Nonstructural Floodproofing


Provide homeowners, business owners and government entities responsible for providing services during flood events the educational information necessary to assist in the reduction of risk during future floods.


This ASFPM committee advocates for the implementation of nonstructural measures to reduce flood risk, decrease flood damage and to eliminate life-loss. The purpose and intent of this committee is to educate residents, as well as local, regional and state governments on the effectiveness of reducing flood risk through engineered application of nonstructural measures.

Nonstructural Flood Proofing Committee Contacts

Manny Perotin, P.E., CFM
CDM Smith813-262-8853
Randall Behm, P.E., CFM
USACE (retired)402-995-2531

Committee Information

Nonstructural Measures Defined: Those physical and nonphysical measures, which when applied to structures identified as being vulnerable to flooding, or those measures incorporated as programmatic floodplain management actions, result in a reduction in life loss and property damage. These measures generally cause no adverse changes to flood stages, velocities, flood duration or the environment in which the measures are implemented. The most common nonstructural measures are:

Physical Nonstructural Measures

Acquisition: removal of the entire at-risk structure(s) from the floodplain.

Relocation: the physical removal and preservation of the at-risk structure(s) to a location outside of the floodplain.

Elevation: raising the first floor and associated ductwork of an existing structure(s) to an elevation which is at or greater than the identified flood stage.

Basement/Crawlspace Abandonment: the removal of the basement/crawlspace by filling, while relocating vulnerable utilities/appliances to an addition or to a higher elevation within the existing structure.

Wet Flood Proofing: through the use of water resistant materials, allow floodwaters to enter the lower elevation of a structure without resulting in property damage.

Dry Flood Proofing: typically relegated to nonresidential structures, this measure utilizes flood resistant materials to create an impenetrable barrier to prevent floodwaters from entering the structure.

Non-physical Nonstructural Measures

Land Use and Zoning: regulations that prohibit the development or placement of potentially vulnerable structures within the floodplain.

Floodplain Mapping: the illustrative identification of flood risk through the portrayal of flood boundaries or inundation depths.

Flood Insurance: the opportunity for homeowners, business owners and renters in participating NFIP communities, to purchase federally-backed insurance coverage for flooding.

Emergency Action Plans: a detailed document which identifies flood hazards, risks and vulnerabilities, and encourages the development of local mitigation. The plan should identify the specific roles and responsibilities of officials for responding to a flood event.

Flood Warning and Evacuation Planning: the identification of at-risk population and the development of public alerts, evacuation routing and reunification centers.

Floodproofing: What it is, and how we approach it as a committee
Floodproofing, for purposes of this committee’s work, includes methods that protect buildings from flood damage,

  • for new construction and substantial improvements, by incorporating flood resistant design and materials, and
  • for retrofitting, altering the building or property so as to prevent or reduce exposure to floodwater or reduce damage caused by the entry of floodwater

In general we deal with methods that would be credited under Activity 530 (1999 edition) of the Community Rating System (for retrofit) and with methods that would be considered as making new buildings compliant with NFIP development standards.

We approach floodproofing from every angle: technical, tools, policy, and education.

Successful application of floodproofing requires knowledge of

  • Techniques and materials
  • Code requirements
  • Engineering Design
  • Certification (for elevation and non-residential dry floodproofing)
  • Accurate risk estimation (mapping)

Floodproofing, and the degree to which it is employed, is also affected by

  • Policy that facilitates, encourages and rewards floodproofing
  • Availability of funding and/or financing
  • Inspiration (access to completed floodproofing installations)
  • Justification (quantification of damages avoided)
Flood Protection Product Testing and Certification
The Non-Structural Floodproofing Committee and ASFPM staff have been working with the U. S. Army Corps of Engineers’ National Non-Structural Flood Proofing Committee (which will do the barrier testing), and Underwriters Laboratories (UL, our potential certifying body) to establish a testing/certification program for temporary flood barriers. Significant work began at the 2002 National Floodproofing Conference, in Tampa, when representatives of the United Kingdom sought assistance with establishing a similar certification program in their country.

In spring 2005, UL agreed to conduct a Fact-Finding Investigation (FFI), in which they observed the Corps tests of a few products before committing to developing a certification program for temporary barriers. UL also identified procedures and tests of materials that it would require as part of a proposed certification program. ASFPM, UL and the Corps have developed the necessary contracts and have one product being tested in this system in the fall of 2006, with a second manufacturer having expressed interest. Much of the progress that was made between 2004 and 2006 should be credited to P.J. de Sousa Costa of FloodMaster Barriers, who chaired a subcommittee of flood protection products and services subcommittee of the FP/R committee during that time. Management of the project for ASFPM transferred from the committee to ASFPM Executive Office in fall, 2005.

During the course of these developments, FM Approvals (a division of FM Global, formerly known as Factory Mutual insurance) developed an approval system for recognizing temporary barriers as flood abatement equipment for their insureds. The Corps facility in Vicksburg, which will be used in the ASFPM/UL program has been identified as a test facility for FM approval, also. FM Approvals distributed its “FM Approval Standard 2510, Flood Abatement Equipment, Temporary Perimeter Flood Barriers, RE: Product testing” for comment at the ASFPM meeting in Albuquerque, June 2006.

Current test protocols are for self-supporting, temporary barriers. The laboratory set-up can be adapted easily to allow for testing panel closures and demountable barriers. We anticipate that testing of these additional flood protection products will develop in the not too distant future.

National Flood Barrier Testing and Certification Program