Substantial Improvement And Damage

Substantial improvement and substantial damage apply only to structures located in the special flood hazard area that are not in compliance with the current floodplain management regulations. If your lowest floor elevation (habitable) is below the design flood elevation (DFE), your home is not in compliance with the current floodplain management regulations and any construction projects will require review for consideration of substantial improvement. The DFE for residential structures is 1 foot above the BFE.

Substantial improvement (SI)

Refers to any reconstruction, rehabilitation, addition, or other improvement of a structure, the cost of which equals or exceeds 49% of the market value of the structure prior to commencing construction. This term includes structures which have incurred “substantial damage”, regardless of the actual repair work performed. The term does not, however, include either:

  1. Any project for improvement of a structure to correct existing violations of state or local health, sanitary, or safety code specifications which have been identified by the local code enforcement official and which are the minimum necessary to assure safe living conditions.
  2. Any alteration of a “historic structure”, provided that the alteration will not preclude the structure's continued designation as a “historic structure”.

Substantial damage (SD)

Refers to the damage of any origin sustained by a structure whereby the cost of restoring the structure to its before damaged condition would equal or exceed 49% of the market value of the structure prior to the damage occurring.

If the cost of improvements/repair exceed 49% of the market value of the structure, then the structure must now comply with the most current floodplain management standards. If the proposed construction qualifies as a SI/SD project, please complete the Substantial Improvement Package and include this package with the permit application.

Costs that must be included in SI/SD Determinations:

Material and labor, including the estimated value of donated or discounted materials and owner or volunteer labor.

  • Site preparation related to the improvement or repair.
  • Labor and other costs associated with demolishing, moving or altering building components to accommodate improvements, additions and making repairs.
  • Costs associated with complying with any other regulations or code requirement that is triggered by the work, including costs to comply with American Disability Act.
  • Costs associated with elevating a structure when the proposed elevation is lower than the required flood elevation.
  • Construction management and supervision.
  • Contractor’s overhead and profit.
  • Structural elements and exterior finishes, including:
    • Foundations
    • Monolithic or other types of concrete slabs
    • Bearing walls, tie beams, trusses
    • Joists, beams-sub-flooring, framing, ceilings
    • Interior non-bearing walls
    • Exterior finishes (brick, stucco, painting, trim, etc.)
    • Windows and exterior doors
    • Roofing, gutters and downspouts
    • Hardware
    • Attached decks and porches
  • Interior finish elements, including:
    • Floor finishes (hardwood, linoleum and wall to wall carpeting or subflooring)
    • Bathroom tiling and fixtures
    • Wall finishes
    • Built in cabinets
    • Interior doors
    • Interior finish carpentry
    • Built in bookcases and furniture
    • Hardware
    • Insulation
  • Utility Service equipment, including:
    • Heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) equipment
    • Plumbing fixtures and piping
    • Electrical wiring, outlets and switches
    • Light fixtures and ceiling fans
    • Security systems
    • Central vacuum systems
    • Water filtration, conditioning and recirculation systems

Costs that may be excluded from SI/SD Determinations:

  • Clean up and trash removal
  • Costs to temporary stabilize a building so that is safe to enter to evaluate and identify required repairs
  • Costs to obtain or prepare plans and specifications
  • Land survey costs
  • Permit fees and inspection fees
  • Carpeting and re-carpeting installed over finished flooring such as wood or tiling
  • Outside improvements, including landscaping, irrigations, sidewalks, driveways, fences, yard lights, swimming pools, pool enclosures, and detached accessory structures
  • Costs required for the minimum necessary work to correct existing violations of health, safety and sanitary codes
  • Plug in appliances such as washing machines, dryers, and stoves