What about FEMA?


In 1981 I attended a seminar on FEMA’s Coastal Construction Manual. I was informed by the head of the mitigation department Mr. Robert McBeth about older homes need to be raised or rebuilt to comply with new flood regulations. As a home builder remodeler I looked on the requirements as a new business opportunity. Welcome to government failure 101! I recently got local NARI publication (National Association of the Remodeling Industry) Top local remodelers advertise in the magazine. NARI members promote themselves and do little to support the industry. NARI is all about self promoting the Remodeling industry. I am a NARI certified member. So much for ethics too.

AS I look thru the magazine and I see a member promoting a substantial improvement residential project. The homes square footage has been increased dramatically. I read that a major renovation increasing the ceiling height and major money was spent. According to CFR 44, the requirements under part 59, 60 and 60.3 mandates to local community to require compliance for any improved structure that increases the market value more than 50 percent rule. The 50 percent rule is a bench mark cost amount required under Minimum NFIP (National Flood Insurance Program) If you take the existing improvements minus the land, pool, driveway, fences/ anything not tied to the home that is what the home should sell for. Market Value is determined by a certified appraisal or the tax assessment plus 20 percent. These requirements are in the local flood plain ordinance required by FEMA. The Florida Building Code also mentions compliance with Code of Federal Regulations 44

The state of Florida is FEMA’s flood policy mega state. There are more flood policies in Florida than the next 4 states combined! The local community is required to control by local ordinance all improvements to property located in the Flood Plain by agreement with FEMA. FEMA administers the NFIP. FEMA is in the RED Big Time!!   NFIP is just an insurance company with some government powers. Most communities recognize that compliance is a good thing, BUT! All most all communities in the Tampa bay metropolitan area have violations of the 50 percent rule.  All local community personnel responsible for regulating and permitting 50 rule projects think they do a stellar job.

I will always say that government, insurance companies and financial institutions know nothing about construction costing! Cost is arrived at, cost is not known in advance. Otherwise I would have signs plastered on my trucks. So I inform the owner that they can’t add a second story over the entire home. A month later I see a contractor building the addition. Most contractors just want to work and eat. We all have bills to pay and we need to make money. Property tax assessors have made comments to me about how improvements are installed below Base Flood Elevation. How can they do that? Home owners will do whatever they want. When a hurricane comes, when the water rises, they will blame the local community for non-compliance. I could have been a CBO, certified building official, but I can’t kiss up that high. It’s hard to be in denial when you know. FEMA FLOOD Violations are like drug dealers. They are everywhere. Back in 2001, I wrote a description of participant’s roles for creating flood improvement violations. FEMA officials don’t enforce NFIP because of political interference. I even have been threatened by arrest for taking pictures from the sidewalk of violation projects. I have evidence!

FEMA officials always require the local community to enforce its own flood ordinance. CFR44 is nationwide. FEMA has carrots for the state and local community. It’s an uneven playing field for contractors! Do you think lead paint is going to be any better?

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