In March 2023, FORTIFIED Home™ completed the transition to FOCUS 2.5, an updated version of its evaluation software. All evaluations (except those for NCIUA grant projects) must be submitted though this version. See below for user guide, login information, tutorial videos, technical support, and frequently asked questions.

Learning FOCUS 2.5

FOCUS 2.5 is designed to streamline the FORTIFIED™ Home evaluation process and provide an improved user experience. While some elements will look and feel familiar to users of earlier versions, FOCUS 2.5 includes new features and upgrades. Step by step directions for submitting an evaluation are available in the FOCUS 2.5 User Guide and tutorial videos.

Tutorial Videos

Frequently Asked Questions

Using FOCUS 2.5

How do I get access to FOCUS 2.5 (I need to set up user credentials and have my role assigned by IBHS)?

Follow these steps to gain access to FOCUS 2.5:

  • Navigate to
  • Click the “Sign up now” underneath the blue “Sign In” button
  • Complete Sign-up flow:
What are the “roles” in FOCUS 2.5 and how are they different?

Users are assigned one of two roles in FOCUS 2.5

  • Evaluator – Only has access to jobs they entered in FOCUS.
  • Evaluator Admin – Has access to jobs entered in FOCUS by anyone at the evaluator company.
Is FOCUS 2.5 mobile friendly?

At this time, evaluation forms should work well on any mobile device. However, the dashboard and the checklist, while operable, are not optimized to be displayed on smaller mobile devices. An iPad or similar large tablet would be the best mobile device for viewing the dashboard.

Optimizing the entire FOCUS application for mobile devices is planned for future development.

What are all these compliance forms (i.e., how does the new compliance process work)?
What happens after I submit my job (i.e., how does the iteration engine work)?

Please watch the video “Responding to Evaluation Change Requests using the Iteration Engine” on the bottom of the FOCUS 2.5 FAQ site (this page).

My job was rejected in FOCUS 2.5, but I have more documentation – can it be placed back on hold?

In FOCUS 2.5, once the status of an evaluation is “Rejected,” the job cannot be reopened.

Evaluations typically remain in “On Hold” status, waiting for additional documentation for up to 30 days. According to the standard process, if the evaluator has not provided requested documentation in that period, the evaluation is rejected.

If new information and/or documentation is later collected and an evaluator wishes to have a “Rejected” project reconsidered, it must be re-entered as a new job in FOCUS 2.5. Standard new evaluation fees will apply to the new job.

What are the submittal fees and how do I pay?

Unless the evaluation is for a project built by or for a nonprofit organization (see next question), evaluators must pay a fee when submitting jobs for audit by IBHS. The fee structure in FOCUS 2.5 remains the same as in prior versions.

  • The fee to submit a FORTIFIED Roof evaluation is $45.
  • The fee to submit a FORTIFIED Silver evaluation is $70.
  • The fee to submit a FORTIFIED Gold evaluation is $70.
  • The fee to submit a redesignation at any level is $45

In FOCUS 2.5, when all forms are complete, the user reaches the “payment step” in the evaluation process. At this point, they are given the option to pay audit fees with IBHS Credits or with a credit card.

What is the process for entering nonprofit jobs?

To receive the free audit provided by IBHS to all nonprofit builders, evaluators must take three simple steps:

  1. On the Eligibility Form, users will be asked if the project is being built for/by a non-profit organization. Click “YES”
  2. Enter the nonprofit’s 9-digit EIN number (tax id number issued by the IRS).
  3. Upload a letter from the nonprofit, on the organization’s letterhead with their EIN number, that identifies the project and its address and the evaluator company name. The address must match the address entered by the evaluator.

With these steps completed, the project will automatically be charged $0 for the audit fee, and the evaluation will be immediately submitted to IBHS. Because nonprofit evaluations do not require payment, once you submit the last form, the status will change to “IBHS Review.

What is the new process for using credits?
  • At the payment step in the evaluation process, users will be given the option to pay audit fees with IBHS Credits or with a credit card.
  • If the user selects “Use IBHS Credits” and has sufficient credits available to cover the audit fees for the project, the credits will automatically be applied, and the evaluation will be submitted to IBHS.
    • Note: Once payment is made, the evaluation is immediately submitted and locked. At that point, the evaluation cannot be recalled/withdrawn. BE SURE TO REVIEW ALL FORMS AND UPLOADS BEFORE PROCEEDING WITH PAYMENT.
    • Note: Credits are allocated to companies, not users, so if credits are available for the company, any user associated with that company can apply them to a job.
How do re-designations work?

When starting an evaluation, you will be asked if this is a new evaluation or a redesignation. When you select redesignation, you will only have access to the forms needed to complete a renewal. If you were the evaluator for the original designation, you will have a link, on the left side of your screen, to the existing data for that property. If you are not the original evaluator, you will not have access to that documentation.

Transition from 1.0 and 2.0 to FOCUS 2.5

Why is FOCUS 1.0 not working?

For the last several months, IBHS has been communicating the retirement of FOCUS 1.0 and transition to FOCUS 2.5. As of March 3, 2023, FOCUS 1.0 all evaluations must be submitted in the new version of the software.

