Tropical Builders Blog

FEMA Floodplain Regulations Part 1

If you are planning on building, renovating, or buying property in the  Hilton Head / Bluffton area there are a few things that you need to know about FEMA’s floodplain regulations. We will cover some of the key points over the next few weeks.

A floodplain is a low lying area that is adjacent to waterways that is naturally subject to periodic flooding.  Development standards have been created for areas designated as the 100-year floodplain.  It is the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) that creates the minimum building design criteria that apply to  new construction, repair of substantially damaged buildings, and substantial improvement of existing buildings in a designated floodplain.

What is the 100-year flood?

Floodplain development regulations are based on the 100-year flood, which is more accurately described as the flood that has a 1% probability of being equaled or exceeded in any year. Engineering models are used to determine both the area subject to inundation and the height of floodwaters during this model flood event. The area that would be flooded is called the Special Flood Hazard Area (SFHAs) and is subject to floodplain development regulations. The water height is called the Base Flood Elevation (BFE) and is the basis for development standards within the regulated floodplain area.

In Part 2 we will discuss modification to existing structures and how this affects your ability to make renovations.


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