Conclusion: The Applicant’s repair of its pier tip is an improved project, as defined by FEMA policy. In addition, the Region I Acting Regional Administrator’s method for calculating eligible cost is reasonable and in accordance FEMA regulations and policy.
In March and April 2010, storm surges and waves damaged sections of the Applicant’s granite pier tip. The original scope of work, under Project Worksheet (PW) 891, included replacing 325.92 CY of stone base and resetting and replacing 423.7 CY of armor stone. PW 891 was initially obligated for $117,002. In July 2010, the Applicant hired Vine Associates as consulting engineers to prepare design repair plans. Vine Associates identified a significantly longer area of damage to the pier tip than was identified by FEMA in PW 891. A contractor completed the repair work in September 2011. During the close out process, FEMA determined that the Applicant repaired a greater linear distance of the pier tip; accordingly, FEMA classified the repair work as an improved project and reduced the eligible cost of the project to $31,069.43. In the first appeal, the Applicant asserted that the work completed was not an improved project and that its final project costs were well below the original FEMA estimate. The Acting Regional Administrator (RA) determined that the repair completed on the pier tip was an improved project, the actual volume of the damaged area was far less than FEMA’s estimate, and thereby reduced the eligible costs. The Acting RA also identified issues with the procurement process that the Applicant used in the administration of the repairs. Notwithstanding its improper procurement methods, the Acting RA reimbursed the Applicant for the federal cost share. In its second appeal, the Applicant, again, asserts that the repairs to its pier tip do not constitute an improved project. In addition, the Applicant provides an alternative method for calculating reasonable cost associated with the repair of its pier tip.
• Stafford Act § 406(e) Eligible Cost.
• 44 C.F.R. § 206.201(j) Definitions- Permanent Work.
• 44 C.F.R. § 206.203(d)(1) Improved Projects.
• 44 C.F.R. § 206.223 General Work Eligibility.
• 44 C.F.R. § 206.226 Restoration of damaged facilities.
• Pursuant to 44 C.F.R. § 206.203(d)(1), an improved project occurs when an applicant makes additional improvements to a damaged facility while still restoring it to its pre-disaster function and capacity.
o In the original PW, FEMA estimated the total area of damage to be 100 feet (length) x 22 feet (width), with damage to 65 feet of armor stone within that 100 feet, and damage to the base stone for the entire 100 feet. FEMA staff estimated a depth of 8 feet for the damaged armor and 4 feet for the base stone. However, a subsequent engineering report determined that the depth for the base stone and armor was the same, 4 feet. The Applicant repaired 170 feet (length) of the pier. This constitutes an improved project because the repair work is outside of the original scope of PW 891.
• Stafford Act § 406(e) limits permanent work reimbursement to the restoration of a damaged facility to its pre-disaster design, function, and capacity. The costs must be reasonable and necessary to accomplish the eligible work.
o The Region I Acting RA calculated eligible cost by dividing the total construction costs incurred by the Applicant by the volume of the pier repaired. This provided a unit cost. The RA multiplied the unit cost by the eligible volume of the pier tip repair work.
o The Acting RA’s method for calculating eligible costs is reasonable.