Benefit-cost analysis (BCA) is a standardized, systematic way to measure all of the significant direct benefits of a mitigation project against the costs. A BCA always involves looking at damages and losses twice: before mitigation (the “as-is” situation) and after mitigation.
FEMA provides BCA software to help sub-applicants determine the cost-effectiveness of their proposed mitigation projects. To be eligible for federal funding assistance through FEMA’s Hazard Mitigation Grants programs, a mitigation project must have a benefit-cost ratio of 1.0 or greater according to FEMA’s BCA software.
BCA Toolkit Version 5.3
On January 10, 2017, FEMA released the Benefit Cost Analysis Tool version 5.3.0. Version 5.3.0 replaces previous versions of the BCA Tool and is available for use to demonstrate cost-effectiveness for FEMA’s Hazard Mitigation Assistance (HMA) grant programs. Users must download the Benefit Cost Analysis Version 5.3.0 Setup Standard Zip File, extract the contents into a folder on the user's computer and then run BCAV5_3_0_Setup_Standard.exe to install. This version release includes updated Hurricane Hazard and Earthquake Hazard datasets. Links to those hazard data sets are provided below and are required when performing analysis for hurricane wind retrofit projects or seismic retrofit projects.
Some major features of Version 5.3.0 include:
- Updated all standard economic values utilized in analysis
- Creation of the Aquifer Storage and Recovery module for drought mitigation
- Incorporation of Climate Resilient Mitigation Activities
- Expansion of Ecosystem Service Benefits
- Updated Tornado recurrence information in the saferoom module
- Updated Hurricane Wind and Earthquake Hazard data sets
Ecosystem Service Benefits
In September 2015, FEMA released three new activities eligible for the Hazard Mitigation Assistance (HMA) programs: Aquifer Storage and Recovery, Floodplain and Stream Restoration, and Flood Diversion and Storage, known as the Climate Resilient Mitigation Activities (CRMA). FEMA has developed BCA tools to calculate benefits for drought mitigation and/or ecosystem services for mitigation projects. In addition, FEMA developed pre-calculated benefits for cost effectiveness evaluation of soil stabilization, flood diversion, and reforestation projects in wildfire impacted areas to support expedient implementation of post-wildfire mitigation actions. BCA tools:
- CRMA BCA Tools Policy Clarification
- Aquifer Storage and Recovery BCA Tool
- Ecosystem Service Benefits Calculator
- Supplemental BCA Guidance for Floodwater Diversion and Storage Projects
- Supplemental BCA Guidance for Floodplain and Stream Restoration Projects
- Supplemental BCA Guidance for Aquifer Storage and Recovery Projects
- Pre-calculated benefits for post-wildfire mitigation actions file size 1MB
Precipitation Frequency Data
The NOAA’s National Water Center has released updated precipitation frequency estimates for Massachusetts. These estimates (published in Atlas 14, Volume 10) are used in many infrastructure design and planning activities, and are available for download through the Precipitation Frequency Data Server (PFDS).
For help with FEMA’s benefit-cost analysis, call the BCA Helpline at 1-855-540-6744 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
What Is a Benefit?
The benefit of a mitigation project is simply the difference in expected damage and loss before and after the it is completed. Benefits of a proposed mitigation project can be sorted into four main categories:
|Avoided Physical Damage||Buildings|
|Avoided Loss-of-Function Costs||Displacement costs for temporary quarters|
Loss of rental income
Loss of business income
Disruption time for residents
Loss of public services
Economic impact of loss of utility services
Economic impact of road/bridge closures
|Avoided Emergency Management Costs||Emergency operations center costs|
Evacuation or rescue costs
Temporary protective measure costs
Debris removal and cleanup costs
Other management costs