All development in the City of Corpus Christi requires a permit. The City’s ordinances and building codes guide and regulate construction. Without these provisions, flood insurance through the National Flood Plain Insurance Program (NFIP) would not be available. Any development without a permit is illegal and should be reported to Development Services Office at (361) 826-3240.
BUILDING IN A FLOOD ZONE
When you are building a brand new home, it is crucial to ensure you are fully prepared for and informed about the additional safeguards required to protect your family and your property from devastating flood loss. We cannot prevent a flood, but we can be proactive and reduce the damage flooding caused by retrofitting existing buildings and requiring that new buildings meet the City standards and FEMA guidelines.
Requirements for new construction and substantial improvements in an SFHA (Zone A and V):
- The finished floor must be elevated to at or above base flood elevation plus one foot (Example: The base flood elevation as shown on the Flood Insurance Rate Map is 8’ which would make the development requirement at or above 9’);
- Must be designed (or modified) and adequately anchored to prevent flotation, collapse, or
- Lateral movement of the structure resulting from hydrodynamic and hydrostatic loads;
- Must be constructed by methods and practices that minimize flood damage;
- Must be made with materials resistant to flood damage;
- Must be made with electrical, heating, ventilation, plumbing, and air-conditioning
- Equipment and other service facilities that are designed and located to prevent water from entering or accumulating within the components during conditions of flooding; Water supply systems must be designed to minimize or eliminate the infiltration of floodwaters into the system.
The Floodplain Management Division (FMD) is available to make site visits to review flooding issues, drainage and sewer problems, and provide one-on-one advice to property owners pertaining to development, renovation, and flood protection measures for your structure.
ADDITIONAL ZONE-SPECIFIC REQUIREMENTS
- Fill is allowed.
- The garage can be located below BFE if properly vented.
- Fill is prohibited
- Structures must be elevated using piers, pilings, or columns
- Areas below BFE must be used solely for parking, access, or storage and must be constructed with breakaway walls
- A V Zone Design Certificate must be submitted before permit issuance. The certificate must be certified by a registered professional engineer or architect that the design and planned construction methods meet NFIP requirements.
A non-conversion agreement* must be submitted after building final and before Certificate of Occupancy is issued for new construction, including additions, permits with or without a proposed enclosure.
*A non-conversion agreement for new construction, including additions, with or without an enclosure below base flood elevation, is an agreement that the enclosed space will not be converted to a habitable living space. The area must remain solely used for parking, access, or storage.
Development in a Floodway
The Floodway is an extremely hazardous area due to the velocity of floodwaters which carry debris, potential projectiles, and erosion potential, the following provisions shall apply:
- Encroachments are prohibited, including fill, new construction, substantial improvements, and other development within the adopted regulatory floodway unless a hydrologic and hydraulic analysis verifies that the proposed development would not result in an increase in flood levels within the community during the occurrence of the base flood discharge.
- If a Hydrologic and hydraulic analysis verifies zero rise, all new construction and substantial improvements must comply with all applicable flood hazard reduction provisions of Chapter 14 Article V of the City Code of Ordinances.
When any new construction, substantial improvement, or repair for a substantially damaged building is conducted in the Special Flood Hazard Area (SFHA) within the City of Corpus Christi or incorporated areas, an Elevation Certificate is required.
- A final Construction Elevation certificate is required prior to the Certificate of Occupancy.
- FF-086-0-33 Elevation Certificate and Instructions, 2015 Edition (fema.gov)
SUBSTANTIAL IMPROVEMENT & SUBSTANTIAL DAMAGE
Communities that participate in the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), Substantial damage/improvement determinations are required by local floodplain-management ordinances. These rules must be in place for residents of a community to purchase flood insurance through the NFIP.
What is Substantial Damage?
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 percent of the market value of the structure before the damage occurred. (Note: The cost of the repairs must include all costs necessary to fully repair the structure to its “before damage” condition, regardless of the amount of work actually done.)
What is Substantial Improvement?
Any reconstruction, rehabilitation, addition, or other improvement of a structure, the cost of which equals or exceeds 50 percent of the market value of the structure before start of construction of the improvement.
What is the FEMA 50% rule?
The City of Corpus Christ participates in the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) making affordable flood insurance available for structures within its jurisdiction through FEMA. The FEMA 50% Rule is a requirement for participation in this program. It limits the cost of repairs to non-conforming structures to less than 50% of the “Market Value” of the structure prior to the Flood. If your home is below the FEMA required flood elevation, the City of Corpus Christi has flood damage prevention regulations that will affect repair your home.
What if the cost of repair exceeds 50% of the market value?
If a building is ‘substantially damaged’ or ‘substantially improved’, it must be brought into compliance with the City of Corpus Christi floodplain regulations, which may include elevating the building to or above the 100-year flood elevation. Likewise, all electrical and mechanical equipment, bathrooms, and laundry rooms would need to be elevated.
Only parking, building access and storage is allowed below the flood level.
How is ‘market value’ determined?
Corpus Christi Floodplain Management Division (FMD) will use the assessed value of your structure recorded by the Nueces County Appraisal District plus the recommended adjustment factor. Only the value of the structure is pertinent, the value of the site improvements such as pools, accessory structures, fences, landscaping, docks, etc. are not included. If you disagree with the Nueces County Appraisal District's valuation of the structure, you may engage a State of Texas licensed property appraiser to submit a comparable property appraisal for the pre-flood market value of the structure. The appraised value of the structure less the value of all forms of depreciation is the ‘market value’.
When do I need to submit a Repair Cost Form?
When a structure is non-conforming, you must provide an estimate of the cost to perform the proposed improvements or repairs if your building has been damaged. The cost estimate must include all work required to repair the building to its pre-damage condition. The cost estimate must include all labor and materials. If the work will be done by a contractor, the contractor’s overhead and profit must be included. If the work will be done by the owner or volunteers, market rates must be used to estimate the cost of materials and the value of labor. Attached to this notice is a list of costs that must be included and costs that are excluded.
Where do I get an elevation certificate?
Your Insurance Company, Mortgage Company or City of Corpus Christi Floodplain Management Division may have one on file. If you cannot find an existing Elevation Certificate a State Licensed Surveyor or Engineer can be hired to produce one.
Who can I contact for more information?
Development is prohibited within a regulatory floodway unless you can show “no-rise” and “no adverse impact.”
The entire Flood Hazard Prevention Code, which contains requirements for specific standards, subdivision proposals, floodways and coastal high hazard areas, can be found in the City's Municode, Chapter 14, Article V.