Scott Gurian of New Jersey Public Radio put together an interesting report, NJ Flood Zone Building Rules Conflict with FEMA, that should raise the ire of every property owner across the country. The confusing inconsistencies in standards at the intersection of local and national floodplain management provide little, if any, comfort particularly to those with real estate assets in areas that are truly at high-risk of flooding.
The pace of construction is picking up at the Jersey Shore as more homeowners receive funding to repair or rebuild their Sandy-damaged homes. But federal officials and flood insurance experts are worried that New Jersey has not adopted the same construction standards required by FEMA.
That could lead to insurance penalties down the road, problems when homeowners sell their houses and instances of people not being as safe as they should be in future storms.
“They could be spending money on a retrofit of a structure that would be noncompliant, and that’s going to cost them money over the long haul,” said John Miller of the New Jersey Association for Floodplain Management. Insurance premiums could rise, he said, and residents who rebuild incorrectly might have to spend substantially more to fix those problems at a later date.
The rules in New Jersey’s Flood Hazard Area Control Act fail to distinguish between building requirements in different types of flood zones, permit houses to be designed to take on water during a flood and measure a home’s elevation differently.
This story matters to both residential and commercial property owners alike and underscores the importance of being proactive about flood risk. If you own, manage or represent property subject to flood insurance requirements, be diligent about flood risk:
- Stay informed of flood insurance rate map changes in your area.
- Contact your legislative representatives and tell them unequal treatment of property owners is unacceptable.
- Conduct a flood risk evaluation, a proactive strategy to mitigate flood risk, protect the real estate investment and verify whether the structure is built to minimize the risk of flooding.
Contact AmeriFlood Solutions for more information, including a complimentary flood risk evaluation performed by an expert team of flood risk professionals.