cases where the FEMA standard values are overridden, provide supporting documentation. For example, if you are entering data for a situation where there will be a loss of both electric and potable water services, select “Other.” Enter the combined economic value in the Value per Unit of Service box, and then explain that the value is a combination of these utilities. For other utilities like gas and telecom, there is no FEMA standard value, and any data entered must be documented.

Provide documentation from the utility company on company letterhead.

Total Value of Service Per Day

The BCA Tool fills in this value by multiplying the Number of Customers Served by the Value per Unit of Service.

Type of Services

Using the information you have learned about LOF from the previous screens, identify on this screen which services will suffer a loss of function if the proposed mitigation project is not implemented.

Important functionalities of this screen include:

  • You may select more than one type of service.
  • The type(s) of service you select will determine which succeeding screens will be displayed.
  • If you select the “Not Applicable” checkbox, and select Save and Continue, the tool proceeds directly to the Historic Damages Before Mitigation screen.

To continue the DFA Module walk-through, complete the following steps:

  • In the Type of Services screen, enter the data in Table 6 of the Charleston Data Center Floodproofing Project scenario.
  • In the upper right part of the screen, select Save and Continue to display the next screen.

Utilities

The Utilities screen is displayed because you selected “Utilities” in the Type of Services screen.

The purpose of this screen is to calculate the LOF benefits for the utility being analyzed.

To continue the DFA Module walk-through, complete the following steps:

  • In the Utilities screen, enter the data in Table 6 of the Charleston Data Center Floodproofing Project scenario.
  • In the upper right part of the screen, select Save and Continue to display the next screen.

Historic Damages Before Mitigation: Data Inputs for Top Section

The purpose of this screen is to determine the historic damages before mitigation.

Analysis Year

 To complete this field, enter the current year. The tool will use this data and the Year Built to determine the Analysis Duration.

Year Built

To complete this field, enter the year the structure was built. The tool will use this data and the Analysis Year to determine the Analysis Duration.

Analysis Duration

The tool calculates this value by using the formula: {[Analysis Year – Year Built] + 1} = Analysis Duration (Number of Years)

The calculated value must be 10 years or more.

Tip: Typically, the shorter the Analysis Duration, the higher the BCR because the tool will assess the number of damage events using a shorter window of time.

User Input Analysis Duration

To complete this field, enter an analysis duration to override the system-calculated Analysis Duration. User input may be used for valid situations including:

  • Change of a river’s flow: Provide documentation including floodplain map change correspondence, engineering reports, or photography.
  • Construction date of utility or roads is unknown or very old: Provide records from utility company or state and local roads or planning departments.
  • Substantial structural renovation of building after original construction: Provide documentation including engineering reports and tax assessor records.

Tip: The Supplement to the Benefit-Cost Analysis Reference Guide contains more information about when and how to adjust the Analysis Duration.

Utilities ($/day) or Buildings ($/day), or Roads/Bridges ($/day)

The tool brings over the calculated values from the completed LOF screens.

Top Section of Historic Damages Before Mitigation Screen

This screenshot of the top section of the BCA Tool’s Historic Damages Before Mitigation screen shows the following data fields and the values entered for each field:

  • Analysis Year: no entry
  • Year Built: no entry
  • Analysis Duration: no entry
  • User Input Analysis Duration: no entry
  • Utilities ($/day): $0.00
  • Buildings ($/day): $0.00
  • Roads/Bridges ($/day): $0.00

Historic Damages Before Mitigation: Data Inputs for Top Section

To continue the DFA Module walk-through, go to the top section of the Historic Damages Before Mitigation screen and enter the data in Table 7 of the Floodproofing Project scenario.
"Remember!" in red talk bubble
In the Utilities ($/day) data field, the tool brings over the calculated values from the completed LOF screen.

Video Transcript: How to Enter Data for Historic Damages Before Mitigation

This video demonstrates how to enter data for historic damages before mitigation in the DFA Module of the BCA Tool. This demonstration will use the data in Table 7 of the Floodproofing Project scenario, and is a continuation of the DFA Module walk-through.

In the lower section of the Historic Damages Before Mitigation screen, the table provides the following columns from left to right: Damage Year, Recurrence Interval, Utilities (in days), Volunteer Costs, Are damages in current dollars?, Total, Total Inflated.

To enter the data, complete the following steps:

  • On the first row of the table, under the Damage Year column, enter “1998.”
  • Under the Utilities column, enter “1,” which is the number of days of the utility outage.
  • On the second row of the table, under the Damage Year column, enter “2004.”
  • Under the Utilities column, enter “2.”
  • On the third row of the table, under the Damage Year column, enter “2007.”
  • Under the Utilities column, enter “3.”
  • On the bottom left part of the screen, select the View Damages button. The tool displays the calculated Before Mitigation Annual Damage Value of $54,546.00.
  • On the bottom right of the Expected Annual Damages window, select the Close button. The Historic Damages Before Mitigation screen is displayed.
  • In the upper right part of the screen, select Save and Continue to display the next screen.

This concludes the demonstration for how to enter data for historic damages before mitigation in the DFA Module of the BCA Tool.

Video Transcript: How to Enter Data for Additional Damages

This video demonstrates how to enter data for additional damages in the Historic Damages Before Mitigation screen of the DFA Module in the BCA Tool. This demonstration is not part of the DFA Module walk-through.

Additional documented damages aside from loss of function are entered in the table provided in the middle section of the Historic Damages Before Mitigation screen. From left to right, the columns in the table are:

  • Damage Year
  • Recurrence Interval or RI
  • Utilities in days
  • Volunteer Costs
  • Are damages in current dollars?
  • Total
  • Total Inflated

To enter additional damages data, complete the following steps:

  • In the upper left corner of the table, select the Custom Column Chooser icon. The Custom Column Chooser window is displayed.
  • On the bottom left part of the window, select the New Column button. The dialog box for entering the column heading name is displayed.
  • For this demonstration, assume that there was equipment damage.
  • Enter “Equipment Damages” as the name of the column heading.
  • Select the OK button. Note that an “Equipment Damage” column has been added to the table. Note also that the tool added “($)” to indicate that damage amounts will be in dollars.
  • Select the ‘X’ in the upper right corner of this window to close the Custom Column Chooser window.
  • In the 1998 Damage Year row, position your cursor under the Equipment Damages ($) column.
  • Type the dollar value of equipment damage for the 1998 event. For this demonstration, the dollar value is 50,000.00.
  • Scroll to the right and note the indicator under the column “Are damages in current dollars?”.
  • The indicator says “No” by default, which means the damage amounts will be inflated to current dollar amounts.
  • The total inflated damage amount is displayed in the last column. In this demonstration, the total inflated amount is $445,336.00.
  • Go back to the column “Are damages in current dollars?”. This time, you want to change the indicator to “Yes.”
  • Mouse over the cell in the table and notice a drop-down triangle is displayed on the right.
  • Select the drop-down triangle and the drop-down selection list is displayed.
  • Select “Yes,” and press Enter on the keyboard. Notice that the dollar amount under the Total Inflated column is now the same as the dollar amount under the Total column.
  • Remember that you need to support any claims for additional damages with justification and documentation.
  • In the bottom part of the screen, position your cursor in the Justification text box and provide text explaining the additional damages.
  • Select the Upload Documents tab to upload documentation that supports the additional damages information.

To delete a column, complete the following steps:

  • In the upper left corner of the table, select the Custom Column Chooser icon.
  • Within the Custom Column Chooser, select “Equipment Damages.” In the Custom Column Chooser window, select the Delete Column button.
  • The dialog Custom Column Chooser is displayed with the message, ‘Deleting Equipment Damages ($) column. …Continue?’
  • Select OK.
  • Select the X in the upper right corner of the Custom Column Chooser window, to close the window.
  • Note that the highlighted column is no longer displayed in the Historic Damages Before Mitigation table.

This concludes the demonstration for how to enter data for additional damages in the DFA Module in the BCA Tool.

Damages After Mitigation: Key Data Inputs

The purpose of this screen is to enter the project effectiveness of the proposed mitigation project.

In the top section of the screen, the Analysis Year data field, Year Built data field, Analysis Duration data field, and any added damage classes are populated from data entered in the previous screen.

In the lower section of the screen, the Damages After Mitigation table is provided for entering project effectiveness data. Important data inputs for this table are:

  • Recurrence Interval
  • Utilities (days)

This data can be acquired from a reliable source—usually an engineer or from product specifications—stating the level of effectiveness of the proposed project.

Some theory can be used (with documentation), but it has to be based on the level of effectiveness information from a reliable, competent, and documented source.

Damages After Mitigation

To continue the DFA Module walk-through, complete the following steps:

  • In the Damages After Mitigation table, enter the data in Table 8 of the Floodproofing Project scenario.
  • On the bottom left part of the screen, select the View Damages button. Note that the tool calculates the After Mitigation Annual Damage Value to be $12,769. This is a significant reduction from the Before Mitigation Annual Damage Value of $54,546.
  • In the upper right part of the screen, select Save and Continue to display the next screen.

Summary of Benefits

The purpose of this screen is to display summary information and to present the mitigation project BCR, which is the value of total benefits divided by total costs. Remember from Unit 2 that this screen has three sections.

Expected Annual Damages Before and After Mitigation

The top section of the screen displays the Before and After Mitigation values that have been filled in by the tool. These values are based on the data you entered in the previous screens and the calculations built into the tool.

Expected Avoided Damages After Mitigation (BENEFITS)

 The middle section of the screen shows the impact of the project, or the project benefits.

Benefits, Costs, and Benefit-Cost Ratio

The bottom section of the screen shows the Mitigation Benefits, the Mitigation Costs, and the difference between these two values. It also includes the most important value: the Benefit-Cost Ratio, which is the Mitigation Benefits divided by the Mitigation Costs.

Step Five: Export BCA

Steps One through Four of the BCA process are now complete.

To complete Step Five: Export BCA, complete the following steps:

  • On the basic navigation toolbar, select Home. The Quick Start Area is displayed.
  • Select the Export BCA icon. A list of the projects you have created is displayed.
  • Select “Charleston Data Center Floodproofing” as the project you wish to export. The Windows Explorer dialog box is displayed.
  • In the File Name field, enter “Charleston Data Center Floodproofing.”
  • Note that the file type is “.zip” by default.
  • Save the zip file to the desired location on your computer.

The exported file can then be imported by other analysts or reviewers into their BCA Tool. After import, they can review the analysis to evaluate the data entered, the justification and documentation that supports the data, and the final BCR.

Lesson 15 Summary

Lesson 15 covered the DFA Module walk-through, including:

  • DFA Module data and documentation requirements
  • How to complete a DFA Module BCA

Lesson 16 Overview

Welcome to Lesson 16. This lesson covers common errors made while entering data in the DFA Module.

At the end of this lesson, you will be able to distinguish correct data to enter in the following data fields of the DFA Module:

  • Frequency or Recurrence Interval
  • Damages After Mitigation
  • Analysis Duration

Common Data Entry Errors Overview

The DFA Module is the most commonly used of all of the BCA modules.

Since it depends so heavily on quality documentation, it is worth pointing out common DFA Module errors made during data entry:

  • Entering a one-year frequency or recurrence interval
  • Entering zero as damages after mitigation
  • Entering inaccurate analysis duration

One-Year Recurrence Interval

Description of Error: Entering a one-year frequency or recurrence interval for a damage amount

Impact of Error: This mistakenly tells the BCA Tool that the damage is guaranteed to occur each year.

