News Article

Rebuilding a Commercial Building After a Flood

When a flood dam­ages or destroys a com­mer­cial build­ing in either a high- or low-risk flood zone, the own­er often must choose between repair­ing, rebuild­ing, or mov­ing. Essen­tial to this deci­sion, is whether the busi­ness had flood insur­ance, which can cov­er the costs of repair­ing and rebuild­ing. Typ­i­cal­ly, a stan­dard com­mer­cial build­ing pol­i­cy does not cov­er dam­age from flood­ing. If the choice is to remain at the cur­rent loca­tion and the dam­age is beyond repair, rebuild­ing is the next step. For com­mer­cial build­ings and struc­tures locat­ed in whole or in part of a flood haz­ard area, the design and con­struc­tion must be accord­ing to Amer­i­can Soci­ety of Civ­il Engi­neers (ASCE), Flood Resis­tant Design and Con­struc­tion, ASCE 24 – 14. The ASCE 24 is the ref­er­ence stan­dard in the 2018 Inter­na­tion­al Codes® (I-Codes®) for flood-resis­tant design and con­struc­tion. The ASCE 24 gives the min­i­mum require­ments and expect­ed per­for­mance for the sit­ing, design and con­struc­tion of build­ings and struc­tures in flood haz­ard areas. Com­mer­cial prop­er­ty own­ers in both high- and low-risk flood zones are wise to obtain flood insur­ance, to cov­er the cost of rebuild­ing after a flood.

Commercial Property Flood Insurance

Com­mer­cial prop­er­ty flood insur­ance pro­tects busi­ness own­ers against loss­es due to over­flow­ing water sys­tems, heavy or pro­longed rain, storm surge, snow melt, blocked storm drainage sys­tems, bro­ken dams or lev­ees, or oth­er sim­i­lar caus­es. Com­mer­cial prop­er­ty flood insur­ance, in fact, is required for build­ings locat­ed in a high-risk flood zone (also called Spe­cial Flood Haz­ard Area) that have a mort­gage from a fed­er­al­ly reg­u­lat­ed or insured lender. The Nation­al Flood Insur­ance Pro­gram (NFIP), led by the Fed­er­al Emer­gency Man­age­ment Agency (FEMA), allows busi­ness own­ers in par­tic­i­pat­ing communities1 to buy fed­er­al­ly backed flood insur­ance. The NFIP also assigns the risk of flood­ing by zones. Zones A and V are regions of high-risk. Zones B, C, and X are regions of mod­er­ate to low-risk. How­ev­er, when flood insur­ance is not required, like in mod­er­ate-to-low-risk areas, flood insur­ance is advis­able for pro­tect­ing against loss­es due to flood­ing. In fact, FEMA reports that those insured out­side of mapped high-risk flood areas file near­ly 25 per­cent of all NFIP flood insur­ance claims and receive one-third of Fed­er­al Dis­as­ter Assis­tance for flood­ing. Com­mer­cial flood insur­ance from NFIP pro­vides up to $500,000 of cov­er­age for the build­ing and up to $500,000 for its con­tents. Addi­tion­al insur­ance, called excess insur­ance cov­er­age, can be pur­chased and cov­ers rebuild­ing prop­er­ties val­ued above the NFIP lim­its and pro­tec­tion against busi­ness inter­rup­tion. Com­mer­cial prop­er­ty flood insur­ance pro­tects busi­ness own­ers against loss­es due to a flood by pro­vid­ing the finan­cial means to repair or rebuild.

