If you currently own or have ever owned a home or commercial property, then you have likely heard of flood elevation, and have some idea of what it is. In terms of civil engineering, base flood elevation refers to the level of elevation that a flood is likely to attain in a certain area, and flood elevation refers to how elevated a building must be in order to be considered reasonably safe from flood damage.
If your community is interested in being as flood safe as possible, then you will likely be interested in attaining a FEMA flood elevation certificate. Here are some answers to initial questions you might have about those certificates, courtesy of a trusted civil engineering company in Idaho.
What is a FEMA flood elevation certificate, and why is having one worthwhile?
To put it simply, a FEMA flood elevation certificate is an indication from the Federal Emergency Management Agency that your community has gone through all reasonable steps to assure that you have reached a strong level of flood safety.
In addition to the peace of mind that comes with knowing your community will probably be safe in the event of a flood, FEMA flood elevation certificates allow homeowners in the community to purchase federally backed flood insurance. This means that even if your flood elevation fails to completely protect your property, your insurance will at least cover the damages.
How does a community attain a FEMA flood elevation certificate?
In order to receive a FEMA flood elevation certificate, a community must first hire a fully licensed land surveyor to survey the community and locate any areas that are potentially vulnerable to flooding, which FEMA calls Special Flood Hazard Areas (SFHAs).
Once those SFHAs are defined, the community must make improvements to all existing buildings in the area that will bolster their level of flood safety. (This usually involves elevating them, if possible.) Additionally, the community must also require that all new buildings in the SFHAs have a high level of elevation and flood safety. Once these requirements are met, a community will likely receive a FEMA flood elevation certificate.
Why has FEMA changed its flood plain mapping in recent years, and how do I know if my area’s map has changed?
Those who pay close attention to flood safety issues may have noticed that FEMA has recently changed some of its flood plain mapping practices. There are many reasons for these changes, but they all relate back to FEMA’s core goal of ensuring that all Americans are as safe as possible in the event of a flood or other natural emergency.
Fortunately for property owners everywhere, the Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act of 2012 requires FEMA to always update members of Congress as new regulations come out that will specifically affect their constituents. This means that if your community is affected by changes to flood plain mapping regulations, you will be notified in a timely manner by your Congressional representative.
If you have any more questions about FEMA flood elevation certificates, we hope you will get in touch with Mason & Stanfield, Inc., a respected civil engineering company in Idaho for more than 25 years.