What does substantial damage mean?
BATON ROUGE – As communities across South Louisiana continue to rebuild their lives after historic flooding, FEMA says many could face the issue of “substantial damage,” as defined by the National Flood Insurance Program.
According to FEMA, ‘substantial damage’ is a specific term applied to a damaged building in a floodplain in which total cost of repairs is 50 percent or more of the building’s market value before a disaster.
If a building’s market value before the flooding was $200,000 and repairs will cost $120,000, the structure is considered ‘substantially damaged.’ (Land value is excluded from the calculations).
FEMA says it’s important to know the percentage of structural damage your property suffered. That information helps homeowners decide whether the home will require additional work, like elevating, to meet local codes and ordinances.
Owners who decide to rebuild may need to elevate their structures, or change them in some other way to comply with those local floodplain regulations and avoid future flood losses.
Owners of non-residential structures may need to flood proof their buildings.
FEMA said determining whether or not a building is ‘substantially damaged’ is decided on the local government level by a building official or floodplain manager.
Substantial damage determinations are required by local floodplain management ordinances. Those ordinances must be in place for residents to purchase flood insurance.
Residents are urged to contact their local building official for more specific information about substantial damage determination for their property.
FEMA says all property owners should check with local officials to determine if they need to get permits to begin repairing their homes. There can be serious consequences for not complying with the permit process.