For some property owners in Miami Beach, raising their homes and buildings may be the only solution to dealing with rising seas.
Miami Beach officials say that as the city raises its streets, they expect more homeowners and building owners to look seriously at raising their structures – many of which will be lower than streets and sidewalks on their property line.
“We have to adapt these buildings before the water gets here, because otherwise it will be too expensive to keep them, so we have to adapt them or let go of them and build new,” said Roderick Scott, a consultant to the International Association of Structural Movers.
Scott spoke in Miami Beach Thursday evening at an event hosted by the Miami Design Preservation League. While the classic Art Deco buildings of South Beach are no longer in danger of the wrecking ball, they are in danger from rising seas – along with single-family homes and other buildings.
Insurance rates are rising along with the seas. “Remember we are not adapting to climate change, we are adapting to insurance change, and that is happening quicker than climate change,” said Scott, noting that base flood elevation standards used by FEMA are set to go up to 10 feet next year. FEMA flood elevation standards are used to set insurance rates, and they adversely affect older buildings because as Scott said, “they are the ones that always get damaged.”