Everyone loves to poke fun at flood pants, that is, until a flood occurs, and while everyone else is walking around with soggy cuffs, those who were prepared have cuffs that are bone dry. Who’s laughing now?
A variation on flood pants is beginning to show itself in home building, especially in Houston (among other flood prone areas) in the form of raised homes. Frankel Building Group is a luxury home builder in the Houston area that required all of the homes in its community in The Woodlands to be elevated to protect against floods.
Scott Frankel, the principal at Frankel Building Group, admitted that the elevated neighborhood seemed excessive at first, but when a rainstorm flooded some parts of the neighborhood recently, the “excessive” design suddenly made a lot of sense. Water flooded streets and rose up onto lots, but not a single home ended up flooding thanks to their elevated nature.
The Frankel homes are elevated using pier and beam foundations, building the home on small stilts and leaving a crawlspace for water to come in, instead of bringing in more dirt and using that to elevate the home. Pier and beam construction can cost between an additional $10,000 and $50,000, but for many, the extra costs are worth the preparation.
Elevated homes can look a bit strange, but if a homebuilder focuses on the design, an elevated home can be built that looks almost exactly like a traditional home. Currently, a little more than half of the homes built by Frankel Building Group are elevated and Frankel believes it is just a matter of time until they become even more prevalent and city requirements go into effect and become more strict in calling for their construction.