Property Protection Projects (retrofitting, drainage, protecting against high wind, etc.), and Substantial Improvement / Damage

In some cases, retrofitting existing buildings or regrading a yard can help reduce the potential for flood damage to structures and their contents. Retrofitting techniques include elevating buildings above flood levels, wet or dry floodproofing (commercial structures only), and installing backflow preventers to protect floors and contents from sewer backups. A building permit may be required for retrofitting and structural projects.

There are also temporary measures that can help to protect your property during a flood event. You can plan ahead about where and how you will move furniture out of harm’s way; keep materials like sandbags, plywood, plastic sheeting and lumber handy for emergency waterproofing; and clear brush and debris away from storm drains and ditches so water can drain away from the structure.

The following guides contain more information on protecting your property:

  • “Residential Drainage: A Homeowner’s Guide to Drainage Problems and Solutions” available from Prince George’s County. This free guide can be obtained by calling Paul DeSousa at (301) 883-5871 or (301) 883-5832
  • Homeowner’s Guide to Retrofitting: Six Ways to Protect Your House from Flooding” (FEMA Publication #312), includes information on protecting a structure from flooding and information about available financial assistance. This free guide can be obtained by calling 1-800-480-2520 or online.

For additional questions about these types of projects, or for information on permitting, please contact the Prince George’s County Department of Environmental Resources at (301) 883-5776.

Substantial Improvements

Homeowners who are planning substantial improvements to their structure should contact the Permits and Review Division for a residential building permit. Elevating or floodproofing may be required if you plan to substantially improve your existing structure (the cost of the improvement or add-on is up to 50% of the value of the existing structure).

If your property is substantially damaged by a flood (50% of the value of the building), Federal regulations may require you to elevate or floodproof before you can rebuild. The document titled “Answers to Questions about Substantially Damaged Buildings” (FEMA-213, May 1991) will help answer questions on this topic and can be obtained free by calling 1-800-480-2520 or by going online to http://www.fema.gov/library/viewRecord.do?id=1636

For additional questions about substantial improvements, or for information on permitting, please contact Paul DeSousa at (301) 883-5871.

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