Topic Question
Federal Flood Risk Management Standard

What is the FFRMS Floodplain?

The FFRMS was established in 2016 through Executive Order (E.O.) 13690, Establishing a Federal Flood Risk Management Standard and a Process for Further Soliciting and Considering Stakeholder Input. The FFRMS floodplain is based on future flood risk and expands the 100-year floodplain both vertically (based on projections of increased flood height) and horizontally, by including the horizontal area impacted by a vertical increase in flood waters. The area is defined by using one of three approaches known as the...
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Federal Flood Risk Management Standard

When does this regulatory change take effect?

The rule has an effective date 30 days from publication in the Federal Register, however for most programs, compliance is delayed until 60 days after publication, with some exceptions. Compliance with the rule’s amendments to the Part 200 Minimum Property Standards for SFH FHA will be required no later than...
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Federal Flood Risk Management Standard

What is the difference between a Critical Action and a Non-Critical Action under this Rule?

Critical actions are defined in § 55.2(b)(3)(i) as any activity for which even a slight risk of flooding would be too great, because such flooding might result in loss of life, injury to persons, or damage to property. These activities have been found to require additional resilience beyond the typical HUD project due to the severe consequences that can result from flooding. Critical actions include police stations, fire stations, roads providing sole egress from flood-prone areas, hospitals, and nursing homes, but not independent living for the elderly. Critical actions will generally require a higher elevation standard.

Federal Flood Risk Management Standard
Federal Flood Risk Management Standard

Where is the Federal CISA tool located and what is it called?

The current Federal CISA tool is called the Federal Flood Standard Support Tool (FFSST) and is housed at https://floodstandard.climate.gov/. The FFSST is a resource to assist federal agencies, their non-federal partners, and grantees in the floodplain review. It provides a methodology and tool to identify if a federally funded project is located in the FFRMS floodplain (step 1 of the 8-step process). This website also provides information to inform other parts of the 8-step process, including background and resources for the incorporation of natural systems, ecosystem processes, and nature-based approaches when developing alternatives to federal actions.

Federal Flood Risk Management Standard
Federal Flood Risk Management Standard

Will this rule save money?

Yes. Over a 40-year period, HUD estimates the net aggregate benefits from implementing the rule will total between $56.4 million and $324.3 million per annual construction cohort. This means that each year’s construction season will reap benefits within this range, increasing in savings with each subsequent construction season.

Federal Flood Risk Management Standard
Federal Flood Risk Management Standard

Will this rule negatively impact housing affordability?

This rule could increase the up-front cost of new construction but is not expected to have an overall detrimental effect on availability of affordable housing. The costs associated with increased elevation are marginal for new construction projects. HUD estimates that the elevation cost for multifamily housing is under 1.4% additional cost per unit to build to BFE+2 ($80-$1,415 per unit) and between 0.5% and 5.7% additional cost per unit to build to BFE+4 ($459-$5,676 per unit) in the...
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Federal Flood Risk Management Standard

How will this rule affect FHA Programs?

The rule affects FHA programs in different ways. All FHA Multifamily programs are subject to part 55 and are subject to the rule (unless program activities are categorically excluded per 24 CFR 50.19). For example, under the rule, new construction and substantial improvement of 221(d)(4) Multifamily projects are required to elevate (or floodproof, where applicable) new construction and substantial improvement projects...
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Federal Flood Risk Management Standard

I’m buying a house with an FHA-insured mortgage; does this rule mean I have to elevate the house?

For an existing single-family home that has been previously occupied or that is beyond 12 months from the issuance the home’s certificate of occupancy, the home will not have to be elevated for a homebuyer to be able to purchase using an FHA-insured mortgage. For a new home that has not been previously occupied or is less than twelve months from the issuance of the home’s certificate of occupancy, the home is required to meet the new FHA Minimum...
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Federal Flood Risk Management Standard

Does this rule change HUD’s environmental review requirements?

Generally, this rule has minor administrative impacts on a typical environmental review of a HUD project. Because this rule builds on an existing framework and review processes, it is not expected to significantly extend the time required to complete an environmental review of a HUD project.

Federal Flood Risk Management Standard
Federal Flood Risk Management Standard

Does the floodplain expand horizontally?

For Part 55 compliance, the rule expands the floodplain of concern both vertically (based on projections of increased flood height) and horizontally, by enlarging the horizontal area impacted by a vertical increase of flood waters. This area is now defined as the “FFRMS floodplain.” Higher elevated flood water will result in a larger horizontal floodplain as illustrated...
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Federal Flood Risk Management Standard

How will a HUD grantee or applicant know if a project is within the larger FFRMS floodplain?

Section § 55.7 of the rule provides grantees and applicants a clear process for determining if a project is within the FFRMS floodplain, for both critical and non-critical actions. This process provides grantees and applicants predictability in determining the floodplain, as well as flexibility in allowing them to utilize information from a variety of sources when climate-informed science information is unavailable for their project.

Federal Flood Risk Management Standard
Federal Flood Risk Management Standard

When is floodproofing allowable in place of elevation as a compliant mitigation measure?

Floodproofing is defined as any combination of structural or non-structural additions, changes, or adjustments to structures which reduce or eliminate flood damage to real estate or improved real property, water and sanitary facilities, structures and their contents. Under this rule, non-critical actions that are non-residential structures or multifamily residential structures that have no residential dwelling units below the FFRMS floodplain may floodproof the structure as an alternative to elevating it above the FFRMS floodplain. Floodproofing must conform with FEMA’s floodproofing regulations at 44 CFR 60.3(c)(3)(ii) and 60.3(c)(4)(i).

Federal Flood Risk Management Standard
Federal Flood Risk Management Standard

Does this rule change the standard for new construction?

HUD significantly expanded step 5 of the 8-step process in § 55.20(e) to implement FFRMS. Section 55.20(e) of the rule provides that, in addition to the current mitigation and risk reduction requirements, all new construction and substantial improvement actions in the FFRMS floodplain subject to the 8-step process must be elevated or, in certain cases, floodproofed to or above the FFRMS floodplain.

Federal Flood Risk Management Standard
Federal Flood Risk Management Standard

Where can I go for more information on FFRMS?

Additional information on HUD’s rules and regulations can be found on the HUD Exchange. This includes links to resources from other agencies that may be helpful to better understand floodplain and wetland management....
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Federal Flood Risk Management Standard

Will HUD’s Environmental Review Online System be updated to reflect the new rule?

HUD Environmental Review Online System (HEROS) will be updated with new floodplain and wetland compliance screens in order to comply with the new requirements in the rule. HUD intends for these system updates to go live in time to meet the compliance date 60 days after publication of the rule in the Federal Register.

Federal Flood Risk Management Standard

 
 

Content current as of April 23, 2024.