This can add a considerable amount of benefits to the analysis and is a common enough error that reviewers carefully check for this as a potential error.

It may be the case that damage does occur each and every year. However, as stated previously, this is an extraordinary claim and will require extraordinary documentation that provides proof of the yearly losses.

"Remember!" in red talk bubble
The unknown frequency calculator can determine the recurrence intervals as long as there are at least three historic damage events.

Zero Damages After Mitigation

Description of Error: Not entering any values for expected damages and recurrence intervals in the Damages After Mitigation table.

Impact of Error: This mistakenly tells the BCA Tool that the project will eliminate ALL future damage.

The only project types that have the potential to eliminate ALL future damages are structure acquisition and demolition and structure acquisition and relocation.

All other project types are required to have after-mitigation recurrence intervals and damages, along with the supporting documentation.

Inaccurate Analysis Duration

Description of Error: Overriding the Analysis Duration value without proper understanding or documentation

Impact of Error: Entering a value in the User Input Analysis Duration that is lower than the value in the Analysis Duration box mistakenly tells the BCA Tool to look at the same number of historic damage events but within a shorter “time window.” This has the effect of making the historic losses appear more frequent (and, therefore, more likely) over the PUL. This has the potential to increase benefits significantly.

Situations where you could override the analysis duration value include:

  • A river’s flow has changed because a barrier was added or removed. Document this change with floodplain map change correspondence, engineering reports, or photography.
  • The construction date of utility lines or roads is unknown or very old. Document this with records from the utility company or state or local roads or planning departments.
  • A building has undergone substantial renovations after original construction. Document the renovations with engineering reports or tax assessor records.

Lesson 16 Summary

Lesson 16 covered common errors made while entering data in the DFA Module, and explained how to enter the correct data in the following data fields of the DFA Module:

  • Frequency or Recurrence Interval
  • Damages After Mitigation
  • Analysis Duration

Lesson 17 Overview

Welcome to Lesson 17. This lesson covers the Tornado Safe Room Module overview.

At the end of this lesson you will be able to:

  • Explain key tornado hazard concepts
  • Explain Tornado Safe Room Module basic concepts and theory
  • Describe tornado safe room mitigation types

Tornado Hazard Overview

A tornado is a narrow, violently rotating column of air that extends from the base of a thunderstorm to the ground. Because wind is invisible, it is hard to see a tornado unless it forms a condensation funnel made up of water droplets, dust and debris. Tornadoes are among the most destructive weather events.

The number of detected tornadoes has increased since 1950. This is largely due to the invention and use of radar starting in 1950. More recently, storm chasing has led to more tornadoes being reported. Along with radar and other technological advances, warnings have led to a steady decline in the number of tornado fatalities.

NOAA’s National Weather Service Storm Prediction Center provides Monthly and Annual U.S. Tornado Summaries on tornado totals and deaths, available at http://www.spc.noaa.gov/climo/online/monthly/newm.html

Table 1: Enhanced Fujita Scale

Tornadoes are assigned a classification based on estimated wind speeds and related damage. The National Weather Service implemented the “Enhanced Fujita Scale,” or E-F Scale, in 2007 to classify tornadoes more consistently and accurately. Tornadoes with higher EF classifications produce stronger winds and cause more damage. The following screens show examples of damage at different EF classifications.
 

Category

3-Second Gust (mph)

EF0

65 – 85

EF1

 86 – 110

EF2

111 – 135

EF3

136 – 165

EF4

166 – 200

EF5

>200

Tornado Classifications: EF0

EF0 tornadoes have wind speeds of 65 to 85 miles per hour.

Damage includes loss of roof-covering material (<20%), gutters, and/or awnings; loss of vinyl or metal siding; tree branches broken; and shallow-rooted trees toppled.

Tornado Classifications: EF1

EF1 tornadoes have wind speeds of 86 to 110 miles per hour.

Damage includes broken glass in doors and windows, uplift of roof deck and significant loss of roof covering (>20%), collapse of chimneys and garage doors, mobile homes pushed off foundations or overturned, and moving automobiles pushed off roads.

Tornado Classifications: EF2

EF2 tornadoes have wind speeds of 111 to 135 miles per hour.

Damage includes entire houses shifted off foundations, large sections of roof structure removed, mobile homes demolished, trains overturned, large trees snapped or uprooted, and cars lifted off ground and thrown.

Tornado Classifications: EF3

EF3 tornadoes have wind speeds of 136 to 165 miles per hour.

Damage includes collapse of most walls except small interior rooms, and most trees in forest uprooted.

Tornado Classifications: EF4

EF4 tornadoes have wind speeds of 166 to 200 miles per hour.

Damage includes well-constructed houses leveled, structures blown off weak foundations, and cars and other large objects thrown about.

Tornado Classifications: EF5

EF5 tornadoes have wind speeds of greater than 200 miles per hour.

Damage includes strong frame houses lifted off foundations, carried a considerable distance, and disintegrated; automobile-sized missiles flown through the air in excess of 100 meters; trees debarked; and slabs swept clean.

Video: Tornado Safe Room Module Basic Concepts and Theory

This video explains the basic concepts and theory of the Tornado Safe Room Module of the BCA Tool.

The Tornado Safe Room Module calculates benefits of proposed safe room mitigation projects based on reduced casualties, or reducing the likelihood that a person would be killed or injured in a tornado if he or she did not have access to a safe room. These are also called “life safety” benefits.

Residential safe rooms and community safe rooms are both eligible for funding under some of FEMA’s mitigation programs.

For residential safe rooms, there is a pre-determined cost-effectiveness methodology explained in the Job Aid called “Safe Room Project Application Using Pre-Calculated Benefits”: http://www.fema.gov/media-library-data/1424368115734-86cfbaeb456f7c1d57a05d3e8e08a4bd/FINAL_SafeRoom_JobAid_13FEB15_508complete.pdf.

The rest of this overview looks only at community safe rooms.

The first major variable in the Tornado Safe Room Module is the tornado risk, which is automatically imported into the analysis based on the project location. Projects are more likely to be found cost-effective where there is a risk of large and frequent tornadoes.

Occupancy is the next significant variable in the Tornado Safe Room module. Occupancy data is important not only for properly designing the safe room with enough space, but it also determines the number of people who will be protected from harm. For example, if a safe room is to be constructed just for a school, the occupancy would be the number of students, faculty and support staff, and average number of visitors.

Applications for safe rooms for general public use will have to demonstrate where potential occupants will come from and whether the time and distance for them to reach the safe room meets programmatic requirements.

Another major variable in the Tornado Safe Room Module is the predominant structure type(s) that the safe room occupants will evacuate from. Different structure types have different “wind performance” characteristics, which means the extent they can withstand high winds and protect their inhabitants. Examples include open space like a campground that provides no protection, mobile homes that provide limited protection, and large institutional buildings like hospitals that provide a very strong wind resistance and good protection.

You can select up to two predominant structure types in the module.

For example, a school safe room may be close enough for neighboring residences to also seek safety.

When the tool knows the tornado risk for the project location, number of occupants for the safe room, and the wind performance for the buildings they will be evacuating from, the “Value of a Statistical Life,” or VSL, converts calculated injuries and fatalities into dollar terms.

These dollar values take into consideration costs for hospitalization, lost work productivity, and the long term impact of severe injuries.

The dollar value for the prevented casualties is the Damages Before Mitigation value. Since a safe room constructed to FEMA specifications provide “near absolute protection,” these Damages After Mitigation are assumed to be zero. Therefore, the entire dollar value of casualties prevented by the safe room project are considered project benefits.

This concludes the basic concepts and theory of the Tornado Safe Room Module of the BCA Tool.

Tornado Safe Room Mitigation Types

Residential and community safe rooms can protect lives and property from tornado events. Safe room construction projects include retrofits of existing facilities and new safe room construction and apply to both single- and multi-use facilities.

The Safe Room Resources page (https://www.fema.gov/safe-room-resources) on the FEMA website provides a list of publications that provide information about safe rooms.

Residential Safe Room

A residential safe room is a small, specially designed (“hardened”) room, such as a bathroom or closet, which is intended to provide a place of refuge for the people who live in the home.

An external residential safe room is similar in function and design, but it is a separate structure installed outside the home, either above or below ground.

According to FEMA Publication 320, a residential safe room or small community safe room can have a maximum occupancy of 16.

To be considered a FEMA safe room, residential safe rooms must be designed and constructed according to the guidelines specified in FEMA Publication 320, Taking Shelter from the Storm: Building a Safe Room for Your Home or Small Business, available at: http://www.fema.gov/library/viewRecord.do?id=1536

Community Safe Room

A community safe room is designed and constructed to protect a large number of people from a natural hazard event.

The number of persons taking refuge in the safe room can be several hundred or more.

To be considered a FEMA safe room, community safe rooms must be designed and constructed according to the guidelines specified in FEMA Publication 361, Design and Construction Guidance for Community Safe Rooms, available at: http://www.fema.gov/library/viewRecord.do?id=1657.

Lesson 17 Summary

Lesson 17 covered the Tornado Safe Room Module overview, including:

  • Key tornado hazard concepts
  • Tornado Safe Room Module basic concepts and theory
  • Tornado safe room mitigation types

Lesson 18 Overview

Welcome to Lesson 18. This lesson covers the Tornado Safe Room Module walk-through.

At the end of this lesson, you will be able to:

  • Explain the Tornado Safe Room Module data and documentation requirements
  • Complete a Tornado Safe Room Module BCA

BCA Steps Review

You are now ready to conduct a BCA for a proposed community safe room project.

Remember that the following five steps are required to complete a BCA:

  • Step One: Create new project.
  • Step Two: Create new structure(s).
  • Step Three: Add structures to project.
  • Step Four: Start new mitigation. This means starting the analysis of a mitigation project.
  • Step Five: Export BCA.

Tornado Safe Room Module Walk-Through Scenario

The following screens will walk you through the process of conducting a BCA and generating the BCR using a community safe room project scenario.

Step One: Create New Project

To start the Tornado Safe Room Module walk-through, complete the following steps:

  • In the Quick Start Area, select the Create New Project icon.
  • In the Project Info screen, enter the data in Tables 1 and 2 of the Community Safe Room Project scenario.
  • On the bottom right of the screen, select the Save button.

Step Two: Create New Structure(s)

Entering the structure’s State and County is required in the Tornado Safe Room Module. The tornado statistics are brought into the analysis based on these data inputs. If either or both of these inputs are left blank, the BCA Tool will not be able to calculate project benefits.

To continue the Tornado Safe Room Module walk-through, complete the following steps:

  • In the Quick Start Area, select the Create New Structure icon.
  • In the Add/Update Structure window, enter the data in Table 3 of the Community Safe Room Project scenario.
  • On the bottom right of the screen, select the Save button.

Step Three: Add Structure(s) to Project

To continue the Tornado Safe Room Module walk-through, complete the following steps:

  • In the Quick Start Area, select the Add Structures to Project icon.
  • Select the “Twister City Grocery Safe Room” project.
  • In the Add/Remove Structures screen, check the box before “Twister City Grocery Store”.
  • Select the Add button.
  • Select the OK button.
  • The message “Add/Remove Structures Succeeded” is displayed. Select the OK button.

Step Four: Start New Mitigation

To continue the Tornado Safe Room Module walk-through, complete the following steps:

  • In the Quick Start Area, select the Start New Mitigation icon.
  • Select “Twister City Grocery Safe Room” as the project, and then select “Twister City Grocery” as the structure.
  • At the bottom of the Mitigation Information screen, select “Tornado Safe Room.”
  • In the upper right part of the screen, select Save and Continue to display the next screen.

