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HUD strengthens flood protection rules for new and rebuilt residential buildings

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HUD strengthens flood protection rules for new and rebuilt residential buildings

The rules increase elevations and flood-proofing requirements.


By Peter Fabris, Contributing Editor | May 10, 2024
Photo: Pixabay
Photo: Pixabay

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) issued more stringent flood protection requirements for new and rebuilt homes that are developed with, or financed with, federal funds.

The rule strengthens standards by increasing elevations and flood-proofing requirements of new properties in areas at risk of flooding. It also applies to substantial improvements to structures financed through HUD grants, subsidy programs, and applicable multifamily programs.

HUD estimates about 10% of new Federal Housing Administration (FHA) single-family homes constructed each year are within a 100-year floodplain. Many of those homes are already located in areas where state or local standards are higher than HUD’s previous standard.

The updated standards reduce FHA homeowners’ exposure to losses caused by flooding, reduce insurance costs, and protect the risk to life faced in areas of greater flood risk, HUD says. According to the National Institute of Building Sciences, building to higher elevations is cost effective when flooding occurs, providing a benefit of $6 in damages avoided for every $1 invested in elevation.

“This rule will ensure HUD supported properties have the best chance of being undisturbed when flooding occurs,” says Marion McFadden, principal deputy assistant secretary for Community Planning and Development. “It is the responsibility of the federal government to ensure that taxpayer investments are built to withstand foreseeable risk and has the added benefit of reducing the cost of flood insurance for property owners.”

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