The city of Scottsdale participates in the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), which is administered by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). As a participant of the NFIP, the city must adhere to FEMA requirements for new construction within flood zones. Part of the requirements relate to substantial improvements and substantial damages to existing buildings. These requirements sometimes become challenging for existing structures located within a Special Flood Hazard Area (SFHA).


For existing buildings proposed to be remodeled, renovated, rehabilitated, added to, or in any way improved, proposed modifications or additions must be evaluated by City staff to determine whether they constitute a “substantial improvement”. If the total costs of improvement are equal to or exceed 50% of the market value of the existing structure before any improvements, the building must come into compliance with the NFIP standards. “Total costs” mean all structural costs, as well as all finished materials, built-in appliances, and hardware, in addition to profit and overhead Land and exterior improvements, such as accessory structures, landscaping, paving, fencing, etc., are excluded.


Damaged residential buildings must elevate their lowest floor to one foot above the base (100-year) flood elevation if damaged by any cause for which repair costs are equal to or exceed 50% of the market value of the existing structure before any damages occurred. The cause of damage could be flood, fire, earthquake, wind or manmade. This applies to all Residential and non-Residential buildings located in a designated Special Flood Hazard Area(SFHA), regardless of whether the building has flood insurance coverage. Owners of non-residential buildings have the option of raising their lowest floor or providing flood proofing. The costs to repair must be calculated for full repair to “before-damage” condition, even if the owner elects to do less. The total costs of repair must include both structural and finished material and labor.

Please refer to the city’s:

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