Elevated Foundation Systems May Be the Next Great Way to Rebuild Safer and Stronger
New Mitigation Approach from FEMA Launched for Sandy may be available for future storms elsewhere.
The growing threat of floods and hurricanes throughout the nation and increasing costs for elevations may have been the driving force behind a new pilot program for flood mitigation. Rather than elevating houses, rebuilding is encouraged. FEMA is providing up to $45,000 to construct the foundation of a new home should a flood survivor opt to demolish and rebuild a structure. The grant also pays for nonconstruction costs such as demolition, surveys, design fees, and permits above and beyond the construction cap. The same funds can also be used for wind mitigation costs as well, such as shutters or hurricane proof glass, doors, or roof components.
Eligibility requirements limit the funds to primary residences owned by the applicant at the time and made substantially damaged by the storm or already severe repetitive loss structures. This would mean that structures already substantially damaged would not be eligible for the program. Structures in the V-zone are also ineligible. Terrebonne will encourage this approach to be available for all substantially damaged structures if possible, and work to have this grant program available soon after a storm when insurance proceeds are available.
If a structure has insurance claims worth more than 50% of the assessors value of the property, it would be determined by the National Flood Insurance Program to be substantially damaged and eligible for Increased Cost of Compliance (ICC) insurance benefits (up to $30,000). These can be used to elevate, relocate, or demolish a structure or to match other programs for those activities. FEMA programs generally require a 25% match and the ICC benefits can be used for that match.
FEMA hopes that these incentives used together will enable people to choose
demolish and to rebuild rather than elevate a storm damaged structure with questionable structural integrity.
The current Sandy guidance is attached for more details.
This mitigation method is new, and only time will tell if it will be offered in future storms.