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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. All mitigation grant program applications require a completed Benefit Cost Analysis (BCA) to be submitted with the application for funding.
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.
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:
Check MEMA’s Training Registration System to find out when BCA classroom training is available. The training course IS-276: Benefit Cost Analysis Fundamentals is also available online.
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:
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 email@example.com.
The benefit of a mitigation project is simply the difference in expected damage and loss before and after the project is completed. Benefits of a proposed mitigation project can be sorted into four main categories: