Many New York City landlords have not addressed new flood codes

City revised building codes after Superstorm Sandy, but many owners not required to upgrade.

November 29, 2017 |

After Superstorm Sandy, New York City revised its building codes in 2013 to make buildings more resilient to flooding.

But landlords of most buildings in the flood plain have not been required to meet these flood-prevention standards, and many structures remain vulnerable to similar weather events. The new requirements include raising structures above flood elevation or flood-proofing buildings below that point, and ensuring that residents on higher floors can access potable water if electric water pumps fail.

So far, just 549 structures have hit the substantial alteration threshold when renovations amount to at least 50% of the building value—a trigger requiring the owner to adhere to the new code. To date, 1,131 new buildings have been constructed in the flood plain that abide by the new code.

According to the city, 75,786 other buildings constructed in the flood plain before 2013 have not completed a flood resilience retrofit. Some, though, have been prompted by their insurance providers to lift generators and boilers onto higher floors and harden their infrastructure. This work, however, may not be as comprehensive as fully abiding by the new code.

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