Floodproofing is one way to minimize property loss due to floods. Floodproofing may involve building walls or levees, elevating or moving structures, or sealing the structure.
Pinellas County enforces specific building regulations to protect people and buildings from flooding while maintaining natural floodplain functions.
Building new construction above the Base Flood Elevation is cost effective and Pinellas County requires that new or substantially improved buildings be built at least 1 foot above the base flood elevation. Building above that may discount your flood insurance premiums even more. Find out what the Base Flood and Design Flood Elevations are BEFORE you develop your plans.
Substantial Improvement, Substantial Damage
and the “50% Rule”:
Understand the long-term costs and benefits when considering your options for repairing, rebuilding, or relocating.
- Substantial Damage - occurs when the cost of restoring the structure to the condition before the damage 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, including labor.)
- Substantial Improvement - any reconstruction, rehabilitation, addition, or other improvement of a structure, for which the cost of equals or exceeds 50 percent of the market value of the structure before the "start of construction" of the improvement.
This term includes structures which have incurred "substantial damage," regardless of the actual repair work performed. The term does not, however, include either:
- Any project for improvement of a structure to correct existing violations of state or local health, sanitary, or safety code specifications which have been identified by the local code enforcement official and which are the minimum necessary to assure safe living conditions; or
- Any alterations of a "historic structure," provided that the alteration will not preclude the structure's continued designation as a "historic structure.
- Required permit
If you see illegal development in the floodplains, please report the issue.
Protecting your property from flooding can involve a variety of actions:
- Following building requirements
- Elevate your utilities
- Build with flood resistant materials
- Raise electrical system components
- Install sewer backflow valves
- Keep lawn waste and trash out of storm drains and waterways
Floodproofing is one way to minimize property loss due to floods. Floodproofing may involve building walls or levees, elevating or moving structures and sealing structures.
Most of these actions, especially those that affect the structure of your building or their utility systems, should be carried out by qualified maintenance staff or licensed contractors. One example of flood protection is using flood-resistant construction materials. Please make sure to check with your insurance provider prior to making any modifications to your property and verify any reductions in premiums that may result from your proposed modifications.
Pinellas County Flood Information Services can provide you with information on techniques to reduce property loss and provide guidance on reducing your property’s vulnerability to flood damage. Call (727) 464-7700 for more information.
Did You Know?
Contact Pinellas County Flood Information Services at
Remember... "Only Rain Down the Drain" will prevent flooding from clogged storm drains and waterways. Surface water runoff is affected by natural and man made features and is channeled through inlets and pipes, swales, ditches, ponds and lakes, ultimately flowing into the surrounding bays and the Gulf of Mexico.
Maintenance of these drainage features is important since debris obstructs the flow of water causing street and yard flooding, as well as possible damage to homes and structures. To achieve the best flow capacity, the Pinellas County Public Works performs scheduled inspections and maintenance of major drainage systems that include removal of high weeds, clippings, branches or other debris.
It is illegal to dump unauthorized chemical, sediment or waste materials into storm sewer systems, streams or bays in Pinellas County.
- Pinellas County Land Development Code - Chapter 158-Floodplain Mgnt.
- Protecting Your Home And Property From Flood Damage Mitigation Ideas For Reducing Flood Loss
- Protecting Manufactured Homes from Floods and Other Hazards A Multi-Hazard Foundation and Installation Guide
- Homeowner’s Guide to Retrofitting
- Openings in Foundation Walls and Walls of Enclosures
- Above the Flood: Elevating Your Floodprone House
- Reducing Flood Risk to Residential Buildings That Cannot Be Elevated