Doctor of Engineering (DEng)


Construction Management

Document Type



The lack of flood loss estimation methods conducted on a micro-scale level that consider the full loss‐exceedance probabilities curve poses a significant problem in flood risk assessment. Also, the lack of robust benefit-cost analysis (BCA) that quantifies benefits at the micro-scale level leads to sub-optimal results, and therefore sub-optimal decisions when determining the optimal freeboard. Further, flood loss assessments focus on owner-occupied housing and neglect rental housing. These loss assessment deficiencies underscore the need for a robust assessment that quantifies the life-cycle benefits for all stakeholders and provides actionable information to enable informed decisions.

This research presents a comprehensive methodology such that the life-cycle benefits of adding freeboard for homeowners, landlords, and tenants are evaluated at the single-residence building level using life-cycle BCA. The expected average annual loss (AAL) from flooding is determined through the numerical integration of the full loss-exceedance probabilities curve. The optimal freeboard is determined through a micro-scale BCA with life-cycle benefits disaggregated and allocated to the proper parties.

The results show that while the construction cost of adding freeboard is modest, the life-cycle benefits of avoided losses and savings are substantial. Results highlight the need to assess flood risk at the micro-scale level for a more localized and accurate assessment, where it can be upscaled in a “bottom-up” approach for a higher degree of accuracy. The results also highlight the need to include rental housing and underscore the need for a robust life-cycle BCA that provides actionable recommendations to landlords and tenants.

The numerical integration AAL estimation method introduced in this research is fundamental, with only few parameters required to reduce the increased prediction uncertainty associated with more complex models requiring more input parameters. Further, this research provides a robust, generalized methodology to evaluate the benefits of adding freeboard through a micro-scale life-cycle BCA. Moreover, this work provides a novel framework for quantifying life-cycle benefits of freeboard for landlord and tenant in a single-family rental housing. All methodologies introduced in this research are developed generally and can be adapted for new data, loss functions, and other input.



Committee Chair

Friedland, Carol J.