The buoyant foundations, senior-design project at LSU has focused a spotlight on this technique. Buoyant foundations are not a legal alternative to elevation in flood hazard areas, and specifically violate the flood and wind anchoring requirements of the buidling code and/or flood ordinance. Homeowners should not pin their hopes on adopting this technique for building, rebuilding or restoring homes.
Extensive damage from Hurricanes Katrina, Rita, Gustav, and Ike has caused many homeowners to build at higher elevations above ground, or to raise their existing homes to safer heights. Many people have, or will, turn to elevators, platform lifts or other mechanical systems as their primary means of accessing the elevated floor.
Experience has shown in inland areas floods damage areas of buildings not elevated above the flood level and destroy contents of those areas. In coastal areas, wave action causes even more damage. The NFIP requires participating communities to adopt a floodplain management ordinance that specifies minimum requirements for reducing flood losses. SOURCE: Home Builder's Guide to Coastal Construction Technical Fact Sheet Series (FEMA 499) Technical Fact Sheet 4.
The 2005 and 2008 hurricane seasons left thousands of south Louisiana homeowners with a need to build homes with the floor above ground or to elevate their existing homes to safer heights. Stairs, or even ramps, are not the optimal solution for accessing the raised floor; they can pose a problem for the disabled, aging and many others.
New homes in floodprone areas are protected from flood damage by building them so the living space is above expected flood levels. Learn more about elevated foundations and development regulations.