People could save a lot by choosing a slab separation if they are elevating a house. A slab separation allows the contractor to cut the house from the slab, build a new subfloor, and elevate the lighter house. This provides a floor that has no flood damage, and a lighter structure to lift and stabilize. This method is cheaper and can help the homeowner save on the required match (25% of the total project cost, generally).
The “drawback” is that the flooring is lost, and cabinets and the bottom of the walls have to be removed and then put back in place. This happens in many homes after a storm, but by the time the federal grants for elevation arrive, the walls, tiles, and cabinets are already replaced and the slab elevation is more attractive. This can add years of delay and $20,000 - $35,000 to a home elevation. This is inefficient and leaves the home and improvements at risk of flood unnecessarily while the owner waits on grant funds for the most expensive elevation type.
The Parish is working with state and federal staff and national groups in attempts to receive grant funds from disasters closer to the time that insurance payments are received. This would make it easier for people to lower their flood risk while they rebuild. Emergency repairs need to happen immediately, but often much more rebuilding happens without mitigation. Those repair investments sometimes preclude cost effective mitigation methods like slab separation and could put the Parish at risk of not complying with the National Flood Insurance Program. If successful, federal grants will be available to elevate a flooded structure at the same time it is being repaired.
For more information, go to http://www.fema.gov/pdf/rebuild/mat/sec5.pdf, download “Homeowner’s Guide to Retrofitting,” FEMA P-312, Second Edition, December 2009, or check it out of one of the local libraries. This guide covers six (6) options for retrofitting a house to avoid flooding. Slab separation is on page 12 of the attachment (page 98) and in Chapter 5 of the book.