Department of Community Development Form: CCC-030700
Renovations and Additions in the Flood Hazard Zones / FEMA Requirements In order to continue to secure the benefits of participation in the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) for citizens of Cape Coral, Florida; it is necessary for this City to comply with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) requirements for renovations and additions in “AE” and “VE” flood hazard zones. FEMA requirements affect existing buildings that were not constructed at minimum flood elevation when such buildings are “substantially improved”. FEMA has defined substantial improvement; as any repair, reconstruction or improvement of a structure, the costs of which equals or exceeds fifty percent (50%) of the market value of the structure either before the improvement or repair is started, or before the damage occurred if the building has been damaged and is being restored.
In the case of substantial improvement of a structure, in which the addition is to the front, rear or either side; only the addition is required to comply with the elevation and construction criteria, of the NFIP regulations. Should the substantial improvement consist of interior renovations, there is no option of elevating just the improvement. Therefore, the entire structure must be elevated, unless it is a non-residential structure in an “AE” zone, and can be made flood-proof. Substantial improvement consisting of an addition directly above an existing structure would be treated the same as if the improvement were interior renovations.
It is important to keep in mind that substantial improvement is cumulative and refers to the total cost of all improvements, not individual building permits. Breaking a project up into segments or phases to avoid the substantial improvement threshold is prohibited by FEMA regulations.
To assist in the determination of substantial improvement, the applicant needs to provide the market value of the existing structure, excluding land. This can be obtained from the Lee County Tax Assessor’s office or a certified appraisal. The cost of the work also needs to be provided. This cost must include the value of all labor and materials. When labor or materials are donated, provided by the owner or discounted in any way, prevailing market values shall be used. A detailed cost estimate will be accepted as documentation for the cost of the work.
Your permit application cannot be processed until the above mentioned information has been provided.
Paul B. Dickson, CBO
Building Official for the City of Cape Coral
National Flood Insurance Program/ NFIP
Substantial Improvement (50% Rule)
Pre-Firm buildings must be elevated if damaged by any cause for which repair costs are 50% or more of the value of the building. This is a “hidden cost” that actually reduces the value of the structure. Most homeowners never know about this until it happens to them. Ask Saga Bay, Florida! Damage can occur from flooding, fire, earthquake, wind, or man. This applies to all buildings in a flood hazard area, regardless if the building has flood insurance.
The costs to repair must be calculated for full repair to “before-damaged” condition, even if the owner elects to do less. The total costs to repair include both structural and finish materials and labor.
When a Pre-Firm building is proposed to be remodeled, renovated, rehabilitated, added to, or an, any way improved; the proposed modifications must be evaluated for “substantial improvement”. If the total costs of improvement are 50% or more the building value, the building must be elevated, etc, just like “substantial damage”. “Total costs” means all structural costs, as well as all finish materials, built-in appliances, hardware, in addition to profit and overhead. The substantial improvement rule is a hidden potential cost that the buyer needs to be aware of.
Building value = market value of structure only. Land and exterior improvements are excluded, for example swimming pool, pool enclosure, landscaping, paving, etc. Market value = assessed value or properly-depreciated appraised building value. The assessed value may be adjusted upward to reflect the market more accurately. Replacement cost can only be used if properly depreciated. Certified appraisals must be based on the comparable sales method. The land value must be equal to or greater than that established by the County Assessor. The building value must be fairly depreciated to reflect the age of the building and the deterioration of building components.
Costs to be Included:
The construction costs to be calculated for both substantial damage and improvement include both structural and finish labor and materials. This includes lighting fixtures, built-in appliances, interior moldings, paneling, tiling, wall-to-wall carpet over sub-flooring, built-in cabinets, etc. The cost to demolish undamaged building components must be established and included. Overhead and profit are also included, but not the costs of permits. Many of these costs are not normally calculated for purposes of a building permit, nor are they regulated as part of the Building Code. But, they must be calculated for compliance with the 50% Rule.
When Maps are revised:
Substantial damage and Substantial Improvement can affect Post-Firm buildings, too. If the Firms are revised, and the flood elevations increase, many Post-Firm buildings may be affected. The 50% rule applies to them now as well! So, check the Firms, find out what flood elevation was in effect when the building was constructed, and what it is today. All additions to a Post-Firm structure must be elevated to or above the current BFE, whether they are “substantial” or not.