Mitigation Type

To continue the Tornado Safe Room Module walk-through, complete the following steps:

  • In the Mitigation Type screen, enter the data in Table 4 of the Community Safe Room Project scenario.
  • In the upper right part of the screen, select Save and Continue to display the next screen.

Cost Estimation Info

To continue the Tornado Safe Room Module walk-through, complete the following steps:

  • In the Cost Estimation Info screen, enter the data in Table 5 of the Community Safe Room Project scenario.
  • In the upper right part of the screen, select Save and Continue to display the next screen.

Safe Room Design Information: Key Data Inputs

The purpose of this screen is to calculate how large the safe room needs to be. The size is based on the number of occupants and the uses of the space.

Maximum Occupancy

Enter the number of people the safe room can hold, e.g., the number of students and faculty of a school, or the population within a certain radius from the site.

Tip: On the left part of this screen, select Help and access the Help topic “How do I determine safe room maximum occupancy?” to learn more about obtaining this information.

Gross Area

Enter the total area of the safe room, including any room obstructions (i.e., columns, room partitions, and walls), fixed or moveable objects, furniture, and other equipment and features placed in the safe room.

This information should be found on the proposed safe room’s design drawings.

Tip: On the left part of this screen, select Help and access the Help topic “How do I determine the gross area of the safe room?” to learn more about obtaining this information.

Usable Area

This area is a reduction of space from the gross area depending on how the safe room will be used, and it should accommodate the number of people indicated in the maximum occupancy value.

For community safe rooms, FEMA Publication 361 requires five square feet per person and 10 square feet for a handicapped individual and assumes there will be one handicapped person for every 200 occupants.

The value is impacted by whether a safe room will be used only as a safe room or whether the area will have multiple uses in addition to being a safe room—such as a school gymnasium or classroom.

Tip: On the left part of this screen, select Help and access the Help topic “How do I determine the usable area of the safe room?” to learn more about obtaining this information.

Designed Wind Speed

Enter the expected maximum wind speed that the safe room will provide protection against. The proposed safe room project must be designed to the wind speed required for that location.

The wind speed map in FEMA P-361: https://www.fema.gov/media-library/assets/documents/3140?id=1657, and in FEMA P-320; https://www.fema.gov/media-library/assets/documents/2009, provide these requirements.

Safe Room Design Information

To continue the Tornado Safe Room Module walk-through, complete the following steps:

  • In the Safe Room Design Information screen, enter the data in Table 6 of the Community Safe Room Project scenario.
  • In the upper right part of the screen, select Save and Continue to display the next screen.
Note Icon
Note
Safe Room Design Calculations
  • 500 occupants x 5 sq. ft. per occupant = 2500 sq. ft.
  • 3 wheelchair-bound occupants x 5 sq. ft. per occupant = 15 sq. ft.
  • Usable area = 2,500 sq. ft. + 15 sq. ft. = 2,515 sq. ft.

Of the safe room gross area of 2,960 sq. ft., 445 sq. ft., or 35%, are columns, room partitions, walls, fixed or moveable objects, furniture, and other equipment and features.

Safe Room Structure Type: Key Data Inputs

The purpose of this screen is to enter the structure types that the expected safe room occupants will be evacuating from to get to the safe room.

Safe Room Radius

This is a FEMA standard value. The HMA Guidance states that “For tornado community safe rooms, travel limits are five minutes for the occupants who will be walking or a maximum distance of 0.5 mile from the safe room for those driving.” This means that the potential occupants of the safe room must reside or work in buildings that are no more than 0.5 mile away from the safe room.

Tip: On the left part of this screen, select Help and access the Help topic “How do I determine the radius of the community that will use the shelter for tornadoes?” to learn more about obtaining this information.

Predominant Structure

The building performance or wind resistance of each structure type you select determines the likelihood for casualties to be prevented. For example, evacuating from a mobile home to a safe room will prevent more casualties (and, therefore, provide more benefits) than evacuating from a more sturdily-constructed institutional building.

Documentation includes:

  • Maps with locations of sample structure types
  • Photographs of the structure types within the safe room service area
  • Letter from a local official that describes the structure types

You may select a maximum number of two structure types.

Tip: On the left part of this screen, select Help and access the Help topic “Why can I only select two structure types? What if I have more?” to learn more about this data input.

Safe Room Structure Type

To continue the Tornado Safe Room Module walk-through, complete the following steps:

  • In the Safe Room Structure Type screen, enter the data in Table 7 of the Community Safe Room Project scenario.
  • In the upper right part of the screen, select Save and Continue to display the next screen.

Occupancy and Response Information: Key Data Inputs

The purpose of this screen is to determine the expected number of occupants who will be at risk at different times of the day.

Occupancy Table

Enter the percent of total occupants who will be evacuating from each predominant structure type. Knowing the percentage of occupants who will be coming from each structure type is important because each structure type has a different wind performance. This data input helps determine the number of casualties prevented. If occupants are coming from two predominant structure types, the occupancy values have to be split between the two structure types. Regardless if one or two structure types are used, at least one time period must equal 100 percent occupancy. Documentation can be obtained from the facility/school/building owners, homeowners, or any reliable, competent source that is in a position to provide a reliable number.

Tip: Be sure to enter the percentage of occupants, not the number of occupants.

Response

The tool populates the response data field with default values that can be overridden with supporting documentation. These data are pulled from research showing the average response rates during different time periods of the day.

Tip: On the left part of this screen, select Help and access the Help topic “How do I determine the percent of response of occupants for each structure type?” to learn more about obtaining this information

Occupancy and Response Information

To continue the Tornado Safe Room Module walk-through, complete the following steps:

  • In the Occupancy and Response Information screen, enter the data in Table 8 of the Community Safe Room Project scenario.
  • In the upper right part of the screen, select Save and Continue to display the next screen.

Summary of Benefits

The purpose of this screen is to display the summary information and to present the value of benefits divided by total costs, which provides the mitigation project BCR. Remember from Unit 2 that this screen has three sections.

Step Five: Export BCA

Steps One through Four of the BCA process are now complete. To complete Step Five: Export BCA, complete the following steps:

  • On the basic navigation toolbar, select Home. The Quick Start Area is displayed.
  • Select the Export BCA icon. A list of the projects you have created is displayed.
  • Select “Twister City Grocery Safe Room” as the project you wish to export. The Windows Explorer dialog box is displayed.
  • In the File Name field, enter “Twister_City_Grocery_SafeRoom.”
  • Note that the file type is “.zip” by default.
  • Save the zip file to the desired location on your computer.

The exported file can then be imported by other analysts or reviewers into their BCA Tool. After import, they can review the analysis to evaluate the data entered, the justification and documentation that supports the data, and the final BCR.

Lesson 18 Summary

Lesson 18 covered the Tornado Safe Room Module overview, including:

  • Tornado Safe Room Module data and documentation requirements
  • How to complete a Tornado Safe Room Module BCA

Lesson 19 Overview

Welcome to Lesson 19. This lesson covers the Hurricane Wind Module overview.

At the end of this lesson you will be able to:

  • Explain key hurricane wind hazard concepts
  • Explain Hurricane Wind Module basic concepts and theory
  • Describe hurricane wind mitigation activities

Hurricane Wind Hazard Overview

A hurricane is an intense tropical weather system of strong thunderstorms with a well-defined surface circulation and maximum sustained winds of 74 mph or higher. Hurricane season in the Atlantic lasts from June 1st to November 30th; hurricane activity generally ramps up in August and peaks in early September.

Forecasting hurricanes and predicting their movement has become much more accurate as a result of technological advances such as increased meteorological surveillance using satellites and high-speed computers.

Table 1: Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale

Hurricanes with sustained winds of at least 74 mph are assigned a category using the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale. The scale separates hurricanes into five categories based on wind speed and is used to estimate potential property damage.

Hurricanes of Category 3 and higher are classified as “major” hurricanes. Although not classified as major hurricanes, Category 1 and 2 hurricanes are still extremely dangerous.

The National Hurricane Center website: http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/aboutsshws.php provides a conceptual animation of wind damage associated with increasing hurricane intensity.

 

Category

Sustained Winds (mph)

Major

Category 1 74 – 95 No
Category 2 96 – 110 No
Category 3 111 – 129 Yes
Category 4 130 – 156 Yes
Category 5 >157 Yes

Hurricane Wind Classifications: Category 1

Category 1 hurricanes have sustained wind speeds of 74 to 95 miles per hour.

Damage could include the following:

  • Well-constructed frame homes could have damage to roof, shingles, vinyl siding, and gutters.
  • Large branches of trees may snap, and shallowly rooted trees may be toppled.
  • Extensive damage to power lines and poles could result in power outages that could last from a few to several days.

Hurricane Wind Classifications: Category 2

Category 2 hurricanes have sustained wind speeds of 96 to 110 miles per hour.

Damage could include the following:

  • Well-constructed frame homes could sustain major roof and siding damage.
  • Shallowly rooted trees could be snapped or uprooted and block numerous roads.
  • Near-total power loss is expected with outages that could last from several days to weeks.

Hurricane Wind Classifications: Category 3

Category 3 hurricanes have sustained wind speeds of 111 to 129 miles per hour.

Damage could include the following:

  • Well-built framed homes may incur major damage or removal of roof decking and gable ends.
  • Many trees will be snapped or uprooted, blocking numerous roads.
  • Electricity and water will be unavailable for several days or weeks after the storm passes.

Hurricane Wind Classifications: Category 4

Category 4 hurricanes have sustained wind speeds of 130 to 156 miles per hour.

Damage could include the following:

  • Well-built framed homes can sustain severe damage with loss of most of the roof structure and/or some exterior walls.
  • Most trees will be snapped or uprooted and power poles downed. Fallen trees and power poles will isolate residential areas.
  • Power outages will last for several weeks or possibly months.
  • Most of the area will be uninhabitable for weeks or months.

Hurricane Wind Classifications: Category 5

Category 5 hurricanes have sustained wind speeds of >157 miles per hour.

Damage could include the following:

  • A high percentage of framed homes will be destroyed, with total roof failure and wall collapse.
  • Fallen trees and power poles will isolate residential areas.
  • Power outages will last for several weeks or possibly months. Most of the area will be uninhabitable for weeks or months.

Transcript: Hurricane Wind Module Basic Concepts and Theory

This video explains the basic concepts and theory of the Hurricane Wind Module of the BCA Tool.

The Hurricane Wind module analyzes the building performance of the structure being mitigated, specifically, its performance against a strong wind hazard associated with a hurricane.

Once the roof is blown off or damaged, or windows are shattered, wind can enter the structure. With the building envelope compromised, hurricane-force winds entering the structure will cause additional physical damage to the building and its contents.

To prevent these types of damages, the basic goal of hurricane wind mitigation projects is to harden the structure so that it performs better against strong winds. Hardening can be accomplished with project types such as installing hurricane straps that will better keep the roof attached to the structure, or hurricane shutters that will help prevent wind-borne debris from being blown through windows and doors.

To calculate project benefits, the hurricane wind module requires the following key data inputs. First is the windspeed data for the structure’s location. The windspeed velocity and frequency is critical to determining the calculated damages.

Next, you need to enter data about the structure that allows the tool to calculate an economic damage value, for example the:

  • Structure size in square feet,
  • Replacement cost per square foot, and
  • Whether the structure is residential or non-residential.