Constructing a Flood-Resistant Commercial Building

After a flood, rebuild­ing a com­mer­cial build­ing locat­ed in a flood haz­ard area must be designed in accor­dance with ASCE 24. Accord­ing to FEMA, build­ings designed to ASCE 24 stan­dards are bet­ter able to resist flood loads and dam­age and meet or exceed the min­i­mum require­ment for the NFIP. ASCE 24 also includes addi­tion­al require­ments and lim­i­ta­tions that are not in NFIP reg­u­la­tions. The ASCE 24 stan­dard includes require­ments for the fol­low­ing:

  1. basic sit­ing and design and con­struc­tion require­ments for struc­tures in flood haz­ard areas
  2. flood dam­age-resis­tant mate­ri­als
  3. dry flood­proof­ing and wet flood­proof­ing
  4. build­ing access
  5. min­i­mum ele­va­tions for the low­est floor
  6. flood­proof­ing mea­sures, each tied to a structure’s Flood Design Class
  7. struc­tures in high-risk flood haz­ard areas sub­ject to flood­ing asso­ci­at­ed with high-veloc­i­ty flow, allu­vial fans, mud­slides, flash floods, ero­sion, coastal wave action, or debris and ice jams.
  8. struc­tures in Coastal V Zones and Coastal A Zones
  9. atten­dant util­i­ties and equip­ment, includ­ing elec­tri­cal ser­vice, plumb­ing sys­tems, mechanical/​HVAC sys­tems, and ele­va­tors
  10. and mis­cel­la­neous con­struc­tion, includ­ing decks and porch­es, con­crete slabs, garages and car­ports, acces­so­ry stor­age struc­tures, chim­neys and fire­places, pools, and tanks

Building a Flood-Resistant Commercial Building with Bautex Wall System

The Bau­tex Wall Sys­tem is an excel­lent mate­r­i­al choice for a com­mer­cial build­ing in a high- or low-risk flood zone. The Bau­tex Block will not degrade when wet and main­tains its orig­i­nal shape and dura­bil­i­ty dur­ing and after a flood. In addi­tion, appli­ca­tion of the Bau­tex AMB 20-WP Air and Mois­ture Bar­ri­er to both sides of the Bau­tex wall above the max­i­mum flood ele­va­tion will pre­vent water from get­ting into the wall. Fur­ther­more, Bau­tex Blocks are inor­gan­ic; there­fore, not a food source for mold and mildew. The water resis­tance and inor­gan­ic com­po­si­tion of the Bau­tex Wall Sys­tem pre­vents the growth of mold and mildew inside the walls of a build­ing. Pre­vent­ing mold and mildew growth on or inside the walls means less clean up after a flood than a wall con­struct­ed with non-water resis­tant, organ­ic mate­ri­als, like wood, ply­wood, and ori­ent­ed strand board (OSB). The Bau­tex Wall Sys­tem meets the ASCE 24 cri­te­ria for a flood dam­age-resis­tant mate­r­i­al: mois­ture resis­tant, durable, and mold and mildew resis­tant.

When rebuild­ing a com­mer­cial build­ing after a flood, the design must be in accor­dance with ASCE 24 and meet or exceed the min­i­mum require­ment for the NFIP. Com­mer­cial build­ing own­ers are wise to invest in NFIP insur­ance, whether locat­ed in a high- or low-risk flood zone. In either case, The finan­cial con­se­quences of not hav­ing flood insur­ance cov­er­age could be dev­as­tat­ing if a flood occurs. For more infor­ma­tion on rebuild­ing a com­mer­cial build­ing after a flood, vis­it Bau­tex Wall Sys­tem.

1 Par­tic­i­pa­tion in the NFIP is option­al. How­ev­er, the Fed­er­al gov­ern­ment only offers flood insur­ance to par­tic­i­pat­ing com­mu­ni­ties. To join the com­mu­ni­ty, par­tic­i­pants must:

  1. File an appli­ca­tion
  2. Adopt a res­o­lu­tion of intent to coop­er­ate and par­tic­i­pate with FEMA
  3. Adopt and sub­mit a flood­plain man­age­ment ordi­nance that meets or exceeds the min­i­mum NFIP stan­dard. The flood­plain man­age­ment ordi­nance must also adopt any Flood Insur­ance Rate Map(FIRM) or Flood Haz­ard Bound­ary Map (FHBM) for the com­mu­ni­ty