Feature Short

‘Build Higher’: HUD’s Rules After Harvey, Irma, Maria

HUD new rules for disaster recovery funds reinstate floodplain building standards established by Obama and revoked by President Trump.

April 4, 2018

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has set stricter elevation requirements for the construction of new or substantially renovated buildings in flood-prone areas using HUD funds after Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria. The goal is to reduce future flood risks to people and to properties when rebuilding is paid for with federal disaster recovery funds.

Under the new rules, the bottom floor has to be at least two feet above the base flood elevation established by the U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). For “critical facilities,” such as hospitals, nursing homes, and police and fire stations, HUD’s rules require buildings to be elevated at least three feet. This rule governs $7.39 billion in Community Development Block Grant Disaster Recovery funds (CDBG DR).