Substantial Damage and Substantial Improvement are subject to “cumulative” clauses in many community ordinances. FEMA generally requires that all separate permits for the same structure within a 1-2 year period are a single improvement and/or repair. This period runs from the date of final inspection or Certificate of Occupancy, not from the date the building permit was issued. Some communities require that improvements be calculated cumulatively over several years. The City of Cape Coral, participating in the NFIP Program community Rating System, requires ten years.
Please refer to the “Substantial Damage/Improvement “application forms. It includes instructions on calculating all costs, as well as affidavits for the contractor and property owner for submittal purposes.
Sample of Substantial/Improvement Illustration:
The attached drawing illustrates a common question with regards to proposed substantial improvements. In certain circumstances, only a lateral (sideways) addition is required to be elevated, not the original house. However, more commonly, the common wall between the two is removed and/or alterations and renovations are made to the existing house as well. Thus both the existing house and the addition must be elevated.
Notice to Property Owners for Substantial Improvement/Damage Adding on, renovating, or remodeling your home?
Rebuilding you home after the storm?
Here’s information you need to know about the 50% Rule
If your home or business is below the 100-year flood elevation, the City of Cape Coral has flood damage prevention regulations that may affect how you remodel, renovate, or add on to your building. If your home or business sustained structural and/or interior damage, these regulations may affect how you rebuild. These laws are required by the National Flood Insurance Program to protect your lives and investment from future flood damages. Your community must adopt and enforce these laws in order for federally-backed flood insurance to be made available to community residents and property owners.
Save yourself time, aggravation and money. Please read the following information:
Substantial Damage means damage of any origin sustained by a structure whereby the cost of restoring the structure to it’s before damage condition would equal or exceed 50% of the market value or replacement cost of the structure before damage occurred. (Note: The cost of the repairs must include all costs necessary to fully repair the structure to it’s before damage condition)
Substantial Improvement means any reconstruction, rehabilitation, addition, or other improvement of a structure, the cost of which equals or exceeds 50% of the market value of the structure before the “start of construction” of the improvement.
If a building is “substantially damaged” or “substantially improved”, it must be brought into compliance with the City of Cape Coral flood damage prevention regulations, including elevating the building to or above the 100-year flood elevation.
The City of Cape Coral, following National Flood Insurance Program requirements, has the responsibility to determine “substantial damage” and “substantial improvement” and has implemented the following procedures to do so:
The City of Cape Coral will estimate Market Value by using the tax assessment value of the structure (excluding land), plus 20%. (Example: Structure Assessment Value at 120% = Estimated Market Value).
You must obtain and submit to the City of Cape Coral a detailed and complete cost estimate for the addition, remodeling, reconstruction or for repair of all damages sustained by your home, prepared and signed by a licensed general contractor. The contractor must sign an affidavit indicating that the cost estimate submitted includes all damages or all improvements to your home, not just structural. (Refer to the City of Cape Coral Form CCC-030700 page 8 to 11).
The City of Cape Coral will evaluate the cost of improvements or repairs and determine if they are fair and reasonable. For damage repairs, pre-storm prices and rates will be utilized. The cost of improvements or repairs does not include items not considered a permanent part of the structure. (Refer to the City of Cape Coral Form CCC-030700 page 7).
If your home is determined to have “substantial damage” or is proposed to be “substantially improved”, then an Elevation Certificate; must be submitted, to the City of Cape Coral, to determine the lowest floor elevation. Garages and carports are not considered to be the “lowest floor”.
If the lowest floor is below the one hundred (100) year flood elevation, the building must be elevated to or above that level. Likewise, all electrical and mechanical equipment (heating and cooling, etc.), bathrooms, laundry rooms must be elevated to or above the 100-year flood level. Only parking, building access and limited incidental storage is allowed below the flood level. Non-residential buildings may be flood-proofed instead of being elevated.
If the lowest floor, electrical and mechanical, equipment, laundry and bathroom are already above the 100-year flood elevation, the building can be repaired and reconstructed without further modifications.
