FEMA Releases Mitigation Report for Puerto Rico

In the just-released report, which can be found here: The FEMA Mitigation Assessment Team Report: Hurricanes Irma and Maria in Puerto Rico, Building Performance Observations, Recommendations, and Technical Guidance, makes a number of key findings and recommendations, including:

  • Many housing is of informal construction, meaning that it was not built in compliance with any codes

  • The rate of flood insurance participation is “limited”

  • The ability of residents to rebuild is “uncertain”

Recommendations include:

  • Having the Permits Management Office finalize adoption of the latest hazard-resistant building codes and standards

  • Have the Insurance Institute of Building and Housing Safety do a review of private flood insurance policies for equivalency and effectiveness, and

  • That certain classes of new buildings should have storm shelter requirements

The team gathered important information, but skirted around three key points: (1) titling and informal housing construction needs to be faced head on, (2) zoning and the relationship of the built-natural environment has to be an ongoing discussion, and (3) capital formation, access, and financing is a major choke point and limiting factor for the island’s future resilience.

Stephen JordanComment