Relocating a building is an option that can provide complete flood protection, as long as there is an appropriate site available that is above the 500-year flood level. The technology used to move buildings is well established and readily available. Relocation is the best option for buildings that experience frequent and large flood events.


The biggest advantage of relocation is that the building is completely protected from flood risks and normal operations do not have to be interrupted.


The main disadvantage of relocation is that the building is severed from its original location.


  • Many types and sizes of structures can be moved, although smaller, lighter structures are easier and less expensive to move. Still, larger, masonry buildings can be moved. Some general building footprint size limits are 5,000 sf for masonry structures and 10,000 sf for wood frame structures.
  • Moving a building can become expensive if you have to purchase another plot of land to place the building.
  • Moving a building becomes more expensive as the distance increases between the sites, as well as if there are obstacles between the sites, such as narrow roads, bridges and power lines.
  • Wherever the building is moved to—somewhere else on the current site or to a different site—the site has to be prepared for the building, including the construction of a new foundation and potentially adding utilities to the site.
  • Particularly for relocation, if your building is designated to the National Register or a state or local register, it is important to consult with any relevant government and preservation agencies before and during the construction process.


An 1800s farmhouse is moved 300 feet in Elizabeth Township to get out of the floodplain. (Image source:

The National Czech and Slovak Museum and Library is moved 200 feet in Cedar Rapids to move away from the Cedar River. (Image source:

The Otis Mason house is relocated in Alexandria, Virginia, due to a highway project. (Image Source: courtesy of the National Trust for Historic Preservation)