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Substantial Damage and Improvement

Substantial damage means damage of any origin sustained by a structure whereby the cost of restoring the structure to its condition before it was damaged would equal or exceed 50% of the market value of the structure before the damage occurred. Substantial damage also means flood-related damages sustained by a structure on two separate occasions during a 10-year period for which the cost of repairs at the time of each flood event, on the average, equals or exceeds 25% of the market value of the structure before the damage occurred.

Substantial improvement means any combination of repairs, reconstruction, alteration, or improvements to a building, during a 10 year period, where the cumulative cost equals or exceeds 50% of the market value of the building before the “start of construction” for the improvement. The term includes structures that have incurred “substantial damage,” regardless of the actual repair work performed.

A project is a substantial improvement if:

Cost of Improvement Project    > 50%
Market Value of the Building

Existing buildings that are not compliant with current standards and are deemed substantially damaged or improved must be elevated to the BFE plus 1’.  A current market value appraisal of the building will be required, along with a construction estimate for the repairs or improvements from a licensed contractor.

Additions to buildings must be elevated to the BFE plus 1’ regardless of the flood zone that they are constructed in. If the addition is a substantial improvement and is located in a VE Zone, the lowest horizontal member of the lowest floor of the existing structure must also be elevated to the BFE plus 1’.

The Floodplain Manager is available to inspect damaged dwellings to determine whether they meet the 50% estimate. Download the Substantial Damage Inspection Request Form and the Floodplain Manager will schedule an appointment to inspect the damaged structure.

FEMA Substantial Improvement

Substantial Damage Improvement Desk Reference

Increased Cost of Compliance

Elevating your Home