Where can I get more information regarding Substantial Improvement/Substantial Damage (the 50% rule)?

For more detailed information about SI/SD, please see the following FEMA publications:

Substantial Improvement and Substantial Damage Desk Reference:

Questions about Substantial Improvement / Substantial Damage:

If your structure is located in the Special Flood Hazard Area (SFHA) and is not flood compliant, meaning that the lowest floor elevation of the structure is below the base flood elevation plus 1 foot of freeboard elevation (BFE + 1’), the Town of Fort Myers Beach (the Town) has flood damage prevention regulations that may affect how you remodel, renovate, or add on to your building.

The NFIP (National Flood Insurance Program) requires that any structure located in the SFHA (flood zones beginning with A and V) where the cost of proposed improvements or repairs equals or exceeds 50% of the value of the structure must be brought into full compliance with current flood damage prevention regulations.

After submitting the two inspection reports and applying for a building permit, the contractors and design professionals associated with the permit must be registered with the Town of Fort Myers Beach. Note that any person engaging in contracting services in the State of Florida must be currently registered, certified, or possess a certificate of authority through the Department of Business and Professional Regulation (DBPR). Under section 489.127 Florida Statutes, anyone providing unlicensed contracting services during a state of emergency commits a felony of the third degree. 

Due to structures throughout the Town of Fort Myers Beach being located in the special flood hazard area, the FEMA “50% Rule” for substantial improvement or substantial damage will continue to be enforced during plan review. Please consult with your design professional to determine whether this rule will impact the design of your construction project.

Show All Answers

1. Am I in the jurisdiction of the Town of Fort Myers Beach if I have a Fort Myers Beach U.S. postal service address?
2. How long is my permit good for?
3. When is a permit required?
4. What happens if I choose not to obtain the required permits?
5. How do I submit my paperwork for a rebuild and obtain an issued permit?
6. Glass windows and doors--what is the requirement for replacement of windows and doors? Is there a requirement for a certain level of "hurricane" glass?
7. Where can I find the forms to submit a building permit application?
8. What is the current review period for building permits and how do I contact my reviewer?
9. PERMITS GENERAL (category)
10. What are the requirements for a site plan?
11. Which permit do I get for a temporary power pole?
12. Where can I send my general building permit questions? (i.e. fence, remodel, single family home, etc.)
13. How do I extend my permit that is issued but about to expire?
14. How much do permits cost?
15. How do I pay for my building permit?
16. Do I need a permit to Erect/ Replace a fence?
17. How do I check the status of an existing building permit?
18. How can I respond to a rejection letter that I received from one of the reviewers about my building permit application?
19. How can I submit my building permit application paperwork?
20. What happens if my permit expires?
21. What is a Notice of Commencement (NOC), do I need to file one, and how do file my NOC?
22. Should we get this far, what is the anticipated time frame for obtaining a building permit?
23. Are you currently issuing permits for repair of hurricane damaged homes, or will there be a delay before you begin to issue permits?
24. How close can a pool enclosure/pool be to a seawall?
25. Do I need a permit for a deck?
26. Do I need a permit for a Chickee hut?
27. Only drywall, baseboards, cabinets and finished flooring was damaged in our home. Do I need a building permit and repair/improvement cost form to repair these damages?
28. APPRAISALS (category)
29. Given that the appraisal is higher than the tax assessed value, will this trigger a requirement for a second appraisal?
30. Will an AVM "appraisal" be an accepted alternative appraisal method?
31. CONDOS (category)
32. What do I need if I live in a condo and want to replace my windows?
33. The bottom level of our building was severely damaged by the hurricane. Can ground level areas be rebuilt?
34. What is needed for minor Condo Renovations?
35. CODE (category)
36. How close can you get to a non-seawalled natural body of water (Rip Rap)?
37. What are the code requirements for construction in Fort Myers Beach?
38. What are the rules for swimming pool barriers in Florida and what are my responsibilities as a property owner?
39. CONTRACTORS (category)
40. Does the town have a list of registered contractors?
41. Do I need a contractor? What does it mean to be an "owner builder?"
42. Can you recommend an engineer/architect/contractor?
43. How does a contractor get registered with the Town of Fort Myers Beach?
44. DEMOLITION (category)
45. I’ve decided to demolish my building as it was substantially damaged. Will the city be removing my home?
46. How do I acquire a demolition permit?
47. I’ve decided to demolish my home. What is my next step?
48. ELEVATION (category)
49. Where do I find the elevation of my home?
50. Is it possible to elevate my existing building?
51. What is the “lowest floor” of a building and what is the elevation reference point which must be elevated above the minimum elevation?