You will also need to provide more specific information about the building’s properties that the tool uses to determine building performance. These include:

  • The type of construction, which could be masonry, wood, steel, or concrete;
  • The roof cover type, which could be a gable or hip roof for residential buildings, or built-up roof or single-ply membrane roof for non-residential buildings; and
  • Whether the building has shutters.

The value of contents and displacement costs are also calculated as project benefits because the mitigation project will reduce or eliminate these losses. Finally, loss of function benefits can also be calculated as a project benefit for non-residential buildings.

With these BCA inputs known, it is possible for the tool to calculate the impact of the project on the structure’s wind risk. The dollar value of the reduced wind risk are the project benefits.

This concludes the explanation of the basic concepts and theory of the Hurricane Wind Module of the BCA Tool.

Hurricane Wind Mitigation Types Overview

As explained in the video on the previous page, the best way to mitigate the potential for losses due to hurricane wind is to “harden” the property and make it less susceptible to damage.

Mitigation project types that can be analyzed using the BCA Tool include:

  • Building Performance-related projects such as:
    • Shutters and impact-resistant glazing
    • Load path activities
    • Roof activities
    • Code plus activities
  • Non-Building Performance-related projects such as Acquisition

The following pages explain each project type.

Mitigation Type: Shutters

Project Description: Equip windows and doors with shutters, laminations, or other systems that meet the debris impact and wind pressure design requirements of the International Residential Code (IRC)/International Building Code (IBC).

This mitigation project assumes all openings of a building will be protected.

Purpose: To keep wind and rain out of the structure in order to reduce structural damage and damage to contents.

Mitigation Type: Load Path Activities

Project Description: Improve roof-wall connections using methods such as installing metal hurricane clips or hurricane straps.

Purpose: To improve the structural system of a building by providing a continuous load path from the roof to the foundation, which helps to prevent catastrophic roof uplift failures.

Mitigation Type: Roof Activities

Project DescriptionImproved Roof Sheathing Attachment is an example of a roof activity. This activity provides a better attachment of the plywood or oriented strand board (OSB) roof sheathing to the roof structure through appropriate fasteners. Closer fastener spacing helps to prevent sections of a roof deck from being lifted off by the wind. This reduces progressive failures and the penetration of wind and water into the building envelope.

Purpose: To secure the building envelope and building integrity during a wind event.

Mitigation Type: Code Plus Activities

Project Description: Typically refers to buildings that have been designed and constructed to withstand a higher wind speed than what is required in the code. If you select Code Plus as the project’s mitigation type, you cannot select additional mitigation types like roof improvements because those are included in Code Plus design.

Purpose: To exceed the local building codes and standards to achieve a greater level of protection.

Mitigation Type: Acquisition

Project Description: Acquiring and demolishing a structure and turning the property into open space in perpetuity. As with Code Plus activities, if you select Acquisition as the project’s mitigation type, you cannot select additional mitigation options since the structure will be demolished.

Lesson 19 Summary

Lesson 19 covered the Hurricane Wind Module overview, including:

  • Key hurricane wind hazard concepts
  • Hurricane Wind Module basic concepts and theory
  • Hurricane Wind mitigation activities

Lesson 20 Overview

Welcome to Lesson 20. This lesson covers the Hurricane Wind Module walk-through.

At the end of this lesson, you will be able to:

  • Import hurricane wind data
  • Explain the Hurricane Wind Module data and documentation requirements
  • Complete a Hurricane Wind Module BCA

Video Transcript: How to Import Hurricane Hazard Data

This video demonstrates how to import hurricane hazard data into the BCA tool. Import the hurricane hazard data into the tool, if:

  • You just completed an installation of the BCA tool, and/or
  • You are going to complete a BCA using the Hurricane Wind Module for the first time.

To import hurricane hazard data, complete the following steps:

  1. Access the BCA page on the FEMA website.
  2. Scroll down the page to access the Hurricane Hazard Data link.
  3. Select the link.
  4. Links to BCA resources are displayed. Select the Hurricane Hazard Data link.
  5. Select “Save.”
  6. By default, the file is saved to your computer’s Downloads folder.
  7. Using Windows Explorer, navigate to your Downloads folder.
  8. Right-click on lookuplatlonwindspeed.zip.
  9. From the pop-up menu, select “Extract All.”
  10. The Extract Compressed (Zipped) Folders dialog box is displayed. Select the Browse button and navigate to the folder where you wish to save the extracted file.
  11. Note: Remember the file location that you chose.

  12. At the bottom right of the dialog box, select the Extract button.
  13. The lookuplatlonwindspeed.dat file is extracted from the zip file.
  14. Note that the file type is “DAT.” It is this .DAT file that you will import into the BCA Tool, and NOT the zip file.
  15. Launch the BCA Tool.
  16. On the basic navigation toolbar at the top of the BCA screen, locate the Import/Export icon. This icon is the 6th icon from the left and is between the Export BCA and Backup/Restore icons. Select the icon.
  17. The BCA – Import Export screen is displayed with six tabs.
  18. Select the Import Wind/Seismic Data tab, which is the fifth tab from the left.
  19. At the top of the tab, Select module displays two options: Hurricane Wind and Seismic.
  20. Select “Hurricane Wind.”
  21. In the middle section of the tab, “Please select Source Data File” is displayed, with an Open File button.
  22. Select the Open File button. The Windows Explorer window is displayed.
  23. Navigate to the Downloads folder, where the extracted lookuplatlonwindspeed.dat is saved.
  24. Select the lookuplatlonwindspeed.dat file.
  25. On the bottom right of the Windows Explorer window, select “Open.”
  26. The Import Wind/Seismic Data tab is displayed once again.
  27. In the middle right section of the tab, select the “Import Data” button.
  28. The tool proceeds to import the data.
  29. After a successful import, the message, Lookup data successfully imported, is displayed. Select ‘OK.”
  30. On the upper right corner of the BCA – Import Export screen, select the “X” button to close the screen.

This concludes the video demonstration of how to import hurricane hazard data into the BCA Tool.

BCA Steps Review

You are now ready to conduct a BCA for a proposed hurricane shutters project. Remember that the following five steps are required to complete a BCA:

  • Step One: Create new project.
  • Step Two: Create new structure(s).
  • Step Three: Add structures to project.
  • Step Four: Start new mitigation. This means starting the analysis of a mitigation project.
  • Step Five: Export BCA.
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Tip
Before you begin Step One: Create new project, be sure you have imported the hurricane hazard data. The previous page provides the video demonstration of how to import this data.

Hurricane Wind Module Walk-Through Scenario

The following screens will walk you through the process of conducting a BCA and generating the BCR using a hurricane shutters project scenario.

 

Select this link to display the hurricane shutters project scenario in a new window.

Step One: Create New Project

To start the Hurricane Wind Module walk-through, complete the following steps:

  • In the Quick Start Area, select the Create New Project icon.
  • In the Project Info screen, enter the data in Tables 1 and 2 of the Hurricane shutters Project scenario.
  • On the bottom right of the screen, select the Save button.

Step Two: Create New Structure(s)

Entering the structure’s Zip or Latitude/Longitude is required in the Hurricane Wind Module. The windspeed data is brought into the analysis based on these data inputs. If both of these inputs are left blank, the BCA Tool will not be able to calculate project benefits.

To continue the Hurricane Wind Module walk-through, complete the following steps:

  • In the Quick Start Area, select the Create New Structure icon.
  • In the Add/Update Structure screen, enter the data in Table 3 of the Hurricane Shutters Project scenario.
  • On the bottom right of the screen, select the Save button.

Step Three: Add Structure(s) to Project

To continue the Hurricane Wind Module walk-through, complete the following steps:

  • In the Quick Start Area, select the Add Structures to Project icon.
  • Select the “Broward County Hurricane Shutters” project.
  • In the Add/Remove Structures screen, check the box before “123 Tropic Way”.
  • Select the Add button.
  • Select the OK button.
  • The message “Add/Remove Structures Succeeded” is displayed. Select the OK button.

Step Four: Start New Mitigation

To continue the Hurricane Wind Module walk-through, complete the following steps:

  • In the Quick Start Area, select the Start New Mitigation icon.
  • Select “Broward County Hurricane Shutters” as the project, and then select “123 Tropic Way” as the structure.
  • At the bottom of the Mitigation Information screen, select “Hurricane Wind.”
  • In the upper right part of the screen, select Save and Continue to display the next screen.

Mitigation Type

The purpose of this screen is to identify the hurricane wind mitigation activity. Obtain this information from the detailed scope of work section of the project subapplication.

To continue the Hurricane Wind Module walk-through, complete the following steps:

  • In the Mitigation Type screen, select “Shutters”.
  • In the upper right part of the screen, select Save and Continue to display the next screen.
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Tip
On this screen in the BCA Tool, hover the mouse over each hurricane wind mitigation project type to display a brief description.

Cost Estimation Info

To continue the Hurricane Wind Module walk-through, complete the following steps:

  • In the Cost Estimation Info screen, enter the data in Table 4 of the Hurricane Shutters Project scenario.
  • In the upper right part of the screen, select Save and Continue to display the Volunteer Costs screen.
  • For this project scenario, there are no volunteer costs data, so select Save and Continue to display the Social Benefits screen.
  • There are no social benefits data for this project scenario, so select Save and Continue to display the next screen.
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This is the first screen in the Hurricane Wind Module where it is important to provide justification text and attach back-up documentation to support the data entered.

Hurricane Wind – Structure Zip or Lat/Lon

The purpose of this screen is to bring into the analysis the wind speeds for the location values you entered in the Add/Update Structure window.

To continue the Hurricane Wind Module walk-through, complete the following steps:

  • In the Select structure’s location field, select “Use Zip Code.”
  • In the upper right part of the screen, select Save and Continue to display the next screen.
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Tip
If you do not see Zip Code or Latitude/Longitude values automatically populate on this screen, it means you did not enter these values in the Add/Update Structure window. To enter these values, follow the steps explained in Module 1, Lesson 5: Update an Existing Structure.

Hurricane Wind – Wind Speed

The purpose of this screen is to:

  • Provide default wind speed data in three-second gusts for multiple return periods based on the zip code or latitude and longitude of the structure
  • Provide a column for user-entered wind speed

To continue the Hurricane Wind Module walk-through, complete the following steps:

  • Use the default wind speed displayed on the screen.
  • In the upper right part of the screen, select Save and Continue to display the next screen.
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Tip
On the left part of this screen, select Help and access the Help topic “How do I override default wind speeds and how should it be documented?” to learn more about entering data in the User Entered Wind Speed column.

Hurricane Wind – Structure Information: Key Data Inputs

The purpose of this screen is to:

  • Establish the exposure of the structure
  • Establish the total building replacement value (BRV) for the structure
  • Identify whether the structure is residential

Exposure

Select “B – Urban & Dense Suburban” or “C – Open.” This data identifies the exposure of the structure based on the natural topography, vegetation, and constructed facilities surrounding the project location. A structure located in an open area has fewer barriers to reduce wind impact than a structure located in an urban/suburban area. This information is required to calculate the BCR. Use online maps to determine and document the structure location.

Total Size of Building (sq. ft.)

Enter the total size of the enclosed area within the building. Obtain this data from assessor records, tax cards, the deed, or the facility owner. Provide copies of the record(s).

Value of Building ($/sq.ft.)

