As flooding becomes more and more commonplace across the country, enhancing flood resiliency is a priority for new site development. For developers in Houston, and more specifically, Harris County, there are changes to the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) which will go into effect nationwide on October 1, 2020 that could potentially affect your site.

Currently, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) uses flood zone maps as the primary tool to determine rates. Under the new system, rates will be determined by also factoring in variables such as the distance a building is from the coast or another water source and the cost to rebuild the home or building.

Here’s an overview of NFIP so that you can be informed.

  • NFIP is a national program whose general purpose is both to offer primary flood insurance to properties with significant flood risk, and to reduce flood risk through the adoption of floodplain management standards. Communities volunteer to participate in the NFIP in order to have access to federal flood insurance, and in return are required to adopt minimum standards.

  • Communities will typically adopt these practices by ordinance or resolution, such as Floodplain Fill Mitigation and Minimum Finish Floor Elevation (FFE) above the 100-year flood zone. However, these practices can vary from community to community because more stringent communities will afford themselves better ratings through the Community Rating System (CRS), resulting in lower insurance for those communities

If a site is in the 100 or 500-year floodplain, it’s important for your civil engineer to know what floodplain management criteria has been adopted by the governing authority and how it affects the feasibility of your site.

If you have additional questions about how NFIP could affect your plans, please reach out to PRD Land Development at [email protected] today.


When to Worry About National Flood Insurance Program’s Effect on your Site Development