FAQs about: Substantial Improvements

What is a substantial improvement?
Chapter 58-27 states substantial improvement shall mean any reconstruction, rehabilitation, addition, or other improvement of a structure, the cost of which equals or exceeds 50 percent of the market value of the structure, before the start of construction of the improvement.

Why is it important to know if the improvement is substantial?
Per Chapter 58 -30, substantial improvements will require the entire structure to be brought into compliance with Chapter 58 regulations, not just the proposed improvement.

Can I still get a development permit for a substantial improvement?
Yes, as stated above, the entire structure will have to be brought into compliance with Chapter 58 regulations.

Does it matter if the property is in the floodway or floodplain?
No, substantial improvement determines whether the entire structure must be brought into compliance with the Chapter 58 requirements for floodplain or floodway.

Can cumulative improvements to my structure qualify as a substantial improvement?
Yes, cumulative improvements to structures do trigger substantial improvements. Sec. 58-30.1. General Standards.(5) The total value of improvements, repairs, modifications, and additions to existing buildings are counted cumulatively.

Who determines the market value of my structure?
The market value of the structure may be documented by the respective County Appraisal Districts, the FEMA Residential Substantial Damage Estimator (RSDE), a TALCB certified real estate appraiser or other methods approved by the floodplain administrator.

For fees and more information, contact the City of New Braunfels Building Department (NBBD) at (830) 221-4060.