Enter the cost per square foot for building a comparable structure. This is a required value. Obtain this data from a local building official, or national cost estimating guides like RS Means and Marshall & Swift. Provide supporting documentation.

Total Value of Building

This is a system-calculated value, obtained by multiplying the Total Size of Building with the Value of Building. The result is the Building Replacement Value (BRV). If a structure is damaged in a hurricane, the BRV amount determines the cost to repair it.

Is the Building Residential?

Select “Yes” or “No.” If you select “No,” the tool displays a follow-up question on whether the project is a retrofit or new construction. Provide documentation for a retrofit project by attaching photographs of the existing structure. For new construction, provide blueprints and/or design schematics.

Hurricane Wind – Structure Information

To continue the Hurricane Wind Module walk-through, complete the following steps:

  • In the Hurricane Wind – Structure Information screen, enter the data in Table 5 of the Hurricane Shutters Project scenario.
  • In the upper right part of the screen, select Save and Continue to display the next screen.

Hurricane Wind – Building Properties: Key Data Inputs

The purpose of this screen is to determine the use, style, and structural components of the building.

Obtain the data needed for this screen from a structural engineer, contractor, or building inspector, and provide documentation on official letterhead.

Type of Construction

 Select “Wood,” “Masonry,” “Steel,” or “Concrete.” Different construction types have different building performance characteristics which are used in determining the benefits of the mitigation project.

Type of Building

A drop-down selection list based on the construction type selected is displayed. For example, if “Wood” had been selected as the construction type, a drop-down list of “Wood” building types would be displayed.

Properties Before Mitigation

A series of selection lists for various building properties are displayed based on the construction type and building type selected. The various building properties are displayed in descending order of relative impact on the wind damage function.

Properties After Mitigation

The same building properties selection lists displayed in Properties Before Mitigation are displayed here, and they are in the same order. The mitigation project is expected to improve one or more of the building properties.

Hurricane Wind – Building Properties

To continue the Hurricane Wind Module walk-through, complete the following steps:

  1. In the top section of the Hurricane Wind – Building Properties screen, enter the data in Table 6 of the Hurricane Shutters Project scenario.
  2. In the Properties Before Mitigation box on the left side of the screen, enter the data in Table 7 of the Hurricane Shutters Project scenario.
  3. In the Properties After Mitigation box on the right side of the screen, enter the data in Table 8 of the Hurricane Shutters Project scenario.
  4. In the upper right part of the screen, select Save and Continue to display the next screen.

Hurricane Wind – Non-Residential Building: Key Data Inputs

The purpose of this screen is to determine the value of building contents and one-time displacement cost.

Value of Building Contents

On the left part of this screen, select Help and access the Help topic “How do I determine the value of contents for non-residential buildings?” to obtain guidance for determining the correct value. Justification and documentation are required if the values come from alternative sources, especially if the contents value exceeds the values in the table shown in the Help content.

Displacement Cost ($/month)

Enter the costs incurred when building occupants are displaced to temporary quarters so that repairs can be made. Costs consist of:

  • Monthly rental costs for comparable housing/building space
  • One-time disruption costs

Avoided displacement costs count as project benefits and may be incurred for residential, commercial, or public structures. Displacement occurs only when damages to a structure are sufficiently severe that repairs cannot be completed with occupants in place.

Hurricane Wind – Non-Residential Building

To continue the Hurricane Wind Module walk-through, complete the following steps:

  • In the Hurricane Wind – Non-Residential Building screen, enter the data in Table 9 of the Hurricane Shutters Project scenario.
  • In the upper right part of the screen, select Save and Continue to display the next screen.

Loss of Services: Key Data Inputs

The purpose of this screen is to calculate loss of services benefits for non-residential structures that are considered critical facilities or that provide a critical use (i.e., fire station, hospital, police station, or other critical facility). The tool will ask for additional data inputs based on the facility type you select

Fire Station

The tool will ask:

  • How many people are served by fire station?
  • Type of area served by fire station
  • Distance in miles to closest fire station
  • Does the fire station also provide emergency medical services (EMS)? If the station does provide EMS, then the tool will request the distance in miles to the next fire station that also provides EMS

You can obtain the above information from the fire station, community planning department, or other reliable source. Obtain distance information from online maps.

Hospital

The tool will ask:

  • Population served by the hospital being mitigated
  • Distance in miles to closest alternative hospital
  • Population served by the alternative hospital

You can obtain the above information from the hospital, local planning agency, or other reliable source. Obtain distance information from online maps.

Police Station

The tool will ask:

  • Type of area served by police station (i.e., metropolitan, city, or rural)
  • Population served by the police station
  • Number of police officers in the station being mitigated
  • Number of officers that would serve the area if this station is shut down/lost

You can obtain this information from the affected police station. This station would likely need to consult other police stations for data on the number of officers that would serve the area if the station was shut down or lost.

Other

The tool will ask:

  • Service name
  • Annual budget of the facility
  • Type of area

You can obtain the annual budget from the facility being mitigated. Provide supporting documentation.

Loss of Services

To continue the Hurricane Wind Module walk-through, complete the following steps:

  • In the Loss of Services screen, enter the data in Table 10 of the Hurricane Shutters Project scenario.
  • In the upper right part of the screen, select Save and Continue to display the Hurricane Wind – Damage Functions screen. The purpose of this screen is to display the damages before and after mitigation that are used to calculate the project benefits.
  • In the upper right part of the screen, select Save and Continue to display the next screen.

Summary of Benefits

The purpose of this screen is to display the summary information and to present the value of benefits divided by total costs, which provides the mitigation project BCR. Remember from Unit 2 that this screen has three sections.

Expected Annual Damages Before and After Mitigation

The top section of the screen displays the Before and After Mitigation values that have been filled in by the tool. These values are based on the data you entered in the previous screens and the calculations built into the tool.

Expected Avoided Damages After Mitigation (BENEFITS)

The middle section of the screen shows the impact of the project, or the project benefits.

Benefits, Costs, and Benefit-Cost Ratio

The bottom section of the screen shows the Mitigation Benefits, the Mitigation Costs, and the difference between these two values. It also includes the most important value: the Benefit-Cost Ratio, which is the Mitigation Benefits divided by the Mitigation Costs.

Step Five: Export BCA

Steps One through Four of the BCA process are now complete.

To complete Step Five: Export BCA, complete the following steps:

  • On the basic navigation toolbar, select Home. The Quick Start Area is displayed.
  • Select the Export BCA icon. A list of the projects you have created is displayed.
  • Select “Broward County Hurricane Shutters” as the project you wish to export. The Windows Explorer dialog box is displayed.
  • In the File Name field, enter “Broward County Hurricane Shutters.”
  • Note that the file type is “.zip” by default.
  • Save the zip file to the desired location on your computer.

The exported file can then be imported by other analysts or reviewers into their BCA Tool. After import, they can review the analysis to evaluate the data entered, the justification and documentation that supports the data, and the final BCR.

Lesson 20 Summary

Lesson 20 covered the Hurricane Wind Module overview, including:

  • How to import hurricane wind data
  • Hurricane Wind Module data and documentation requirements
  • How to complete a Hurricane Wind Module BCA

Lesson 21 Overview

Welcome to Lesson 21. This lesson covers the Wildfire Module overview. At the end of this lesson you will be able to:

  • Explain key wildfire hazard concepts
  • Explain Wildfire Module basic concepts and theory
  • Describe eligible wildfire mitigation project types

Wildfire Hazard Overview

A wildfire is an uncontrolled fire spreading through vegetative fuels, exposing and possibly consuming structures.

According to The National Interagency Fire Center (NIFC), the annual average number of wildland fires that occurred in the U.S. from 2005 to 2014 was 24,134 fires, resulting in 961,983 acres burned. The NIFC website (available at: http://www.nifc.gov/fireInfo/fireInfo_statistics.html) provides statistics on current and historical wildland fires.

Wildland-Urban Interface

The Wildland-Urban Interface (WUI) is that geographical area where structures and other human development meet or intermingle with wildland or vegetative fuels. Due to this proximity to the built environment, wildfires occurring in the WUI can use structures as an additional fuel load.

Eligible FEMA wildfire mitigation projects must be located in a WUI, must be either adjacent to or intermingled with the built environment, and must provide protection to life and the built environment from future wildfires.

Wildfire Hazard Data

Here are some sources of wildfire data that could be used to document the hazard risk. Select each image to learn more about sources of wildfire hazard data.Select this link to access a summary of presented information.

Landfire Data Maps

LANDFIRE: http://www.landfire.gov/index.php provides the burn recurrence intervals (BRI) that the Wildfire Module uses to determine the wildfire hazard data for a project location.

National Fire Hazard Maps

Available on U.S. Forest Service – Wildland Fire Assessment System: http://www.wfas.net/index.php/fire-danger-rating-fire-potential–danger-32, these maps provide fire hazard levels for various locations.

State and Local Fire Hazard Maps

Available from state and local government agencies, these maps can provide more accurate fire hazard information for specific locations.

Historical Data

Available on sites like the National Interagency Fire Center: http://www.nifc.gov/fireInfo/fireInfo_statistics.html, statistics can provide a higher-level view for how the wildfire risk is changing over time.

BCA Wildfire Module: Basic Concepts and Theory: Video Transcript

This video explains the basic concepts and theory of the Wildfire Module of the BCA Tool.A wildfire is an uncontrolled fire spreading through vegetative fuels, exposing and possibly consuming structures.

The National Interagency Fire Center, or NIFC, provides statistics on U.S. total wildland fires and acres burned. This graph shows the number of acres burned each year for the ten year period from 2005 to 2014.

For areas with a wildfire risk, the Wildland-Urban Interface, or WUI, is that geographical area where structures and other human development meet or intermingle with wildland or vegetative fuels. Due to this proximity to the built environment, WUI fires have additional fuel loads from structures. HMA wildfire mitigation projects must be located in a WUI, and must be adjacent to, or intermingled with the built environment.

The frequency of wildfires is the first input in the Wildfire Module, and the tool determines a default “burn recurrence interval” value based on the project’s location. If applicable, the default burn recurrence interval can be overridden with better data.

There are three types of eligible wildfire mitigation project activities: defensible space, hazardous fuels reduction, and ignition-resistant construction. A wildfire project can include more than one of these eligible project types. The default project effectiveness is assumed to be 10 percent for each project type. For example, in a project that incorporates hazardous fuels reduction and defensible space, the cumulative project effectiveness assumes that damage would be reduced by 20%. The default project effectiveness value can be overridden with better data.

The Project Useful Life value for some wildfire mitigation project types can be very low. This is because vegetation removed in a hazardous fuels reduction project will start growing back immediately upon completion. For this reason, maintaining the completed project to the same level of effectiveness may also be a significant project cost.

Calculating the damages and losses depends heavily on two variables: the number of buildings the project will protect, and the number of residents within the project area. For the number of buildings, the total building replacement value determines the dollar value of the at-risk structures. The number of residents in the project area helps determine the casualty and displacement costs if the project is not completed.

Additional information for wildfire damages and losses can be entered, if they will be mitigated by the project, and if documented. Those are:

  • The value of infrastructure vulnerable to fire in the project area;
  • The value of timber to be sold within the project area;
  • Fire suppression costs for one typical fire event, within the project area; and
  • Other wildfire-related damages or losses that will be mitigated by the project.

The BCA Tool calculates the amount of damage for the before mitigation scenario and the after mitigation scenario. For the Wildfire Module, the damages after mitigation uses the project effectiveness for the number of wildfire activities in the project. The difference in these two amounts is the impact of the project, otherwise known as project benefits.

