These resources come from VEM Hazard Mitigation staff and official FEMA-created material. This is a living resource hub, please contact the Hazard Mitigation team if you have resources that would be helpful to share here when completing a Benefit-Cost Analysis (BCA).
While BCAs may first seem intimidating, keep in mind that the goal of the BCA is to document that your proposed mitigation project is truly cost effective and therefore a wise use of taxpayer funds. A project is cost effective if the project's benefit-cost ratio (BCR) is greater than or equal to 1.0. The key to a BCA is to sufficiently document the data you use in your BCA. The below resources are aimed to assist you in finding useful data for the BCA, and in successfully documenting that data.
Important - Benefit Cost Analysis Waiver
In 2013 FEMA issued a guidance indicating that a Benefit-Cost Analysis (BCA) is no longer needed for certain building acquisition or elevation projects. This change eliminated a major barrier for proposals seeking funding through the FEMA Flood Hazard Mitigation Assistance programs.
In September of 2021 FEMA updated the acquisition and elevation pre-calculated benefit values originally set in 2013. The new inflation-adjusted values are $323,000 for acquisitions and $205,000 for elevations. For more information, see the updated memorandum.
Additionally, FEMA has established a pre-calculated benefit for certain hospital generator projects. For more information, including how to determine if a hospital is in an urban or rural area, see the hospital generator pre-calculated benefits memorandum.
Hazard Mitigation Grant Program Appeals Database - tracks the status of appeals under this grant program.
For more information about FEMA Hazard Mitigation Assistance contact: Vermont Hazard Mitigation Program at VEM.
Benefit-Cost Analysis (BCA) Software
- FEMA's BCA Website
- Introduction to the FEMA BCA (VEM Powerpoint, 2014) - A brief what, who, and how of BCAs; what a BCA is, who (types of HMGP projects) needs it, and how to create it.
- FEMA BCA General Information
- BCA Reference Guide (FEMA, 2009)
- Project Useful Life (From FEMA BCA Reference Guide, 2009)
- BCA Reference Guide Supplement (FEMA, 2011) - This document provides extremely useful how-to information for determining Recurrence Intervals, documenting historical damage, documenting “loss of service” for damaged buildings and infrastructure (including critical facilities), etc.
- BCA Reference Guide (FEMA, 2009)
- Benefit Cost Analysis Re-engineering (FEMA, May 2009) - The Benefit Cost Analysis Re-engineering report is a great resource for review and understanding of the methodology behind the FEMA Damage Frequency Assessment (DFA). There is also a sample BCA in this report, starting on page 39.
- Landslide Acquisition Benefit-Cost Calculation (FEMA, 2013)
- Generator Job Aid & BCA Information (FEMA, 2015)
- Environmental Benefits Policy for Acquisition Projects (FEMA, 2013)
- Benefit-Cost Calculation for Sinkholes (April, 2015)
Documenting and Determining Recurrence Intervals
- Extreme Precipitation in New England (Cornell)
- Use "Data & Products" tab to determine the RI for your project location
- Use "Daily Monitoring" tab to determine rainfall amount on a specific date (note: only available for certain locations in Vermont)
- Wind Recurrence Interval Data (Applied Technology Council)
- Weather History (Weather Underground)
Latest FEMA Memorandum: Acquisition and Elevation Projects
All acquisition and elevation projects that are in the special flood hazard area (SFHA) and have a total project cost of less than $276,000 and $175,000 respectively, do not require a BCA. Alternatively, structures that are located within the SHFA and have received a Substantial Damage determination also do not need to complete a BCA, regardless of projec cost.
The Benefit-Cost Analysis (BCA) Helpline
FEMA provides BCA Technical Assistance through The BCA Helpline
- Hours are 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. (E.T.) Monday through Friday.
- Phone: 1-855-540-6744
- Email The BCA Helpline