Retrofitting Existing Structures

Elevating existing structures is one way to protect them.

Elevating existing structures is one way to protect them from flooding and help prepare for projected sea level rise.

For buildings in hazardous areas that cannot be relocated or removed, the best option may be to retrofit them to improve their chances of surviving storm events. FEMA and other organizations have done extensive research to determine what type of construction techniques best survive storms.

Retrofitting options to improve a building’s storm readiness include elevating it on open pilings above predicted flood heights, incorporating freeboard into design, anchoring structures to resist flotation, reducing or completely removing impervious ground cover, and installing protective structures over windows and doors. While not all of these options are inexpensive, there is potential funding available. (See the funding section for more information.)

Specific resources for information on retrofitting include:

* Your community needs only 500 points to qualify for reduced flood insurance premiums through the Community Rating System (CRS). For more information (including how to apply for the CRS program), see our Community Rating System (CRS) primer.


Notes from the folks at CRS:

“Credit is provided for protecting buildings by retrofitting so that they suffer no or minimal flood damage. Flood protection techniques recognized by CRS include elevating buildings above flood levels, dry floodproofing, wet floodproofing, and protection of basements from sewer backup. To receive credit flood protection projects must meet federal, state and local codes.”