Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Construction Mangement

Document Type



Evaluating flood risk is an essential component of understanding and increasing community resilience. A robust approach for quantifying flood risk in terms of average annual loss (AAL) in dollars is needed to provide valuable information for stakeholder decision-making inside and outside the special flood hazard area (SFHA, which corresponds to the 100-year floodplain). To further inform flood mitigation strategies, quantifying flood risk reduction with home elevation above an initial first-floor height (FFH0) and the cost effectiveness of federal mitigation assistance for elevation are important steps to enhance awareness of the effect of elevation in reducing flood risk.

Current approaches of flood risk estimation for residential buildings do not consider all types of risks (e.g., building, contents, use) associated with flood events and do not acknowledge differences in risk by owner/occupant type (e.g., homeowner, landlord, tenant), while being completely dependent upon availability of modeled flood depth data. Although elevation is one of the most successful flood mitigation strategies to reduce flood risk, little information is available that describes the benefits of elevation for different owner/occupant types and measures the cost effectiveness of federal assistance from applying the elevation strategy.

This dissertation consists of four separate but interrelated studies that address the literature gaps to enhance flood risk assessment for residential buildings. This research develops a computational framework to improve the method of calculating AAL at the neighborhood level by owner/occupant type (i.e., homeowner, landlord, and tenant) for increasing first-floor height (FFH). The AAL values are calculated here by numerically integrating loss-exceedance probability distributions to represent economic annual flood risk to the building, contents, and use. A library of synthetic flood parameters is generated using a systematic approach to predict flood risk for a single-family home for areas with little or no flood information inside and outside the SFHA. To further inform flood mitigation strategy, annual flood risk reduction with additional elevation above is considered to evaluate the cost effectiveness of federal assistance of applying mitigation strategies.

The results of this dissertation show the value of applying the computational framework in assessing flood risk at the neighborhood level. Also, the range of flood risk and flood risk reduction with home elevation is provided for the A Zone, where the potential base flood wave height is between 0.0 and 3.0 feet, and the shaded X Zone, which consists of the area between the one-percent (bordering the SFHA) and 0.2-percent (bordering the “non-shaded X Zone”) annual flood probability inundation areas – the 500-year floodplain. Further, the cost effectiveness of one of the major federal assistance programs – Community Development Block Grant Disaster Recovery (CDBG-DR) Road Home program in Louisiana – in applying the mitigation strategy is evaluated.

The contribution of this research is a novel conceptualization and implementation of annual flood risk assessment. This improved risk assessment provides a clearer perception of the advantages of applying mitigation strategies. The methodology and results generated in this research will benefit homeowners, builders, developers, community planners, and other partners in the process of enhancing resilience to the flood hazard via risk-informed construction techniques.



Committee Chair

Dr. Carol Friedland

Available for download on Thursday, July 04, 2024