Properties in those areas that will not be cleared will not have 100% protection against all possible future hazards. But they can be “mitigated,” i.e., rebuilt in ways that reduce the long term risk to life and property.
Measures appropriate for different building types and different hazards should be explained, especially to applicants for permits to repair. Before restoration and reconstruction are initiated, appropriate and feasible mitigation measures should be incorporated into each building. Examples include:
- Buildings on crawlspaces or with damaged foundations can be elevated above flood levels on new, stronger, foundations.
- When replacing electrical components, elevate them above the flood whenever possible
- Damaged furnaces, air conditioners, and water heaters can be replaced with new ones on platforms above the flood level.
- When the walls and ceilings have been opened for cleaning, structural ties can be added for wind protection and insulation can be installed to reduce the effects of heat waves and winter storms.
- When replacing standard gypsum drywall, use a water resistant version.
- When a roof is replaced, impact resistant roofing for hail protection should be used.
In cases of a substantially damaged building in a floodplain that had a flood insurance policy, a provision known as Increased Cost of Compliance can help finance code required mitigation measures, such as elevating the structure.
While a lot of attention is given to determining substantial damage, there are many opportunities to reduce future damage to buildings that are not in the regulated floodplain. Building departments should advise property owners about these and owners should read some of the references below.
There may be other sources of financial assistance other than Increased Cost of Compliance. Check with the Joint Field Office.
- The Red Cross’ Repairing Your Flooded Home offers ideas on pages 37 – 44.
- FEMA’s publication 551 has guidance on selecting appropriate mitigation measures.
- The Louisiana State University AgCenter website has suggestions for incorporating mitigation measures during repairs and rebuilding. See here and here.
- FEMA has information on Increased Cost of Compliance.