Floodplain Permit and Construction


New construction, development or redevelopment in the floodplain increases the likelihood of exposure to damages and can cause flooding on neighboring properties. Therefore, Birmingham has regulations on building and development designed to prevent new construction from making flooding and drainage problems worse.

There are special rules in the Special Flood Hazard Area, i.e., the area shown on the Floodplain Map.  If you are planning to construct a house, garage, fence or any type other structure or development close to or in the floodplain, check with the Planning, Engineering and Permits Department (205-254-2933) to see if your site is located in the floodplain. . A permit will be needed to ensure that such projects do not cause adverse impacts on other properties.

Please see the attached brochure for permitting related process and requirements



If you live in a flood prone area, there are a number of things you can do to protect your property from flood damage:

  • Regrading your property
  • Elevating and securing electrical outlets and components
  • Construct barriers out of fill or concrete between the building and flood waters
  • Dry flood proof by using flood-resistant materials on exterior surfaces
  • Basement protection
  •         Wet flood proofing to modify the structure and move the contents so that when flood     waters enter the building there is little or no damage.

Buildings can also be permanently retrofitted for better flood protection!

Retrofitting For Flooding

Retrofitting means making changes to an existing building to protect it from flooding or high winds. FEMA publication 312, Homeowner’s Guide to Retrofitting: Six Ways to Protect Your House from Flooding provides information that will help you decide whether your house is a candidate for retrofitting.


Six Ways to Protect Your House From Flooding
Elevating: is raising your house so that the lowest floor is above the flood level. This is the most common way to avoid flood damage.
Wet flood proofing: makes uninhabited parts of your house resistant to flood damage when water is allowed to enter during flooding. (example – vents in a carport)
Relocation: means moving your house to higher ground where the exposure to flooding is reduced or eliminated altogether.
Dry flood proofing: is sealing your foundation to prevent flood waters from entering.
Levee and floodwall protection: means constructing barriers to prevent flood waters from entering your house.
Demolition: means razing your house and rebuilding properly on the same property or buying a house elsewhere.

Retrofitting For Wind Hazards

For houses in areas subject to high winds, some retrofitting methods are more appropriate than others. Regardless of the method you choose; if your house is in a high-wind or tornado valley, your contractor or design professional must ensure that all structural changes made can withstand not only the expected flood forces but the expected forces of winds as well. Wind is similar to flowing water in that it pushes against the side of the house that faces the wind and pulls on the side that faces away. Wind passing over a house can exert a lifting (vertical) instead of flowing (horizontal) force on the house.