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Protecting Your Home > Construction Rules


Development in floodprone areas is development in harm's way. New construction in the floodplain increases the amount of development exposed to damage and can aggravate flooding on neighboring properties.

Before you build on, fill, alter, or regrade your property always check with your local Permit Department. A permit may be needed to ensure that such projects do not cause problems on other properties.

The stardards for new buildings and substantial improvements to existing buildings are explained in the section on floodplain management. These regulations are designed to protect your neighbors. By keeping the drainage system clear and getting the proper permits before you build, you can prevent flooding and other drainage problems. When in doubt, call the local permit office.

Floodplain Rules

There are special rules regarding building in the Special Flood Hazard Area. If you can stay out of the SFHA, all the better.

If you have to erect a building in the regulated floodplain, it must have its lowest floor, including a basement, and all utilities elevated to the regulatory elevation set by your community. Check with your floodplain manager to determine that elevation.

Documentation of meeting this requirement is done with a FEMA Elevation Certificate. There are additional restrictions on filling, grading, or building in a mapped floodway.

If you have an existing building and want to improve, expand, or repair it, you also need to check with your local permit office. Certain codes require that all substantial improvements to a building be treated as a new building. A substantial improvement is when the value of an addition, alteration, repair, or reconstruction project equals or exceeds 50% of the value of the existing building. In the case of an addition, only the addition must be protected. In the case of an improvement to the original building, the entire building must be protected.