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Rebuilding Storm-Resilient Homes in Hurricane, Flood-Prone Areas

| November 8, 2017 | 0 Comments

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Q&A with Jersey Shore Builder Walters Homes

BARNEGAT, N.J., Nov. 9, 2017 – The immense property damage resulting from this year’s Atlantic hurricane season has been a wake-up call for vulnerable communities, especially along coastal areas. Every year, hurricanes pummel the coastline with torrential downpours, high winds and storm surges. In New Jersey, peak hurricane season begins in mid-August and runs through the end of October. After Hurricane Sandy, homeowners knew that rebuilding efforts had to make resiliency and sustainability a priority. The fear of the next hurricane making landfall weighs heavily as waterfront communities continue to rebuild. Although hurricane season is nearly over, it’s never too early to start preparing for the 2018 season, especially when building a new home.

Walters Homes, a Barnegat-based custom home builder, has designed and rebuilt roughly 350 homes that were destroyed by Hurricane Sandy. The custom single-family homes are located in coastal locations ranging from Little Egg Harbor Township to Manasquan. In the following interview, Matthew Gaudet-Walters, rebuilding expert for Walters Homes, discusses the new building requirements and ways to minimize future flood and wind damage for new construction.

Q: How have builders changed the way they build homes at the Jersey Shore?

“Since Sandy, New Jersey has beefed-up its building codes with new construction regulations following federal standards. Homes built to stricter standards will fare better in storms. Certain features are required such elevating houses above the floodplain. Base flood elevation levels serve as a guide for new construction and they vary by community. It’s one way to prepare and protect property, lower flood insurance rates and have peace of mind.”

Q: What can be done to reduce vulnerability from future storms?

“When it comes to flooding and windstorm damage, older homes tend to be more vulnerable than newer ones, especially if they’re built on slabs and are below the flood plain. Just raising an older home will leave you with the same old shell and old interior layout with all its inherent shortcomings. Renovating and raising an older home and getting it up to current standards can cost as much as tearing down and rebuilding a brand new home. The best option is rebuilding from the ground up, which creates an opportunity to design the home that best suits your current lifestyle and needs. In the long run, a new home will be worth more than a raised and repaired home.”

Q: How have rebuilding efforts impacted neighborhoods along the Jersey Shore?

“Sandy kick-started the surge in new development we’re seeing. The character of many neighborhoods has changed as small bungalows are being replaced with bigger and better built homes. There’s a lot of positive factors driving that development such as beach replenishment and the upswing in the real estate market. Even residents whose homes weren’t damaged by Sandy are opting to rebuild to improve their quality of life here at the beach. Before Sandy, people thought building a luxury custom home was out of their price range, but now they’re seeing their friends and neighbors rebuilding and they’ve become educated about the process and the cost.”

Q: Do you have any tips for buyers building a coastal home?

“It’s important to work with a reputable builder whose recommendations you can trust. From the start, a builder should be upfront about pricing so that the buyer has a detailed list of costs before construction even begins. They should also be knowledgeable about the process for reconstructing a waterfront home and making it FEMA flood compliant. The most common is to elevate a new home above the base flood elevation to reduce the risk of damage in a storm. Elevation requirements vary, but many customers choose to raise their homes 9 feet, which is the minimum height to accommodate garage doors under a house.”

Q: What are the benefits to working with a firm like Walters Homes

“Walters has been building homes at the Jersey Shore for more than 30 years and we’re committed to building homes a better way. In addition to exceeding current building standards, our homes are equipped with Energy Star® features that significantly increase energy efficiency such as include 2 x 6 exterior walls, high performance windows and upgraded insulation. Our homes come with a 10-year warranty on all structural issues, five-year warranty on all HVAC systems, and one-year warranty on everything else. We can also help coordinate financing options with various lenders.”

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Media Contact:
Evelyn Weiss Francisco
Caryl Communications
201-796-7788
evenly@caryl.com

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Category: News Releases, Newswire: Latest News, Walters Group

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