New Jersey Reconstruction, Rehabilitation, Elevation, and Mitigation Program

Massive rebuilding effort enhances resiliency in the wake of Superstorm Sandy

In October 2012, Superstorm Sandy made landfall near Atlantic City, New Jersey, bringing wind gusts of nearly 80 miles per hour and a storm surge that inundated much of the New Jersey and New York coasts. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the storm stranded millions of people for days, crippled public infrastructure, and caused an estimated $65 billion in property damage.

As part of a massive rebuilding effort, the state of New Jersey allocated $1.1 billion in federal funds to help qualified homeowners repair their impacted homes and build resilience against natural hazards. The Reconstruction, Rehabilitation, Elevation, and Mitigation (RREM) Program provided eligible homeowners with grant awards of up to $150,000 to help restore storm-damaged primary residences.

This investment in infrastructure projects was intended to close the gap between the cost of repairs and other funding that owners received to repair their structures. Gannett Fleming provided program management for the program as a subconsultant to Gilbane, one of the firms administering the RREM initiative.

What We Did

Our firm performed detailed initial site inspections to assess the damage and determine cost estimates associated with rehabilitating, reconstructing, or elevating the homes. Once the state approved a grant award for the reconstruction based on the estimate and other criteria, the team helped homeowners ensure that repairs performed by contractors complied with RREM standards. We also inspected construction while it was in progress and approved payment requests.

In all, our firm handled approximately 200 initial site inspections per month, overseeing construction for nearly 100 homeowners over two years, and helping build more resilient infrastructure and communities. Following the RREM Program’s mission, the work was not just a reimbursement but an investment in the future. RREM standards included clear resilience criteria and mitigation actions to help protect homeowners by reducing or eliminating risks and building stronger, more resilient communities. Coastal resiliency enhancements included increased elevations for all rebuilt properties that qualified for the assistance program.

Key Features

  • Initial site inspections determined the cost of rehabilitation, reconstruction, or elevation for submission into the grant program.
  • Construction inspection ensured quality work following program standards.
  • Payment approvals facilitated the appropriate use of federal funds.
OUTCOMES

Enhanced resiliency for residences and communities.

Grant disbursement based on approved cost estimates.

Work completed in accordance with program standards.