This concludes the basic concepts and theory of the Wildfire Module of the BCA Tool.

Wildfire Mitigation Project Types Overview

Eligible wildfire mitigation project types that can be analyzed using the BCA Tool include the following:

  • Defensible space
  • Ignition-resistant construction
  • Hazardous fuels reduction

The following pages explain each project type.

Mitigation Project Type: Defensible Space

Project Description: The creation of perimeters around residential and non-residential buildings and structures by:

  • Removing or reducing flammable vegetation
  • Replacing flammable vegetation with less flammable species
  • Clearing all combustibles in accordance with applicable codes and best practices

Purpose: To increase the chance that a structure can be protected or survive on its own. The default project effectiveness for such activities is 10%.

Mitigation Project Type: Ignition-Resistant Construction

Project Description: The application of non-combustible building envelope assemblies, the use of ignition-resistant materials, and the use of proper retrofit techniques in new and existing structures.

  • Ignition-resistant construction activities must be combined with defensible space activities. Construction may be subject to State and/or local building codes. Examples include:
  • Installing ignition-resistant roofing like non-combustible composite shingles or tiles
  • Installing ignition-resistant walls and ember-resistant vents
  • Purchasing and installing water hydration systems

Purpose: To provide structural protection for homes, structures, and critical facilities. The default project effectiveness for ignition-resistant construction activities combined with defensible space is 20% (10% for each mitigation measure).

Mitigation Project Type: Hazardous Fuels Reduction

Project Description: The removal or modification of vegetative fuels through vegetation management, vegetation removal, vegetation clearing and/or thinning, slash removal, and vertical and horizontal clearance of tree branches.

Such activities must be no farther than 2 miles from structures and may include the following techniques:

  • Replacing highly-flammable vegetation with more fire-resistant vegetation
  • Applying chemical treatments, including herbicides
  • Grazing or biomass conversion
  • Using mechanical treatments (disking, mulching, grinding, mowing, chopping)
  • Removing biomass (dead or blown-down vegetation, thinning, removing brush)

Purpose: To remove or reduce flammable materials that are beyond defensible space perimeters but are proximate to at-risk structures. The default project effectiveness for such activities is 10%.

Lesson 21 Summary

Lesson 21 covered the Wildfire Module overview, including:

  • Key wildfire hazard concepts
  • Wildfire Module basic concepts and theory
  • Eligible wildfire mitigation project types

Lesson 22 Overview

Welcome to Lesson 22. This lesson covers the Wildfire Module walk-through.

At the end of this lesson, you will be able to:

  • Explain the Wildfire Module data and documentation requirements
  • Complete a Wildfire Module BCA

BCA Steps Review

You are now ready to conduct a BCA for a proposed hazardous fuels reduction project.

Remember that the following five steps are required to complete a BCA:

  • Step One: Create new project.
  • Step Two: Create new structure(s).
  • Step Three: Add structures to project.
  • Step Four: Start new mitigation. This means starting the analysis of a mitigation project.
  • Step Five: Export BCA.

Wildfire Module Walk-Through Scenario

The following screens will walk you through the process of conducting a BCA and generating the BCR using a hazardous fuels reduction project scenario.

Select this link to display the hazardous fuels reduction project scenario in another window. It is recommended that you keep the scenario window open while completing the walk-through, or print the scenario.

Step One: Create New Project

To start the Wildfire Module walk-through, complete the following steps:

  • In the Quick Start Area, select the Create New Project icon.
  • In the Project Info screen, enter the data in Tables 1 and 2 of the Hazardous Fuels Reduction Project scenario.
  • On the bottom right of the screen, select the Save button.

Step Two: Create New Structure(s)

Entering the structure’s State and Zip are required in the Wildfire Module. The Burn Recurrence Interval (BRI) data is brought into the analysis depending on these data inputs. If these inputs are left blank, the BCA Tool will not be able to calculate project benefits.

To continue the Wildfire Module walk-through, complete the following steps:

  • In the Quick Start Area, select the Create New Structure icon.
  • In the Add/Update Structure screen, enter the data in Table 3 of the Hazardous Fuels Reduction Project scenario.
  • On the bottom right of the screen, select the Save button.

Step Three: Add Structure(s) to Project

To continue the Wildfire Module walk-through, complete the following steps:

  • In the Quick Start Area, select the Add Structures to Project icon.
  • Select the “Walden Hazardous Fuels Reduction” project.
  • In the Add/Remove Structures screen, check the box before “Community of Walden.”
  • Select the Add button.
  • Select the OK button.
  • The message “Add/Remove Structures Succeeded” is displayed. Select the OK button.

Step Four: Start New Mitigation

To continue the Wildfire Module walk-through, complete the following steps:

  • In the Quick Start Area, select the Start New Mitigation icon.
  • Select “Walden Hazardous Fuels Reduction” as the project, and then select “Community of Walden” as the structure.
  • At the bottom of the Mitigation Information screen, select “Wildfire.”
  • In the upper right part of the screen, select Save and Continue to display the next screen.

Wildfire Info

The purpose of this screen is to identify the wildfire mitigation activity. Obtain this information from the detailed scope of work section of the project subapplication.

To continue the Wildfire Module walk-through, complete the following steps:

  • Confirm that the Zip Code and State you previously entered are displayed on the screen. If you do not see Zip Code and State values automatically populated in this screen, enter the values in Table 4 of the Hazardous Fuels Reduction Project scenario.
  • For Avg. Burn Recurrence Interval, select “Other.” Enter “75” in the text field on the right. Although there is a default BRI for this zip code, there are State or local wildfire hazard maps that document a 75-year BRI. Remember to provide documentation when overriding default values.
  • For mitigation measures, select “Hazardous Fuels Reduction Activities.” Selecting this measure provides a default project effectiveness value of 10% to the analysis.
  • In the upper right part of the screen, select Save and Continue to display the next screen.
Image used for tip element icon
Tip
On this screen, hover the mouse over each wildfire mitigation measure to display a brief description.

Cost Estimation Info

To continue the Wildfire Module walk-through, complete the following steps:

  • In the Cost Estimation Info screen, enter the data in Table 5 of the Hazardous Fuels Reduction Project scenario.
  • In the upper right part of the screen, select Save and Continue to display the Volunteer Costs screen.
  • For this project scenario, there are no volunteer costs data, so select Save and Continue to display the Damages and Losses Before Mitigation screen.
Image used for tip element icon
Tip
This is the first screen in the Wildfire Module where it is important to provide justification text and attach back-up documentation to support the data entered.

Damages and Losses Before Mitigation: Top Section Key Data Inputs

The purpose of the top section of this screen is to determine property damages and losses before mitigation.

Number of Buildings Protected

Enter the number of buildings the proposed project will protect. Obtain this data from the project subapplication.

Total BRV

Enter the total BRV of the buildings that will be protected. Ensure that the value entered is reasonable, considering the number of buildings protected. Acceptable documentation includes a letter from either a construction/contracting firm or local building inspector; or a photocopy of pages from a standard cost reference manual. If tax records are used, the source must be an assessor.

Value of Building Contents

If you select “Default,” the system calculates this value to be 50% of the total BRV. If you select “Other,” and you enter your own value for the building contents, you need to provide the rationale and supporting documentation for those values. You can obtain supporting documentation from insurance records, signed appraisals, purchase receipts, or estimates based on current market prices for similar contents.

Value of Infrastructure

Enter the economic value of assets that could be lost in a wildfire such as bridges, water and wastewater infrastructure, or utilities. Reliable sources of this information include municipal offices with jurisdiction over the public infrastructure (e.g., Department of Public Works, Wastewater Management).

Value of Timber

Enter the value of lumber in the project area. You can obtain these data from the USDA Forest Service or other qualified agency, forester or qualified timber company, or the owner of the property. Support all data with signed estimates.

Fire Suppression Costs

Enter the estimated costs for responding to and fighting the fire. Reliable sources include the local, State, or Federal fire-fighting agency that fights wildland fires; USDA Forest Service; or the owner of the property that has experienced a wildland fire previously. Support all data with signed estimates.

Other

Enter costs for other fire-related losses including the following:

  • Vehicle losses
  • Cleanup costs

Provide detailed supporting documentation.

Damages and Losses Before Mitigation: Top Section

To continue the Wildfire Module walk-through, complete the following steps:

  • In the top section of the Damages and Losses Before Mitigation screen, enter the data in Table 6 of the Hazardous Fuels Reduction Project scenario.
  • Scroll down to display the bottom section of the screen.

Damages and Losses Before Mitigation: Bottom Section Key Data Inputs

The purpose of the bottom section of this screen is to determine the damages and losses due for casualties (fatalities and injuries) before mitigation.

Number of Residents Within Proposed Project Area

Enter the number of residents directly affected by the proposed mitigation project. If the exact number of residents is not known, it can be estimated based on Census information for the number of people per household, and then multiplied by the number of residences benefiting from the proposed project. Provide supporting documentation.

Current Federal Lodging and Meals Per Diem

Enter the current Federal lodging and meals per diem. The current per diem values for the project area are most easily obtained from the GSA website: http://www.gsa.gov/portal/content/104877.

Damages and Losses Before Mitigation: Bottom Section

To continue the Wildfire Module walk-through, complete the following steps:

  • In the bottom section of the Damages and Losses Before Mitigation screen, enter the data in Table 6 of the Hazardous Fuels Reduction Project scenario.
  • In the upper right part of the screen, select Save and Continue to display the next screen.

Summary of Benefits

The purpose of this screen is to display the summary information and to present the value of benefits divided by total costs, which provides the mitigation project BCR. Remember from Unit 2 that this screen has three sections.

Step Five: Export BCA

Steps One through Four of the BCA process are now complete. To complete Step Five: Export BCA, complete the following steps:

  • On the basic navigation toolbar, select Home. The Quick Start Area is displayed.
  • Select the Export BCA icon. A list of the projects you have created is displayed.
  • Select “Walden Hazardous Fuels Reduction” as the project you wish to export. The Windows Explorer dialog box is displayed.
  • In the File Name field, enter “Walden Hazardous Fuels Reduction.”
  • Note that the file type is “.zip” by default.
  • Save the zip file to the desired location on your computer.

The exported file can then be imported by other analysts or reviewers into their BCA Tool. After import, they can review the analysis to evaluate the data entered, the justification and documentation that supports the data, and the final BCR.

Lesson 22 Summary

Lesson 22 covered the Wildfire Module overview, including:

  • Wildfire Module data and documentation requirements
  • How to complete a Wildfire Module BCA

Lesson 23 Overview

Welcome to Lesson 23. This lesson covers the Seismic Non-Structural Module overview.

At the end of this lesson, you will be able to:

  • Explain key seismic hazard concepts
  • Explain Seismic Non-Structural Module basic concepts and theory
  • Describe seismic non-structural mitigation project types

Seismic Hazard Overview

An earthquake is ground shaking caused by a sudden movement of rock in the earth’s crust. Such movements occur along faults, which are thin zones of crushed rock separating blocks of crust. When one block suddenly slips and moves relative to the other along a fault, the energy released creates vibrations—called seismic waves—that radiate up through the crust to the earth’s surface, causing the ground to shake.

Earthquake Hazard

To measure a location’s seismic risk, seismologists review the frequency and severity of historical earthquake activity, regional geology, and characteristics of mapped faults. The higher the level of earthquake hazard, the more likely it is that a specific earthquake mitigation project will be cost-effective.

