Retrofitting Buildings for Flood Risk (New York City)

Retrofitting Buildings for Flood Risk,’ from the New York City Department of City Planning, is a comprehensive guide for New York City homeowners living in new and existing flood zones. Along with a thorough assessment of applicable federal, state and city regulations relating to flood risk, the report provides retrofitting strategies that will enable property owners to adapt buildings for flood resiliency. 

This guide provides a step-by-step methodology for architects, developers and property owners to approach decisions about retrofits for many common types of NYC’s wide variety of building types in the floodplain. It also highlights the limitations of current Federal regulations for buildings in urban environments like New York City.

This report analyzes and illustrates retrofitting options for ten real-world case study buildings reflecting many of the most prevalent building types within the NYC floodplain, including those most difficult to retrofit.  For each of these case studies, a range of adaptation strategies are demonstrated to reflect variations in structural type or other building characteristics.

The report also highlights potential regulatory constraints, and focuses on providing strategies that qualify a building for reduced insurance premiums under FEMA’s National Flood Insurance Program and that satisfy the flood-resistant construction requirements of Appendix G of the New York City Building Code - which apply to new and substantially improved buildings. In recognition of the limited options available within the federal standards, alternative strategies are discussed that would reduce risk for buildings, even though under current regulations these measures may not lower insurance premiums or comply with NFIP standards.

The new FEMA flood maps, expected to take effect in 2016, will place approximately 71,500 buildings and 400,000 New Yorkers in the flood zone. 48 of the city’s 59 Community Boards will be impacted by the new flood zone map.


Publication Date: October 8, 2014

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