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Research and Resources for Fire Recovery


Posted Date: November 06, 2007

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HUD’s Office of Policy Development and Research (PD&R) assembled this list of reports, resources, regulations, and research to aid in California fire recovery, rehabilitation, and rebuilding efforts. We believe that the information in this kit will assist officials, planners, developers, builders, and homeowners in your travels on the road to recovery. If you’re in California and have been affected by the recent fires, we’ll send you these publications for free.

Many of the reports in this kit are available in print by calling (Phone) the HUD USER Clearinghouse at 1-800-245-2691, option 1. While the print-based publications are available for free to Californians for a limited time, as always, downloading the electronic (PDF) versions is – and will remain – free to all.

HUD USER Publications and Regulatory Resources

Guide to More Effective and Efficient Building Regulatory Processes Through Information Technology (2006): This guide explains the benefits to localities of evaluating and streamlining existing processes and making effective investments in information technology, with the ultimate objective of improving the timeliness and quality of services. Localities can significantly reduce or eliminate areas of conflict/overlap and processing costs, better handle increased development activity, and be better prepared for natural disasters.

Impact Fees: Equity and Housing Affordability—A Guidebook for Practitioners (2007): This report provides guidance for housing practitioners on sound approaches to developing impact fees that treat affordable housing fairly and equitably. (Impact fees are generally levied by municipalities on builders and developers to cover the costs of infrastructure and other improvements that support new construction – street lights, water & sewer lines, roads, etc.).

Phone Nationally Applicable Recommended Rehabilitation Provisions (1997): This report describes a model ‘smart rehab’ code that streamlines and simplifies housing rehabilitation. The code makes rehabilitation more affordable, which studies have shown substantially increases the amount of rehabilitation taking place. This code has been implemented in New Jersey and Maryland.

Study of Subdivision Requirements as a Regulatory Barrier (2007): This study examines how local subdivision requirements, which establish specifications for site plans and infrastructure (again, streets, sidewalks, water and sewer, etc.), exceed what is necessary to meet health and safety requirements, thereby acting as a regulatory barrier to affordable housing.

From HUD’s Regulatory Barriers Clearinghouse (RBC)

In response to a congressional mandate, we launched RBC five years ago to collect and disseminate state and local regulatory reform strategies and resources that promote affordable housing. These ‘best practices’ were originated (and are currently being used) by cities and towns throughout the country that want to promote affordable rehab and development. We’ve collected over 5,000 of them in our searchable database so far. These are just a few that we feel may be particularly useful, given California’s pressing need for rapid reconstruction and rehabilitation. To find more, or to sign up for our free eList, visit our Regulatory Barriers Clearinghouse website at

Baltimore County Zoning Regulations (2006): Section 305 allows owners of damaged or destroyed dwellings that do not comply with current height or area requirements to be restored. The area or height deficiencies cannot be increased beyond what existed prior to the damage, and other limitations apply.

California Property Tax: An Overview (2002): The state allows any modifications to existing housing for accessibility purposes to be excluded from reassessments. In addition, housing damaged or destroyed by a natural disaster can be given a lower value until reconstruction. Upon completion of construction, the unit will not be considered new construction if it’s substantially equivalent to the structure prior to the damage or destruction.

Rhode Island Rehabilitation Code (2002): This website contains information on Rhode Island’s Rehabilitation Building and Fire Code for Existing Buildings and Structures.

Santa Fe County Code of Ordinances – Fire and Rescue Impact Fees (2006): The Santa Fe County Fire and Rescue Impact Fee code identifies the process for creating a fire capital improvements plan, identifying designated service areas, and preparing a fire protection service area map.

Technical Guides and Manuals from HUD USER

Phone Barriers to Rehabilitation of Affordable Housing: Volume 1 - Findings and Analysis, Volume 2 - Case Studies (2001): These two publications examine some of the more significant barriers to urban rehabilitation. The authors present a series of case studies addressing problems that can arise when acquiring properties, estimating costs, obtaining insurance and financing, and working with land-use and building code regulations.

Phone Eliminating Barriers to the Use of HUD-Code Housing in Attached Construction (2003): Provides guidance to home manufacturers, builder/developers, and traditional site builders interested in reducing building costs while integrating manufactured housing into single-family attached construction.

Phone Guideline on Fire Ratings of Archaic Materials and Assemblies (2000): The Guideline on Fire Ratings of Archaic Materials and Assemblies is a compilation of fire ratings from earlier sources for a wide variety of materials and assemblies found in buildings from the nineteenth to the mid-twentieth centuries.

Phone Home Builders' Guide to Manufactured Housing (2000): This guide presents information for site builders and land developers on how to incorporate HUD-Code manufactured housing into their business operations.

Phone HUD Rehab Guide: Volumes One through Nine (1997 – 2000): This series provides the design and construction industry with information on building technologies, materials, components, and techniques specific to the rehabilitation process. Each volume covers a distinct element of housing rehab – foundations; exterior walls; roofs; windows and doors; partitions, ceiling, floors, and stairs; kitchens and baths; electrical/electronics; HVAC/plumbing; and site work.

Residential Steel Framing: Fire and Acoustic Details (2002): This report examines the fire protection and acoustic requirements of steel framing technology. It investigates the building code requirements, typical practices, and available data related to cold-formed steel assemblies.

Phone Smart Codes in Your Community: A Guide to Building Rehabilitation Codes (2001): Provides a broad overview of the general regulatory environment governing the use and reuse of existing buildings. It also provides examples of state and local efforts to reduce regulatory complexity.

Related HUD Links

The Partnership for Advancing Technology in Housing (PATH), a public-private initiative coordinated by HUD’s Office of Policy Development and Research, publishes materials that can help you in your post-fire-specific rebuilding and rehab efforts, as well is in thinking about fire-resistant construction strategies. The Partnership's website at includes practical guidance on design strategies, building products and systems recommendations, along with helpful tips on building and rehabilitating homes for energy/resource efficiency, durability, affordability, and overall performance.

PATH Technologies for Fire Reconstruction (2007): PATH compiled this list of recommendations to assist with reconstruction after fire. The technologies listed are drawn from the PATH Technology Inventory.

A Guide to Deconstruction: An Overview of Deconstruction With a Focus on Community Development Opportunities (2000): This PATH report provides an overview of reasons to pursue deconstruction, types of buildings that are prime candidates for deconstruction, and the different levels of deconstruction. Deconstruction, as opposed to demolition, helps pay for itself by generating revenue and reducing landfill and disposal costs.

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