FEMA to review floodplain building codes

The White House on Tuesday announced a series of new proposals for climate initiatives, including potential new building standards for structures in flood-vulnerable areas.

In the fact sheet, the Biden administration announced a request for information for an update to the National Flood Insurance Program’s (NFIP) standards for floodplains. The last major update to the standards took place in 1976. A request for information by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) seeks information for what updates and revisions are necessary to existing codes. Any new requirements would be added to the standards that communities must meet as a condition of federal flood insurance.

“Specifically, FEMA is seeking input from the public on the floodplain management standards that communities should adopt to result in safer, stronger, and more resilient communities,” FEMA said in the request. “Additionally, FEMA seeks input on how the NFIP can better promote protection of and minimize any adverse impact to threatened and endangered species, and their habitats.”

So what could these changes look like? Specifically, the disaster agency asks whether it should base any standards changes on future risks based on climate projections.

It also asks whether sellers and lessors should be required to report flood risks, what steps it can take to reduce financial impacts for properties that have faced multiple floods and whether the agency should develop higher standards for critical infrastructure.

NPIF makes flood insurance available for places that adopt specific rules aimed at preventing flood risks

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