Build Responsibly

Make informed choices when you renovate or build a new home.

Flooding and construction

Living in a floodplain carries with it risk that we can, to some extent, prepare for. If you’re rebuilding, repairing, adding to your home or if you’re constructing a new building, consider your property’s flood risk as part of the construction process. Utilizing resilient construction techniques will save you money in the long run and help to keep your household safe.

All building development that occurs in Ocean City is subject to our building permit process by state law. Before commencing a building project, contact the Engineering Department to determine what the specific requirements are for proposed repairs, reconstructions, or additions.

Applicable laws

In general, we have several regulations in place to reduce flood risk for present and future construction projects. They are outlined in our Flood Damage Prevention Ordinance.

Something to note is the City's substantial damage requirements. Substantial damage refers to damage of any origin sustained by a structure in which the cost of restoration of the structure to its condition before damage would equal or exceed 50 percent of the market value of the structure before the damage occurred. If the repairs and upgrades that you have made or plan to make to your home exceed 50% of the value of the home, you are required to bring your home into compliance with Ocean City's Flood Damage Prevention Ordinance which could include raising your home, depending on the current elevation of the structure.

The following items shall be included in the repair/upgrade costs:

  • All structural elements (spread or continuous foundation footings and pilings, monolithic or other types of concrete slabs, bearing walls, tie beams, trusses, floors, and ceilings)
  • attached decks and porches
  • interior partition walls
  • exterior wall finishes (brick, stucco, siding, painting, and moldings)
  • windows
  • doors
  • reshingling or retiling a roof
  • hardware
  • interior finishes (tiling, linoleum, stone, carpet over subflooring, drywall, painting, stucco, plaster, paneling, marble)
  • bathroom tile and fixtures
  • kitchen cabinets
  • bathroom cabinets
  • utility cabinets
  • all utility and service equipment (HVAC equipment, plumbing and electrical services, light fixtures, ceiling fans, security systems, built in kitchen appliances, central vacuum systems, water filtration-conditioning-recirculation systems)
  • demolition costs for storm damaged building components
  • labor and other associated costs associated with moving or altering undamaged building components to accommodate improvements or additions, overhead and profits

Items excluded from the repair/upgrade costs:

  • plans and specifications
  • survey costs
  • permit fees
  • post-storm debris removal and clean up
  • landscaping
  • sidewalk
  • fences
  • yard lights
  • swimming pools
  • screened pool enclosures
  • detached structures (garages, sheds, and gazebos)
  • irrigation systems

Home elevations

You are required to elevate and/or meet new construction standards if your house is located in a flood zone and was declared substantially damaged by your local floodplain administrator or is new construction. You have no legal obligation to elevate if your home was not substantially damaged, but you might still consider it as an option to limit your risk. Depending on the characteristics of your property, elevating might help to lower your flood insurance premiums. If you're planning on elevating your home and don't know where to start, consult with a licensed professional (surveyor, engineer or architect) to create the plans for the elevation and start the permitting process. Using a licensed professional that is familiar with the process of home elevation can help to insure the permit process is handled accurately and in a timely manner. Licensed home elevation specialists and professionals can be found by visiting the State of New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs (NJDCA) website.

NJDCA has a useful handout to help guide you. You can find it here. Additionally, you can find the forms required for zoning permits here.

Build Responsibly

Have questions?

If you would like to learn more about topics like flood insurance, local flood hazards, or historic floods, we’re here to help. Reach out to speak with your local floodplain expert.

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