Adherence to Building Codes can Deliver Big Returns on Mitigation Investment

Investment in natural hazard mitigation can deliver significant returns: that was the loud-and-clear message from the National Institute of Building Sciences (NIBS) as it unveiled its latest report generated from its ongoing study of the benefits of investing in mitigation. Earlier NIBS reports have detailed up to $6 saved against future disaster costs for every $1. This most recent report, unveiled at the ERA-sponsored Opening Kick-off Breakfast of the NIBS annual conference, found “a national benefit of $11 for every $1 invested”.

As with the earlier reports, this dollar figure is the result of looking at very specific circumstances. For this part of the study, the project team looked at the benefits of “designing buildings to meet the 2018 International Residential Code (IRC) and 2018 International Building Code (IBC)—the model building codes developed by the International Code Council (ICC)—versus the prior generation of codes represented by 1990-era design and National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) requirements.” Additionally, the benefits of mitigation strategies were viewed in terms of safety, and the prevention of property loss and disruption of day-to-day life.

The National Institute of Building Sciences was established by Congress in 1974 to gather representatives from both the public and private sectors to “identify and resolve problems and potential problems that hamper the construction of safe, affordable structures for housing, commerce and industry” in the United States. The organization has been a leader in educating the building community about the value of mitigation, and has continually provided science-based data to counter the assertion that mitigation is an expensive luxury.

Concurrent with NIBS’ work on the value of mitigation, ERA has committed extensive resources to educating the construction community about the need to create resilient roofing systems. As part of this effort, ERA released its first annual report on resilience, “Building Resilience: The Roofing Perspective” late last year. The report focuses on events during the past calendar year, and includes sections on cataclysmic weather events and their impact; policy responses, especially those recommending spending on mitigation; and legislative initiatives. Additional sections focus on state-of- the-art approaches to building a resilient roofing system, and include an index of additional sources of in- depth information on resilience.

The full text of the report can be found on the ERA microsite, This site also serves as a source of information about the need for resilience in roofing systems, and the specific attributes of EPDM that make it uniquely valuable in attaining resilience in a structure. In addition, to add context to the information about our products, we provide a clearinghouse of sources about resilience, as well as an up-to-date roster of recent articles, blog posts, statements of professional organizations and other pertinent information about resilience.

ERA congratulates NIBS on its detailed and important work on the value of mitigation. Paired with ERA’s report on “Building Resilience”, these two documents provide compelling evidence of the value of mitigation, and practical details on how to create a resilient roof.