The Biggert-Waters Act 2012 has increased National Flood Insurance Program premiums for pre-firm structures. 20 percent increases are due to policy holders.
For decades residential property owners have circumvented NFIP regulations. I have dealt with inspection reports, litigation issues and legal procedures involved in over improvements and permitting failures.
What can change on pre-firm structures? These are structures built before Federal Insurance rate maps where implemented.
Substantial compliance is the only thing that eliminates pre-firm status. Getting the living floor up and away on residential from flooding possibilities will reduce flood premiums, period!
Why not elevate the existing structure? The higher a building is the more wind force on it.
Lifting up a structure that doesn’t meet wind loads is a bad idea. It is best to reinforce the existing structure and then build on top of the modified walls.
- Elevation of existing buildings higher in the wind is not a valid consideration.
- Residential structures are required to be wet flood proofed. All utilities must be elevated.
- Commercial buildings can be dry flood proofed with engineered panels in front of the openings.
- FEMA does recognize dry flood proofing for residential because of human intervention.
- Elevation certificates are required to determine existing building specifics.
- Different flood zones dictate different foundations and structural requirements.
- Building a new compliant structure on top of the existing structure is the best most cost effective way to accomplish full compliance.
Normally, existing walls might need to be re-enforced. Hydrostatic relief vents can be cut into existing walls. Tie beams can be placed on top of existing walls that tie into vertical reinforcement. Existing walls can be wet flood proofed.
New and substantial compliance rebuilds and improvements must meet the requirements of Chapter 16 section 1612 of the Florida Building Code and the local communities FLOOD ORDINANZE.