In the aftermath of a flooding disaster such as Hurricane Matthew, individuals, communities, businesses and government agencies may look at rebuilding as an opportunity to make damaged buildings stronger and safer.
While all parties involved have a vested interest in how the damaged buildings are repaired, and in many cases completely rebuilt, the primary goal is to reduce risk of loss from future floods.
Here are some facts to remember in the repairing and rebuilding process:
- Floodplain ordinances are established at the local level. Local and state officials may use different substantial damage percentages and different valuations as long as they are not below NFIP (National Flood Insurance Program) standards.
- Local officials determine if a building in their jurisdiction has been substantially damaged by uniformly applying local standards to all structures.
- In St. Augustine, Richard “Buddy” Schauland is the city’s Building Official and Flood Plain Manager and Randy Hurry is the city’s Building Inspector. Together, Mr. Schauland and Mr. Hurry will be conducting inspections to determine the extent of damages to structures in the city.
- If local officials determine that a residential structure in the floodplain has been substantially damaged – meaning the cost to repair the home is equal to or greater than 50 percent of its market value before the flood damage – the owner generally has three options:
- Elevate the building to a height determined by local officials;
- Relocate the structure outside the floodplain, or
- Demolish the structure
In some cases, it may be required that homes and businesses meet certain building requirements when they are rebuilt in order to reduce future flood damage. To help you cover the costs of meeting those requirements, the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) includes Increased Cost of Compliance (ICC) coverage for all new and renewed Standard Flood Insurance Policies. Ultimately, maintaining compliance with local floodplain ordinances may reduce individual flood insurance premiums. Information about ICC coverage can be found here, on the FEMA website.
- ICC monies are made available through an individual’s flood insurance policy. Without flood insurance, individuals may not be compensated for the cost of lifting, removing or demolition of their home.
- A property may be eligible for a flood elevation variance through the city’s Code Enforcement, Adjustments and Appeals Board. Click here to download the application for a building code variance.
- FEMA does not make a determination of substantial damage and does not notify any property owner of a damage determination. FEMA damage assessment teams may be asked to respond to local requests to assess the extent of disaster-caused damage to some structures. The data is provided to local jurisdictions, which may make substantial damage determinations based on their own ordinances.
- FEMA mitigation experts have been and continue to be in close contact with local officials to provide detailed information and expert advice on repairing and rebuilding damaged homes in the floodplain.
For more information and guidance, contact the Planning and Building Department at 904-825-1065.