Rebuilding Under the FEMA Public Assistance Program: Repair? Replace? Relocate?



Division 13: Special Construction

Division 14: Conveying Systems

Division 15: Mechanical

Division 16: Electrical

Once a comprehensive scope of work has been developed, the next step is to estimate what the project will cost to repair. FEMA has developed the Cost Estimating Format (CEF) to help with articulating repairs needed and estimating the total project cost. Its use is required for all large projects (above $63,200 1 for fiscal year 2010). The CEF estimate, when accurately populated, helps develop a more thorough and accurate estimate, ensuring that applicants as well as FEMA have an accurate budget to work with.

Do the Repairs Exceed 50 Percent of Replacement (“The 50 Percent Rule”)?

Once the estimated cost to repair the facility is established, it is time to consider whether it may be eligible for replacement. To do this, you must develop a cost to completely replace the facility to the same form, function and design as it existed prior to the triggering event. This replacement cost estimate is then compared to the repair cost estimate as follows 2 :

“A facility is considered repairable when disaster damages do not exceed 50 percent of the cost of replacing a facility to its pre-disaster condition and it is feasible to repair the facility so that it can perform the function for which it was being used immediately prior to the disaster.”


1 Adjusted annually for inflation. 2 Disaster Assistance Policy 9524.4.