The costs of restoring damaged facilities are eligible for public assistance funding, but only on the basis of the facility’s Pre-Disaster Design, Function, and Capacity.
Pre-disaster design is defined as the size and capacity of a facility as it existed immediately prior to the disaster. There are two restrictions to restoration based on the pre-disaster design:
1. If a facility was being used for lesser purposes than those for which it was designed, restoration will only be eligible to the extent necessary to restore the immediate pre-disaster use or the pre-disaster design, whichever costs less.
2. If a facility was inactive at the time of the disaster (see Inactive Facilities), restoration will not be eligible except in those instances:
» Where the facility was only temporarily inoperative for repairs or remodeling
» Where the facility was unoccupied for a short time between tenants
» Active use by the applicant was firmly established in an approved budget
» Where the owner can clearly demonstrate to FEMA that there was an intent to begin use within a reasonable time
Cost-effective hazard mitigation projects may alter the pre-disaster design of a facility but may be included in the repair, if approved by FEMA (see Codes and Standards).
Pre-disaster function means the function the facility was performing immediately prior to the disaster. For example, if a school gymnasium was damaged in an earthquake and the school district proposes to convert the space into an office complex, only the repairs to return the building to its use as a gymnasium would be eligible. The conversion to office space could be proposed as an alternate project (see Alternate Projects).
The restored facility must operate at the capacity available before the disaster. For example, if a school with a capacity of 100 students is damaged beyond repair, the eligible replacement facility must be designed for no more than 100 students. A larger facility with greater capacity could be proposed as an improved project (see Improved Projects).
References: Section 406(e) of the Stafford Act
44 CFR §206.201(h) and §206.226(k)(1) and (2)
Public Assistance Guide, FEMA 322, pages 27, 34, 36, 79, 83, 110, 125