Welcome to the Cape Cod Builder blog

Building in a Flood Zone on Cape Cod

Posted by REEF Cape Cod's Home Builder on Thu, Oct 11, 2018

Every week we get phone calls about building a new home or renovating existing homes here on Cape Cod. More often than not, we discover that many of these project sites are located within documented FEMA Flood zones. Why is this important?

Any construction within a FEMA A, AE, AO or V flood zones require special design and construction considerations that can either limit or dramatically change a homeowners' concept what their new home or renovated home may look like.

If you want to know if your home is in a FEMA Flood Zone - Click Here to enter your address and find out!

Here's a great diagram from FEMA:


FEMA Flood Zone Diagram

Any properties located within these zones (with the exception of the "X" zone) must be designed and built to flood resistant construction standards which generally means that any new home or addition in these areas must be raised up above the flood plain, and foundation areas must be designed to allow flood waters to pass through the foundation without damage.

Renovations and additions are especially tricky as the size (monetary value) of the project may require the entire existing structure to be raised up above the flood plain before the renovation or addition work can begin. The requirement to raise the home up is determined by the "Substantial Improvement" regulation defined below:

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. This term includes structures which have incurred "substantial damage," regardless of the actual repair work performed. The term does not, however, include either:

  1. Any project for improvement of a structure to correct existing violations of state or local health, sanitary, or safety code specifications which have been identified by the local code enforcement official and which are the minimum necessary to assure safe living conditions or
  2. Any alterations of a "historic structure," provided that the alteration will not preclude the structure's continued designation as a "historic structure."

Floodplain management requirements for new construction apply to substantial improvements. Increased Cost of Compliance (ICC) coverage does not apply to substantial improvements unless a structure is substantially damaged due to flooding.

Here's a good example of a home after a substantial improvement in a flood zone:


FEMA Substatial Improvement


If you are considering building a new home or considering a major renovation or addition to your Cape Cod home, and you think that you may be in a FEMA flood zone, please contact us today to see how we can help!
There are many ways to design and build your new Cape Cod Home and still have it look great!  - here's an example!
FEMA Flood Zone Cape Cod


Follow the Build Part III

Posted by REEF Cape Cod's Home Builder on Tue, Sep 25, 2018

Episode III of our Follow the Build series where we discuss the framing process of a new custom home on Cape Cod. In this episode we discuss the value of our planning process and why we chose to panelize the framing of many of our projects. Given the challenging labor market on Cape Cod, along with the stringent code requirements for wind and flood zone design, panelized framing provides the ability to build an extremely high quality and dimensionally accurate structural frame while saving time and days on the site.




If you are considering designing and building your new custom home here on Cape Cod, click here to find current costs per square foot

Looking for waterfront property on Cape Cod? Clock here to download our waterfront property guide



Tags: Cape Cod custom home, design build, custom waterfront homes, custom building

Hyannis Harbor Carriage House

Posted by REEF Cape Cod's Home Builder on Fri, Sep 07, 2018

We wanted to share some photos of our latest project, the Hyannis Harbor Carriage house. This carriage house was designed to compliment the existing cottage on the site, with matching siding, trim and window details. This project also involved extensive landscaping to provide a unique retreat for the homeowner to enjoy their Cape Cod Summer! As we always say, you've been visiting the Cape your whole life, isn't it time you stayed?

4 foster both houses

4 foster carriage house-side

4 foster carriage house - front

If you are considering a new custom home project on Cape Cod, consider designing and building your project with the team at REEF.

If you want to know what your custom home project might cost, click here to download our Construction Cost Guide

Follow the Build Part II

Posted by REEF Cape Cod's Home Builder on Tue, Aug 28, 2018

Part two of our follow the build series where we discuss the planning, permitting and some of the decisions that are made as part of the custom home design and building process. Since this project is in a flood zone, there were some special considerations given to site design, and overall home design to meet both the FEMA flood zone requirements, and the aesthetic requirements of the Old King's Highway Historic District.

This is a great example of how a well planned project can be executed quickly with exceptionally high quality using a panelized framing method that works well in almost every custom home project. 

 If you are looking for a custom builder on Cape Cod, or considering designing and building a custom home click here to download our Construction Cost Guide

If you have a home in a waterfront area, or if you are looking to build on the water click here to download our  Waterfront Property Guide

Tags: custom waterfront homes, Designing and building a home on Cape Cod, residential construction

Follow the Build with REEF

Posted by REEF Cape Cod's Home Builder on Wed, Aug 22, 2018

Have you ever wanted to see how a custom home is built on Cape Cod from start to finish? REEF and it's team of contractors have been selected for a special project called "Follow the Build" where you can watch one of our current projects from start to finish. The project is a custom home in a FEMA flood zone near Barnstable Harbor which was designed to meet all of the special requirements of flood zone construction and still meet the stringent requirements of the Old King's Highway Historic District. The original home on the property was built in the 1950's and was flooded twice during the winter of 2018, and the decision was made to rebuild.