Seismic hazard information is available from the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) Earthquake Hazards Program (available at: http://earthquake.usgs.gov/). This program is responsible for monitoring and reporting earthquakes, assessing earthquake impacts and hazards, and researching the causes and effects of earthquakes. The FEMA website also provides earthquake hazard maps (available at: https://www.fema.gov/earthquake-hazard-maps) that show how earthquake hazards vary across the United States.

To facilitate the analysis, the BCA Tool automatically imports the seismic hazard risk data into the analysis based on the latitude and longitude of the structure.

Structural vs. Non-Structural Elements

Seismic mitigation projects are commonly classified as “structural” and “non-structural.” The cost-effectiveness for both types of projects can be evaluated in the Earthquake Module; however, structural seismic mitigation projects require specific engineering expertise. For this reason, this course module will focus only on seismic non-structural mitigation projects. The difference between structural and non-structural projects is explained for your understanding.

Structural Elements

3-D view of a portion of a building showing structural components. See text for full text.
Structural elements refer to the skeleton that supports the structure. They are the parts of a building that carry its weight. As displayed in the diagram, these include:

  • Foundation and footings
  • Curtain walls (exterior) and load-bearing walls (interior)
  • Beams and columns
  • Floors
  • Roof

Non-Structural Elements

3-D view of a portion of a building showing non-structural components. See text for full text.
Non-structural elements refer to everything in or on a building other than the structural elements. Unlike structural elements, if non-structural elements fail, the building will not collapse. As displayed in the diagram, these include:

  • Architectural elements (windows, dropped or suspended ceilings and light fixtures, chimneys, interior walls, parapet walls)
  • Building contents (filing cabinets, bookcases, lockers, computers, wall-mounted objects)
  • Utility and mechanical equipment/systems (heating, ventilation, air conditioning, water/sewer, gas, electric ductwork, pipes, motors, pumps, fans)

Transcript: Seismic Non-Structural Module Basic Concepts and Theory

This video explains the basic concepts and theory of the Seismic Non-Structural Module of the BCA Tool.An earthquake is a sudden rupture or slippage of rocks deep underground, typically associated with a fault or thinning of the earth’s crust. When an earthquake occurs, it emits a series of different waves that move through rock and soil, at different speeds.

Depending on their proximity to the epicenter of the earthquake, structures can experience ground shaking in different directions. The ability for structures and their contents to withstand these shaking forces determines how much damage will occur.

Structures that have been built or retrofitted to a seismic code will better resist the ground movement and have less damage and casualties. Likewise, non-structural elements inside a structure that have been mitigated also pose less risk to damage and human injury.

The Earthquake Module of the BCA Tool is divided into two categories: structural and non-structural. Due to the complex nature of engineering required for the structural seismic mitigation projects, only the non-structural section will be covered here.

Seismic hazard data is one of the most important inputs in the Earthquake Module. This varies by location and is automatically imported into the tool based on the structure’s latitude and longitude coordinates. The measure of earthquake risk that is used in the BCA Tool is “Peak Ground Acceleration,” or PGA. Like it sounds, PGA refers to the speed at which the ground moves because of the earth movement caused by a seismic event. PGA values vary depending on:

  • Magnitude of the event, since stronger earthquakes will have stronger seismic waves
  • Depth. Earthquakes that occur closer to the surface generate stronger shaking because the energy is released closer to the ground level.
  • Distance from the epicenter, since seismic waves attenuate the farther they travel
  • Duration of the event, since a longer period of shaking results in higher potential for damage
  • Geology, or whether it is rock or soil and how hard the soil is. Softer, less consolidated soil will amplify seismic waves and cause more significant shaking to the structure than if the structure were built on rock.

For the Geology, the soil type is another BCA input that allows the tool to calculate how much ground shaking is likely to be experienced at the structure site. This United States Geological Survey map shows the soil classification for the San Francisco Bay Area. The Soil Type values in the legend (Soil Types A, B, C, D, and E) are the same as those used in the BCA Tool.

Another important factor in the Seismic Non-Structural Module is the element that is being mitigated. The module is capable of assessing the mitigation benefits for these non-structural elements:

  • Ceilings: suspended or dropped
  • Electrical cabinets
  • Elevators
  • Fire sprinkler systems
  • Generators
  • Generic contents and equipment
  • Heating and cooling ventilation fans and ductwork
  • Parapet walls and chimneys
  • Racks and shelves

The other inputs that are considered for a seismic non-structural mitigation project are:

  • Loss of Services. With enough damage to non-structural elements, facilities will be forced to shut down until it is safe to reopen.
  • Economic value of the elements. If a suspended ceiling is not damaged because it has been mitigated, the value of the ceiling is a project benefit. The economic value is determined by how much of the element is mitigated in the building and the value of the element, usually on a per-unit, square foot, or linear foot basis.
  • Casualties avoided. Occupancy values for the facility during different periods of the week and weekend days determine the average occupancy. Occupants are exposed to injury or being killed by falling or shifting non-structural elements, and mitigating these elements reduces, or eliminates, that risk.

The BCA Tool calculates the amount of damage for the before mitigation scenario and the after mitigation scenario. The damages after mitigation is calculated depending on how effectively the project reduces physical damage, loss of function, and casualties for the element being mitigated. The difference in these two amounts is the impact of the project, otherwise known as project benefits.

This concludes the basic concepts and theory of the Seismic Non-Structural Module of the BCA Tool.

Seismic Non-Structural Mitigation Project Types

The goal of seismic non-structural mitigation projects is to reduce the risk of death, serious injury, and property damage during an earthquake event. This is typically accomplished by anchoring, bracing, or isolating architectural elements, mechanical equipment, and building contents. Among these activities, anchoring and bracing are the most common.

Anchoring

HVAC equipment anchored to exterior wall
Seismic anchoring refers to securing the non-structural elements to the structural elements, which prevents them from shifting and makes them move with the building rather than independently from it. As long as the structural elements do not fail, anchoring non-structural elements inside the building will reduce the probability of casualties and property damage. Anchoring can apply to these non-structural elements:

  • Electrical cabinets
  • Elevators
  • Generators
  • HVAC fans
  • Generic contents or equipment

Bracing

Seismic bracing of water pipes
Seismic bracing has the same goal as anchoring, but most often refers to securing non-structural elements with a vertical component, such as ceilings and piping that are hung from the floor or roof above it. Bracing can apply to these non-structural elements:
  • Ceiling (dropped or suspended)
  • Fire sprinkler systems
  • Parapet walls and chimneys
  • HVAC ductwork
  • Racks and shelves
  • Generic contents and equipment

Lesson 23 Summary

Lesson 23 covered the Seismic Non-Structural Module overview, including:

  • Key seismic hazard concepts
  • Seismic Non-Structural Module basic concepts and theory
  • Seismic non-structural mitigation project types

Lesson 24 Overview

Welcome to Lesson 24. This lesson covers the Seismic Non-Structural Module walk-through.

At the end of this lesson, you will be able to:

  • Import earthquake hazard data
  • Explain the Seismic Non-Structural Module data and documentation requirements
  • Complete a Seismic Non-Structural Module BCA

The following page provides a video demonstration of how to import earthquake hazard data. You need to complete this step before the Seismic Non-Structural Module walk-through.

Video Transcript: How to Import Earthquake Hazard Data

This video demonstrates how to import earthquake hazard data into the BCA Tool.

Import the earthquake hazard data into the tool if:

  • You just completed an installation of the BCA Tool, and/or
  • You are going to complete a BCA using the Seismic Module for the first time

To import earthquake hazard data, complete the following steps:

  1. Access the BCA page on the FEMA website.
  2. Scroll down the page to access the Earthquake Hazard Data link.
  3. Select the link. Links to BCA resources are displayed.
  4. Select the Earthquake Hazard Data link.
  5. A file download dialog box is displayed with the message “What do you want to do with ‘eqhaz_grid.zip’?”, which has a file size of 130 MB and is from www.fema.gov.
  6. The following options are displayed:
    • Open (but the file will not be saved automatically)
    • Save, or
    • Save as. Please note: These options could differ depending on your operating system.
  7. Select “Save.”
  8. By default, the file is saved to your computer’s Downloads folder.
  9. Using Windows Explorer, navigate to your Downloads folder.
  10. Right-click on eqhaz_grid.zip.
  11. From the popup menu, select “Extract all.”
  12. The Extract Compressed (Zipped) Folders dialog box is displayed.
  13. Select the Browse button, and navigate to the folder where you wish to save the extracted file. Note: Remember the file location that you chose.
  14. Select the OK button.
  15. At the bottom right of the dialog box, select the Extract button.
  16. The eqHAZ_Grid.dat file is extracted from the zip file.
  17. Note that the file type is “.dat”. It is this .dat file that you will import into the BCA Tool, and NOT the zip file.
  18. Launch the BCA Tool.
  19. On the basic navigation toolbar at the top of the BCA screen, locate the Import/Export icon. This icon is the sixth icon from the left and is between the Export BCA and Backup/Restore icons. Select the icon. The BCA – Import Export window is displayed with six tabs.
  20. Select the Import Wind/Seismic Data tab, which is the fifth tab from the left.
  21. At the top of the tab, Select module displays two options: Hurricane Wind and Seismic.
  22. Select “Seismic.”
  23. In the middle section of the tab, “Please select Source Data File” is displayed, along with an Open File button.
  24. Select the Open File button. The Windows Explorer window is displayed.
  25. Navigate to the Downloads folder, where the extracted eqHAZ_Grid.dat is saved.
  26. Select the eqHAZ_Grid.dat file.
  27. On the bottom right of the Windows Explorer window, select “Open.”
  28. The Import Wind/Seismic Data tab is displayed once again.
  29. In the middle right section of the tab, select the “Import Data” button.
  30. The tool proceeds to import the data.
  31. After a successful import, the message “Lookup data successfully imported!” is displayed.
  32. Select “OK.”
  33. On the upper right corner of the BCA – Import Export screen, select the “X” button to close the screen.

This concludes the video demonstration of How to Import Earthquake Hazard Data into the BCA Tool.

BCA Steps Review

You are now ready to conduct a BCA for a proposed ceiling bracing project.

Remember that the following five steps are required to complete a BCA:

  • Step One: Create new project.
  • Step Two: Create new structure(s).
  • Step Three: Add structures to project.
  • Step Four: Start new mitigation. This means starting the analysis of a mitigation project.
  • Step Five: Export BCA.

Seismic Non-Structural Module Walk-Through Scenario

The following screens will walk you through the process of conducting a BCA and generating the BCR for a ceiling bracing project.

Step One: Create New Project

To start the Seismic Non-Structural Module walk-through, complete the following steps:

  • In the Quick Start Area, select the Create New Project icon.
  • In the Project Info screen, enter the data in Tables 1 and 2 of the Ceiling Bracing Project scenario.
  • On the bottom right of the screen, select the Save button.

Step Two: Create New Structure(s)

Entering the structure’s latitude and longitude is required in the Seismic Non-Structural Module.

As explained in the Seismic Non-Structural Module Basic Concepts and Theory video, Peak Ground Acceleration (PGA) values are part of hazard data and are brought into the analysis based on the latitude and longitude of the structure. Without the latitude and longitude, the BCA Tool will not be able to calculate project benefits.

To continue the Seismic Non-Structural Module walk-through, complete the following steps:

  • In the Quick Start Area, select the Create New Structure icon.
  • In the Add/Update Structure screen, enter the data in Table 3 of the Ceiling Bracing Project scenario.
  • On the bottom right of the screen, select the Save button.

