The State Building Code is designed to protect people and property—but it must be enforced to be effective.
In the coastal floodplain, elevated structures with little or no at-grade enclosures almost always weather storm flooding better than solid foundations. Because of this, permits often stipulate that buildings in these areas be elevated on open foundations. Unfortunately, owners of these buildings often later enclose lower areas of their structures for parking, storage, or even livable space. In addition to putting the structure itself and the people in it at greater risk, illegally enclosed areas increase risks to others by creating debris during storms and increasing erosion on their own or other property.
To effectively enforce building codes, your community should consider conducting routine inspections of elevated structures to ensure that no illegal enclosures have been constructed.
* Your community needs only 500 points to qualify for reduced flood insurance premiums through the Community Rating System (CRS). For more information (including how to apply for the CRS program), see our Community Rating System (CRS) primer.
Notes from the folks at CRS:
“Regulations that prohibit enclosures below an elevated structure can receive up to 300 points. When the size of enclosures is limited to 299 square feet or less and the regulations require the owner to sign a nonconversion agreement, up to 150 points are available to the community.”