Turner Wants New Building Guidelines To Protect From Flooding In Post Harvey Era

Oct. 4, 2017Houston Public Media

Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner wants to develop new strategies for how housing should be built in the post-Harvey era and he thinks new guidelines to protect houses from flooding are important.

Turner talked about this topic during Wednesday’s meeting of the City Council and said Houston must learn to build “smarter.”

The Mayor added that  Stephen Costello, the City’s Chief Resilience Officer –whose job title is also known as flood Czar— is reviewing the guidelines for granting building permits.

Tom McCasland, director of the City’s Housing and Community Development Department, told Houston Public Media that, when it comes to affordable housing projects, they are already requiring single family homes to be built for the most part on pier and beams, instead of using slab foundations, which makes them more resilient in case of flooding.

McCasland also has ideas for apartment complexes, mainly that first floors are not used to house tenants or critical equipment.

“You can put the units above that first floor, you can put all the critical systems, like the electrical system and the AC systems, above that first floor so that when the floods come, you have a flood resistant building in place,” said McCasland.