Coastal Construction


Coastal Construction


Case Study Reconstruction, Mitigation and Resilience


12 Rd. Broad Channel, NY Construction, Mitigation and Resilience

A two-story wood-framed house, with additions, 12 Rd. was severely damaged first by Tropical Storm Irene, then before repairs could be made, Hurricane Sandy.

When Hurricane Sandy made landfall in New York City in October 2012, it was as a Category One storm. The powerful hurricane caused numerous fatalities and injuries, destroyed hundreds of buildings, and did an incredible amount of damage to the city and its boroughs. Estimated financial losses attributed to Sandy are in the $60 billion range, and climbing.

At 12 Rd. the foundation cracked and misaligned; piers were tossed; the first floor flooded; mechanical systems flooded by salt water; windows, doors dislodged; roof and siding breached; extensive water damage and mold resulting.

After Hurricane Sandy, the flood hazard maps for the area were revised by the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP)  With the revision of the maps, the lowest floor of the house sat two feet below the Base Flood Elevation (BFE), which is determined to be the calculated height to which potential floodwaters could rise.  NFIP regulations required the structure must be brought into compliance with local floodplain management ordinances. This meant that because of the new mapping, the Owner decided to raise the floor of the house approximately 6 feet. This will allow them to get the lowest floor one foot above the required elevation level, giving them some extra room in the case of future flooding, and use the lowest level for parking and storage.

12 Rd. Hopes to meet the FEMA/Coastal Construction Manual/Best Practices requirements; e.g. new foundation footings, size, depth, configuration and connections to the structure, following the load path, exceeding the required connection size and length.

12 Rd. will be re-designed to human scale, one story, using only what is needed, remaining open and airy. High ceilings, warm materials, clean lines, abundant light and breezes will make the home feel even more spacious than its modest 640 sf.



12 Rd. is located approximately 100 feet from Jamaica Bay; subject to extreme winds, moisture, salt, winter and summer conditions.


Responsible management of jobsite waste reduction is an essential aspect of sustainable building. Waste reduction saves money.  There are a variety of ways a Contractor can divert construction waste or demolition debris at the jobsite.  Prior to demolition, salvage as much useable material and components as the schedule will allow.   12 Rd. will be consistent with the New York City Solid Waste Management Plan.

bWater Efficiency and Landscaping

12 Rd. will feature water-efficient technologies and appliances, such as low-flow shower heads and dual-flush toilets. From the ground up, 12 Rd.’s landscape design will demonstrate an eco-friendly aesthetic with systems that sustain and replenish the environment: porous paving and rain gardens. Rain barrels harvest rainwater to irrigate plants, so use less drinking-quality water. Native plants have extensive root systems, secure the loose, sandy soil, are adapted to the climate, attract beneficial insects, and slow storm water run-off.

iBuilding Shape

12 Rd. has a simple, rectangular shape (heat-retaining) to minimize the ratio of surface area to volume, (A cube would be even better. A sphere has the lowest ratio.) with openings on either end sized to promote ventilation from the prevailing ocean breeze. High-performance windows look to the South, the view to the ocean, protected by shutters against storms. Flanked by buildings either side, 12 Rd. will be buffeted from the high winds.

dAir-tight construction

All the holes and seams in the building envelope (the outer perimeter of the living space) will be carefully sealed; thermally tight to protect against the ocean moisture. 


Thermal bridge-free construction

The walls in 12 Rd. will be designed to eliminate thermal bridging with the strategic placement of insulation.

fEnergy-efficient appliances and lighting

12 Rd. will feature Energy Star appliances and extremely efficient LED lighting.

gLow-VOC paints and materials

12 Rd. will be built by using non-toxic materials: no- or low-volatile organic compounds (VOCs) paints; Other materials in the home are chosen with this in mind. Hard-surface floors – Carpeting can be a trap for dirt, dust, allergens, mites, and mold; 12 Rd. will have recycled hardwood floors that are easier to keep clean, along with carpet tiles and rugs that can be washed.


With its thick, well-insulated walls, and high-performance windows, 12 Rd. should be a quiet refuge.