New Standards for Building and Repair Funding

Albertans affected by the recent floods in the province now have a better idea about funding they’ll receive from the government.

As outlined in a release from the Redford government, Albertans living in flood-fringe areas will receive an average of $10,000 to renovate or rebuild their flood-damaged homes.

The funding is based on the cost of construction per square foot, and according to the government, is meant to return homes “to a functional, basic level of finish, based on the existing developed space of the home.”

“What this does is bring a level of fairness into the program as it will assess and calculate a home in Sunnyside, Calgary in the exact same manner as a home in Bragg Creek or High River,” said Municipal Affairs Minister Doug Griffiths. “We know one size does not fit all circumstances and there will be some differences depending on the type of home and the level of finish in the basement.”

Examples of basic levels of finish include: vinyl siding, asphalt shingles, standard efficiency furnace, vinyl flooring, “basic quality” carpet and cabinets, laminate counter tops and “standard” finishing throughout including baseboards, closet doors, doors, and towel racks.

A new funding formula based on square footage was also announced for homes needing to be rebuilt. Under the formula, homeowners in bungalows and bi-level will receive $126 per sq. ft. for above grade work, $25 per sq. ft. for foundations and $35 per sq. ft. for basements. Homeowners with two-storey homes will receive $121, $23 and $35, per sq. ft., respectively, while townhouses and duplex homeowners will get $113, $23 and $35 per sq. ft. for the same work.

Adjustments will also be made for different communities to reflect the increased costs of labour and supplies.

“This funding formula is fair to our affected homeowners and provides them the information needed to make smart choices about their future,” said Griffiths. “The Disaster Recovery Program (DRP) works with your insurance coverage but does not replace insurance; it will cover restoration of your home to a functional standard but not cover premium upgrades.”

Along with the funding, the government also introduced new minimum flood mitigation measures. Relating to finished and partially finished basements, where flood damage was most likely, the measures give applicants from flood fringe areas the information they need to qualify for future DRP assistance.

The new measures dictate that homes will be required to refinish below-grade areas with “cleanable” materials and finishes that resist water damage. All openings in basement walls where piping, wiring and conduits come through must be sealed to prevent seepage and electrical panels and outlets must be protected and isolated to protect against flooding. In addition, plumbing fixtures and equipment must be protected from backflow from the public sewers.

“We have a responsibility to put protective measures in place for future buyers, realtors®, lenders and insurers,” said Griffiths. “This is another step toward rebuilding safer communities.”

The DRP will fund flood mitigation by adding up to 15 per cent of calculated repairs per home. If mitigation costs are higher, the province will fund additional money to meet the standard. It is estimated it could cost up to $10,000 more to repair or rebuild a basement with these measures instead of traditional materials and methods.

A notice will be placed at Land Titles offices stating if property is on a floodway or a flood fringe and if the property utilized 2013 DRP funding. Only properties in floodways and flood fringes that accessed assistance will have this notice.

Once property owners in the flood fringe submit proof of mitigation to Land Titles their title will be cleared of the DRP notice. This will ensure future owners can apply for disaster assistance and get the help they need in the event of a future flood.

The formula and municipality differentials are available for homeowners online at www.alberta.ca.

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