Step Three: Add Structure(s) to Project

To continue the Seismic Non-Structural Module walk-through, complete the following steps:

  • In the Quick Start Area, select the Add Structures to Project icon.
  • Select the “SFO Payment Center Ceiling Retrofit” project.
  • In the Add/Remove Structures screen, check the box before “SFO Payment Center.”
  • Select the Add button.
  • Select the OK button.
  • The message “Add/Remove Structures Succeeded” is displayed. Select the OK button.

Step Four: Start New Mitigation

To continue the Seismic Non-Structural Module walk-through, complete the following steps:

  • In the Quick Start Area, select the Start New Mitigation icon.
  • Select “SFO Payment Center Ceiling Retrofit” as the project, then “SFO Payment Center” as the structure.
  • At the bottom of the Mitigation Information screen, select “Earthquake.”
  • In the upper right part of the screen, select Save and Continue to display the next screen.

Earthquake Mitigation Type

The purpose of this screen is to define the nature and type of the proposed mitigation project.

To continue the Seismic Non-Structural Module walk-through, complete the following steps:

  • Select “Anchor/brace non-structural elements of a building.”
  • In the upper right part of the screen, select Save and Continue to display the next screen.

Selecting the “Structural retrofit of a building” option would take you to the structural seismic mitigation screens. These screens are not covered in this walk-through.

Selecting the “Other retrofit (e.g., bridge, utility)” option would display the message “Redirect to Damage-Frequency Assessment module.” Refer to Module 3 of this course to learn more about using the Damage-Frequency Assessment Module of the BCA Tool.

Cost Estimation Info

To continue the Seismic Non-Structural Module walk-through, complete the following steps:

  • In the Cost Estimation Info screen, enter the data in Table 4 of the Ceiling Bracing Project scenario.
  • In the upper right part of the screen, select Save and Continue to display the Volunteer Costs screen.
  • For this project scenario, there are no volunteer costs data, so select Save and Continue to display the next screen.
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Tip
This is the first screen in the Seismic Non-Structural Module where it is important to provide justification text and attach back-up documentation to support the data entered.

Soil and Element Information: Key Data Inputs

The purpose of this screen is to identify the non-structural element being mitigated and, if applicable, how the element is weighted and anchored before and after mitigation.

Latitude and Longitude

The latitude and longitude information previously entered in the Create New Structure screen automatically populates the latitude and longitude fields in this screen. Based on these values, the PGA values are brought into the analysis.

Soil Type

Select the soil type of the structure site. Soil types range from type A, which is hard rock, to type F, which is liquefiable soil. The soil type can amplify or de-amplify PGA depending on the level of ground shaking. Thus, the PGA values brought in based on the latitude/longitude are adjusted based on the soil type. The structure’s soil type can be obtained from a reliable source (e.g., USGS, geotechnical report, geotechnical or licensed engineer) or from a map or survey of the building location.

Non-Structural Element for Mitigation

Select the non-structural element that was identified for mitigation from the dropdown menu. Some of the elements available for selection are:

  • Ceiling: suspended or dropped
  • Electrical cabinets
  • Elevators
  • Fire sprinkler systems
  • Racks and shelves
  • Obtain this information from the project subapplication.

Tip: If the non-structural element is not shown in the dropdown menu, use the DFA Module to complete a BCA for the mitigation project.

Additional Element Information

This section may ask for more information about the selected non-structural element. Some elements will require addition information about the element’s anchoring, weighting, or design characteristics. This information can be obtained from a reliable source (civil or structural engineer) or detailed drawings and photographs. Some elements ask for no additional information, for example elevators, fire sprinkler systems, generators, parapet walls and chimneys, and racks and shelves.

Soil and Element Information

To continue the Seismic Non-Structural Module walk-through, complete the following steps.

  • In the Soil and Element Information screen, enter the data in Table 5 of the Ceiling Bracing Project scenario.
  • In the upper right part of the screen, select Save and Continue to display the next screen.

Hazard Data

The purpose of this screen is to display the system-calculated hazard data. No user input is required.

A table with two columns, PGA and Annual Probability, is displayed. For each PGA value in the left column, the associated Annual Probability in the right column indicates the likelihood of experiencing that severity of ground shaking using the seismic data and soil characteristics for the Structure location.

To continue the Seismic Non-Structural Module walk-through, select Save and Continue to display the next screen.

Damage State Information

The purpose of this screen is to indicate the percent damage for the non-structural element being mitigated.

There is no user input required unless you wish to override the FEMA standard values.

Selecting “Default” for the data fields on this screen displays the following FEMA standard values:

  • Percent Damage (moderate): 20
  • Percent Damage (extensive): 75

To continue the Seismic Non-Structural Module walk-through, select Save and Continue to display the next screen.

Image used for tip element icon
Tip
On the left side of the BCA Tool screen, select Help and then access the topic “How do I determine the percent damage for the non-structural element?” for information on how to override the FEMA standard values and provide supporting documentation.

Extra Days of Functional Downtime

The purpose of this screen is to indicate the additional time that a building is out of service due to non-structural damage.

There is no user input required unless you wish to override the FEMA standard values.

Selecting “Default” for the data fields on this screen displays the following FEMA standard values:

  • Additional days of functional downtime for moderate damage: 0.10
  • Additional days of functional downtime for extensive damage: 1.00

To continue the Seismic Non-Structural Module walk-through, select Save and Continue to display the next screen.

Image used for tip element icon
Tip
On the left side of the BCA Tool screen, select Help and then access the topic “How do I determine additional days of functional downtime for the non-structural element?’ for information on how to override the FEMA standard values and provide supporting documentation.

Non-Structural Element Value and Fall Area: Key Data Inputs

The purpose of this screen is to identify the replacement value of the non-structural element being mitigated and the fall or failure impact area.

Cost Per Square Foot

Enter the cost per unit of the non-structural element. Depending on the element being mitigated, examples of units include each, square feet, linear feet. Data may be obtained from a local building official, manufacturer’s cost data, or national cost estimating guides like RS Means and Marshall & Swift. Provide supporting documentation.

Number of Square Feet of Ceiling

Enter the number of units of the non-structural element. On this screen, the tool asks for the number of square feet of the ceiling because you had already selected ceiling as the element to be mitigated. If you select elevators as the non-structural element instead of ceiling, the tool asks for the number of elevator units. Data may be obtained from a documented building survey or construction plans. Provide supporting documentation.

Total Value of Ceiling

This is a system-calculated value, which is the Cost Per Square Foot value multiplied by the Number of Square Feet of Ceiling.

Fall or Failure Impact Area

 The remainder of the data entry boxes applies only to bracing projects because of the casualties caused by non-structural elements falling on people. Enter the fall area in square feet. The fall area is defined as the area local to the non-structural element that is likely to be impacted by the failure of the element. For example, the fall area for a bookshelf is the square footage that would be covered by the bookshelf if it toppled over. This value is used in conjunction with occupancy data on the next screen for calculating benefits for reducing casualties. Data may be obtained from engineering drawings and photographs. Provide supporting documentation.

Total Building Area

Enter the total building area in square feet. Data may be obtained from a documented building survey, construction plans, tax records, and certified appraisals.

Percent of Area Affected

This percentage is a system-calculated value, which is the Fall or Failure Impact Area value divided by the Total Building Area.

Non-Structural Element Value and Fall Area

To continue the Seismic Non-Structural Module walk-through, complete the following steps:

  • In the Non-Structural Element Value and Fall Area screen, enter the data in Table 8 of the Ceiling Bracing Project scenario.
  • In the upper right part of the screen, select Save and Continue to display the next screen.

Occupancy and Casualty Data: Key Data Inputs

The purpose of this screen is to determine the average occupancy based on the number of people who will be at risk at different times of the day on weekdays and weekends.

For all occupancy values, the data may be obtained from employment records, attendance records, or other information from the building owner or manager. Provide supporting documentation.

Number of Occupants

Enter the number of occupants who will be at risk in the fall or failure impact area for an average weekday and weekend day. Structures that are closed on weekends should have low occupancy values for these time periods.

Number of Days/Week

Enter the number of days in the week that the occupants will be at risk. This value will be “5” for weekdays and “2” for weekends.

Number of Hours/Day

 This value will be “8” for all time periods for both weekdays and weekends.

Number of Months/Year

This value will be “12” for all time periods for both weekdays and weekends.

Occupancy and Casualty Data

To continue the Seismic Non-Structural Module walk-through, complete the following steps:

  • In the Occupancy and Casualty Data screen, enter the data in Tables 9 and 10 of the Ceiling Bracing Project scenario.
  • Based on the values entered in the Occupancy Data table, the BCA Tool populates the values in the Estimated Casualty Rates tables (moderate and extensive). These values are provided in Table 11 of the Ceiling Bracing Project scenario.
  • You may enter your own values in the row labeled User-Entered Rates, but be sure to provide supporting documentation.
  • In the upper right part of the screen, select Save and Continue to display the next screen.

Secondary Damages

The purpose of this screen is to display other damages that have not been covered by the non-structural module but are allowed based on FEMA guidelines.

Examples of secondary damages are a fire following an earthquake or a hazardous material spill. Secondary damages are rarely used because the dollar amount (before and after mitigation) must be tied to the PGA range in the table.

There is no user input required on this screen.

To continue the Seismic Non-Structural Module walk-through, select Save and Continue to display the next screen.

Loss of Services

The purpose of this screen is to calculate loss of services benefits for non-residential structures that are considered critical facilities or that provide a critical use (i.e., fire station, hospital, police station, or other critical facilities).

To continue the Seismic Non-Structural Module walk-through, complete the following steps:

  • In the Loss of Services screen, enter the data in Table 12 of the Ceiling Bracing Project scenario.
  • In the upper right part of the screen, select Save and Continue to display the next screen.

Summary of Damages

The purpose of this screen is to provide a summary of the damages before and after mitigation. For each PGA range, the following information is provided:

  • Damages to Item
  • Secondary Damages
  • Casualties
  • Loss of Function
  • Total Damages
  • Annualized Damages and Losses

This screen displays summary information, so there is no user input required.

To continue the Seismic Non-Structural Module walk-through, select Save and Continue to display the next screen.

Summary of Benefits

The purpose of this screen is to display summary information and to present the mitigation project BCR, which is the value of total benefits divided by total costs. Remember from Unit 2 that this screen has three sections.

Step Five: Export BCA

Steps One through Four of the BCA process are now complete.

To complete Step Five: Export BCA, complete the following steps:

  • On the basic navigation toolbar, select Home. The Quick Start Area is displayed.
  • Select the Export BCA icon. A list of the projects you have created is displayed.
  • Select “SFO Payment Center Ceiling Retrofit” as the project you wish to export. The Windows Explorer dialog box is displayed.
  • In the File Name field, enter “SFO Payment Center Ceiling Retrofit.”
  • Note that the file type is “.zip” by default.
  • Save the zip file to the desired location on your computer.

The exported file can then be imported by other analysts or reviewers into their BCA Tool. After import, they can review the analysis to evaluate the data entered, the justification and documentation that supports the data, and the final BCR.

Lesson 24 Summary

Lesson 24 covered the Seismic Non-Structural Module walk-through, including:

  • How to import earthquake hazard data
  • Seismic Non-Structural Module data and documentation requirements
  • How to complete a Seismic Non-Structural Module BCA