Flood Plains and Education

After Hurricane Katrina destroyed much of New Orleans by flooding (remember, most of the city is below sea level), my then 11 year old daughter had a brilliant insight, “Instead of rebuilding, why don’t they move everyone to Wyoming”?

Even though it may have been a less costly solution, the reality is, not everyone can just pack up and move. To Wyoming.

Which reminds me of another more recent story….

Below are excerpts of a dialogue between Rachel (one of the Hansen Pole Buildings Designers), myself, and a client:

Client to Rachel: “ Kane County has a problem with you building in flood plains. Thanks for the quote. We are going with a steel structure.”

Rachel to me: “Have you heard of this?  So they are able to build steel in a flood zone?  Wouldn’t there be issues with that?”

Me to Rachel: “I would like a copy of whatever ordinance they are trying to hang their hat on. Call Kane county and ask.”

Rachel to me: “Spoke with Kane County and the nice man there said they can use a pole framed building.  The only restriction is they would need to have material that is structurally sound and flood resistant.”

How the client got the idea pole buildings cannot be used in flood plains, in Kane County, is beyond me. It could have been a poor communication between the Planning/Building Department and the client. It is also very possible an all steel building company gave the client the idea their solution was the only solution.

flood ventIn all actuality pole buildings probably adapt far more to being constructed within flood plains than most other forms of construction, and the solution is certainly more economical. By using Code approved flood vents, in the proper number, a pole building can be affordably designed for construction and use in flood zones.

How do I know this?  We’ve done them – many times, easily meeting various county codes including flood plains requirements, and satisfying the county approving a permit.  When the buildings were constructed, they were signed off as “A-OK”.  Make sure you ask the building department – don’t rely on a vendor giving you possibly false information.

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