Building plans must be prepared to show how the building is to be elevated. If located in a VE-zone, Coastal High hazard Area, or if the building is to be flood-proofed, these plans must be prepared and certified by a registered professional engineer or architect, licensed in the State of Florida. Certificates for this purpose are available from the Building Official.
Following a presidential disaster declaration, the Small Business Administration may make loans available for both house and businesses for purposes of elevating the structure to or above the 100-year flood elevation. Proof of “substantial damage” from the City of Cape Coral is required.
The City of Cape Coral, Building Division cannot process your permit application, for improvements, without the information and materials referred to above. If you need further information, please contact the City of Cape Coral, Building Division.
Items to be included in the Estimated Cost All structural elements including:
Spread or continuous foundation footings and pilings
Owner Name: ________________________________________
Address: _______________________________ Phone #: _________________
I hereby attest to the fact that the repairs/reconstruction and/or remodeling list submitted for the Substantial Damage/Improvement Review, by my contractor, are All of the Damages/Improvements sustained by this structure and will be done to the existing building and that all additions, improvements, or repairs on the subject building are included in this estimated construction herewith. No other contractor has made any repairs, or reconstruction, or additions, or remodeling not included in the attached list.
I understand that I am subject to enforcement action and/or fines if inspection of the property reveals that I have made repairs or improvements Not Included on the Attached List of Repairs to My Home or that I have included non-conforming or illegal structures/additions, to the existing structure without having presented plans for such additions. I understand that any permit, issued by the City of Cape Coral, pursuant to this affidavit does not authorize the reconstruction, repair or maintenance of any illegal additions, fences, sheds or non-conforming uses or structures on the subject property.
State of ____________________
County of ____________________________
Before me this day personally appeared _______________________________;
who, being duly sworn deposes and says that he/she has read, understands, and agrees to comply with the aforementioned conditions.
Signatures: Owner: ________________________ Co-owner: _________________________
Sworn to and subscribed before me this _______ day of __________ A.D., ____
Notary Public: ________________________________ State of _____________
My commission expires: _______________
Contractor Reconstruction/ Improvement Affidavit Folio #: ________________ Contractor name: ___________________________
Address: __________________________License #: ______________________
Property Address: _______________________Phone #: ___________________
I hereby attest to the fact that I, or a member of my staff, personally inspected the above mentioned property and produced the attached itemized list of repairs, reconstruction and/or remodeling list which are hereby submitted for a Substantial Damage/Improvement Review. These damages/improvements are All of the Damages/Improvements sustained by this structure, and all additions, improvements, or repairs proposed on the subject building are included in this estimate.
I understand that I am subject to enforcement and penalties for violation action and/or fines if the inspection of the property reveals that I have made repairs or improvements Not Included on the Attached List of Repairs/Improvement to This Structure or any non-conforming or illegal structures/additions, or repairs is included to the existing structure without having presented plans for such additions. I understand that any permit, issued by the City of Cape Coral, pursuant to this affidavit does not authorize the reconstruction, repair or maintenance of any illegal additions, fences, sheds or non-conforming uses or structures on the subject property.
See attached itemized list:
Total labor and materials: $ _____________________
Overhead & profit: $ _____________________
Total cost: $ _____________________
State of ____________________
County of _____________________________
Before me this day personally appeared ______________________________ ;
who, being duly sworn, deposes and says that he/she has read, understands, and agrees to comply with the aforementioned conditions.
Signatures: Contractor: __________________________________Date: ________________
Sworn to and subscribed before me this ______ day of ______ A.D., _________
Notary Public: __________________________State of ____________________
My commission expires: ______________
Estimated Cost of Reconstruction/ Improvement Folio #: __________________________________________________________
This Cost Estimate of Reconstruction/Improvement must be prepared and signed by a Licensed G. Contractor
Items CostRatioOfficial Use
Labor & Materials of Work *
Concrete, form work, etc.
Carpentry materials (rough)
Carpentry labor (rough)
Insulation and weather strip
Doors, windows and shutters
Carpentry labor (finish)
Floor covering (tile/carpet)
Demolition and removal
Overhead and profit
Note: attach any additional information as required* Ratio of work is the percentage (%) of reconstruction verses repair as applicable