Due to the small lot size and busy location near the harbor, the REEF team worked with our suppliers and framing contractors to build most of the project components off site. This minimized the time on the site, and the number of deliveries as the summer traffic near the harbor can be incredibly heavy. We worked with Shepley Wood Products and Cape Cod Panel and TM Framing to pre-fabricate most of the project off site. So what are the results? 1) Incredibly accurate and well made framing, assembled with computer controlled nailing machines, that far exceed the high wind zone structural requirements 2) Dramatic savings and time and waste on the job site, in fact we were able to build the frame of this 2300sf home with porches and decks in about 1 week !

Follow the build project here: Follow the build with REEF!



If you are considering building a Custom Home on Cape Cod, click here to find out more about Cape Cod Construction Costs

If you have a Waterfront Project in mind, click here to download our Waterfront Property Guide


Tags: FEMA flood zones, Cape Cod Builder, waterfront custom home

Truro To Limit Size of New Homes

Posted by REEF Cape Cod's Home Builder on Wed, Aug 15, 2018

If you are considering a custom home project in the town of Truro, you'll definitely want to read the latest article from the Cape Cod Times here: Truro Considers House Size Limits




Building in a Flood Zone on Cape Cod

Posted by REEF Cape Cod's Home Builder on Mon, Aug 06, 2018

Here are REEF we are constantly asked about building in flood zone on Cape Cod. We have designed and built several homes to the new FEMA standard. One of the first things we review when we are looking at a potential project is whether or not that site lies in a documented flood plain. Unfortunately, we are often the bearers of bad news for customers who had no idea they were purchasing or had purchased a home in a flood zone area. Here's a great website where you can check your flood zone status by simply typing in your property address:



Designing and building in a flood zone can be a very straight forward process as long as you work with a designer and builder who has experience. Here at REEF we have designed and built several homes in flood zones across the Cape. Here's a recent feature article about one of our projects in the Cape Cod Times:

Building in a Flood Zone

If you are in a flood zone and considering a major renovation or tear-down, Please feel free to contact us today!

20180731_124835 (1)

Dreaming of your Cape Cod Beach House?

Posted by REEF Cape Cod's Home Builder on Fri, May 18, 2018



Here's a project we completed last year in Eastham. This site is right across the street from the renowned bay side beaches, and the unique topography of the site allowed for sweeping views of Cape Cod Bay, and some of the best sunsets anywhere on Cape Cod.

Our design team worked with the owners to balance their need for entertainment, guest and kitchen spaces with the views afforded by this site. The final design ended up as an upside down house with the kitchen on the second floor, along with living and dining areas, which connect to a large roof deck, all with views of Cape Cod Bay.

If you are considering designing, or building your Cape Cod Beach house, or waterfront custom home, consider the team at REEF, Cape Cod's Home Builder.

If you want to know what your project might cost, click here to download our latest Construction Cost Guide!


Cape Cod Custom Beach House by REEF


Screened porch in beach house by REEF


Entry foyer with bench cape cod by REEF


Custom Kitchen and Dining area


Living and Dining area Custom by REEF


Custom Kitchen with Oversize Island


Custom Master Bedroom Beach house


Cape Cod Custom Home Design


Cape Cod Custom kitchen by REEF


Eastham beach house 2


Cape Cod Custom Home Eastham


Cape Cod Beach House Eastham



2018 Construction Cost Guide for Cape Cod

Posted by REEF Cape Cod's Home Builder on Tue, May 01, 2018

The 2018 Construction Cost Guide is here! See how all of the various economic, labor, building code and trade issues will impact your Cape Cod home project.


Click Here to download: 2018 Construction Cost Guide


Tags: new construction rates per square foot harwich ma, Building Costs, new construction rates per square foot chatham ma, waterfront custom home, provincetown, Construction Costs, cost per square foot

Chatham Waterfront Custom Home Project

Posted by REEF Cape Cod's Home Builder on Tue, Apr 03, 2018

Here are some interior pics of our Chatham Waterfront renovation project that we recently completed. This project involved extensive permitting and design work as the site provided sweeping views of Ryder's Cove in Chatham. Our team worked with the owners and various regulatory agencies in the town to create the final product which takes advantages of the unique views afforded by this lot.













If you are considering a project here on Cape Cod, please contact our team here at REEF for complete design, permitting, and construction services. You've been visiting the Cape your whole life, isn't it time you stayed?

Subscribe to Email Updates

Latest Posts