Why update the software platform?

The new FOCUS platform achieves several goals. FOCUS 2.5 consolidates three separate systems (FOCUS 1.0, FOCUS 2.0 (Decisions), and FORTIFIED Commercial) into one unified system. The update also replaces outdated technology, which made prior versions slow and unstable. Finally, the development of FOCUS 2.5 allows greater flexibility to continually improve the system with the goal of making it easier to complete FORTIFIED evaluations, increase accuracy and reduce friction.

What is different in FOCUS 2.5?

This new version of the FOCUS software will improve functionality by updating existing elements and offering new ones, including:

  • New fully customizable dashboard with more and enhanced features:
    • Enhanced filters
    • Global Filter Button
    • Drag and drop Column Order
    • Search
    • Export to Excel
    • Board View Configuration – users can remove or add desired columns to the board
    • Click directly on the row in the board to open any of your evaluations
  • New streamlined evaluation status reporting
    • Job progression sidebar shows the current stage of an evaluation and what stages have yet to be completed
    • Email notifications alert evaluators of changes in evaluation status
    • Updated report sections provide detailed and specific locations for documentation
    • Enhanced file uploader options
      • Uploads are faster
      • Files can be previewed using thumbnails
      • Files can be added, removed and replaced prior to submitting a form.
  • Revised compliance form completion and submission process
    • FOCUS 2.5 offers three options that can be initiated directly from the software:
      • Responsible party (roofer, builder, engineer) completes forms electronically and signs generated pdf form
        • In this scenario, the evaluator’s only role regarding compliance forms is to send the responsible party links to the forms by using the “Notify Submitter” feature. After that, the responsible party completes the forms.
      • Evaluator fills out forms and responsible party electronically reviews and signs generated pdf form
        • In this scenario, the evaluator assists the responsible party by filling out the compliance forms, and only sends the link for the confirmation form to them. The responsible party will review the generated pdf compliance form to confirm everything is correct, and then sign it and either upload it or return it to the evaluator to upload.
      • Responsible party manually fills out and signs a pdf/paper compliance form only
        • For responsible parties that do not want any electronic process, the evaluator can provide them with either a pdf or hard copy of a blank compliance form from the FORTIFIED website. The responsible party can manually fill out and sign the form. The evaluator will need to input all the entries from the paper form into FOCUS and upload the pdf signed by the responsible party
  • More efficient audit review and Request for Information (RFI) process, called the “Iteration Engine”
    • Auditors can comment and evaluators can reply on specific entries/sections
    • Comments are addressed individually within FOCUS
    • Email notifications alert evaluators when changes are requested and when evaluation status changes
  • New Role-based permissions
    • A field administrator role will be available to allow multi-evaluator companies to identify a user that will have a global view of their companies FORTIFIED evaluations.
  • Improved Credits and Payments System
  • Improved Login and Credential Management
What happens to jobs completed in FOCUS 1.0 or 2.0?

Jobs completed in FOCUS 1.0 and 2.0 before December 18 have been migrated into FOCUS 2.5 and are visible for your company. Reminder: Roles in FOCUS 2.5 will determine which jobs are visible.

Jobs completed in FOCUS 1.O between December 18 and March 3 will be migrated into FOCUS 2.5 on April 1.

  • Evaluators will see all Approved and Not Approved jobs they submitted in FOCUS 1.0 and 2.0
  • Evaluator Admins will see all Approved and Not Approved jobs their company submitted in FOCUS 1.0 and 2.0
What does a migration mean?

Data migration is the process of moving the data that exists in FOCUS 1.0 to FOCUS 2.5. This action is being completed by IBHS and its software development partners.

Will I still be able to access my completed jobs in FOCUS 1.0?

Evaluators will have access to FOCUS 1.0 until April 3.

Completed evaluations will be locked, so the FEH will no longer function as a link, but designation certificates will be accessible.

Evaluations can no longer be submitted to IBHS in FOCUS 1.0, and any in-progress jobs in FOCUS 1.0 must be reentered into FOCUS 2.5. To assist in collecting the necessary documentation for re-entry, data for in-progress evaluations can be accessed in FOCUS 1.0 until April 3.

How does the transition to FOCUS 2.5 impact evaluations for NCIUA SYR/SYCR grant projects?
  • Evaluations created by the NCIUA API in FOCUS 1.0 can continue to be created and modified in FOCUS 1.0 until April 1, 2023, and will be reviewed on a pass/fail basis.
  • After April 1, new projects created through the NCIUA API will be created in FOCUS 2.5.
  • NCIUA and FORTIFIED are working with developers to migrate in-progress evaluations in FOCUS 1.0 to FOCUS 2.5, eliminating the need for them to be re-entered.
    • While we are doing everything in our power to avoid or limit an interruption, if the migration process is not complete by April 1, there will be a period when those SYR/SYCR evaluations cannot be submitted.
How does the transition change the process for Strengthen Alabama Homes grant projects?

While the process remains very similar, the SAH Home Review is now being managed and supported directly by Strengthen Alabama Homes. As a result, the iForms used for SAH pre-evaluations will not automatically create evaluations in FOCUS 2.5. Click here for more information.

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