Development may take place within the SFHA if it complies with local floodplain ordinances, which must meet Federal requirements. Communities participating in the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) must at least require that new construction or substantial improvements of residential structures in the SFHA be elevated so that the lowest floor (including the basement) is at or above the Base (1-%-annual-chance) Flood Elevation. A community in the NFIP must also require permits for all new development in the SFHA and ensure that the construction materials and methods will minimize future flood damage. Permit files must document how buildings were actually constructed.
The floodplain management requirements for the SFHA are designed to prevent new development from increasing the flood threat and to protect new and existing buildings from anticipated flood events. FEMA works closely with states and local communities to identify flood hazard areas and risks. When a community joins the NFIP, it agrees to adopt the required floodplain management regulations and to ensure that its enforcement procedures meet NFIP requirements. In return, the Federal Government makes flood insurance available for almost every building and its contents within the community.
Please note that communities are encouraged to adopt higher standards than those of the NFIP. Check with your local officials for information regarding your community's specific floodplain development standards, which may include further limits on development in the SFHA.