top of page

Building Codes

Building codes refer to restrictions and resilience requirements that developers and contractors must meet when building new developments or redeveloping a property.

Potential Policy Areas

Santa Clara Collaborative simple logo

Building Codes and Ordinances

Building codes, implemented through City ordinances, regulate new structures and can help developments withstand flooding.

Benefits & Function

Effective use of building codes can reduce future risk of flood damage and sea level rise impacts. Buildings will also be better suited for extreme weather events. In the long run, these policies will save money by increasing property value, decreasing risks, and increasing insurance coverage.


When elevating structures on fill or piles it is efficient to elevate smaller, shorter structures rather than taller ones. In seismically active zones, certain buildings will not be able to be raised. Elevating buildings is considered a short term solution. When flood proofing, maintenance is required every few years due to leaks. Green facades may only work on structurally secure buildings.

Uses for Policy

New development, redevelopments

Santa Clara Collaborative simple logo

Rebuilding and Redevelopment Restrictions

Rebuilding and Redevelopment Restrictions limit the reconstruction of buildings destroyed by hazards such as flooding events or wildfires or can ensure structures are rebuilt with flood and climate risk in mind.

Benefits & Function

Redevelopment restrictions can decrease redevelopment in high risk areas.


Rebuilding and redevelopment policies can be implemented through zoning and overlay zones. They can also be triggered through building codes that elevate structures and through general flood protection strategies.

Uses for Policy

Existing development

Policy Examples

Please note that links in "Go to Example" lead to an external website.

Miami's Buoyant City: Historic District Resilience & Adaptation Guidelines

Provide guidelines for preserving and protecting Miami Historic District utilizing land use and building codes.

Resilient Building Codes Toolkit

A guide focused on building codes for resilience with some nature-based options included.

FEMA's Building Community Resilience with Nature-Based Solutions


The key goal of this guide is to help communities identify and engage the staff and resources that can be used to implement nature-based solutions to build resilience to natural hazards. The guide provides a broad set of solutions and concepts for physical and policy interventions.

National Flood Insurance Eligibility


The National Flood Insurance Program requires new construction, depending on the risk in the flood zone, to either be raised above the base-flood elevation (BFE), flood-proofed (for nonresidential buildings) through elevated building equipment, or elevated on piles. Local governments could extend these requirements in currently unregulated areas, or increase freeboard requirements so that building elevations consider future sea level rise and storm surge height.

Floodplain Management Regulations

Commerce, CA

Guidelines from the Floodplain Management Plan in Commerce, CA have been incorporated into Citywide ordinances to ensure buildings meet certain floodproofing requirements.

< Previous
Next >
bottom of page