In construction, many things are needed to build safely and ensure that everyone in the building will be able to inhabit it without issue. An elevation certificate is one such item that helps to ensure that the building is safe for occupants and safe from flooding and other dangers associated with low elevation. Not all buildings need an elevation certificate, but some do. Knowing the difference can help you determine if your construction needs it or not.
What Is an Elevation Certificate?
An elevation certificate is a record of specific features of a property, like the location, the flood zone that it is in, any characteristics of the building that need to be noted, and the elevation of the lowest floor. When any building for public or private use is constructed, it has to meet flood plan requirements — meaning it has to be safe, and it has to be built with the potential for flood in mind.
If you want to get flood insurance on a building, you have to have an elevation certificate so that the insurance company can accurately assess and create a flood policy that is going to cover the building. An elevation certificate helps your insurance assessor accurately create your policy related directly to the flood risk that your building may be challenged with.
Do I Need an Elevation Certificate?
Not all buildings need an elevation certificate. If a building is not being built in a flood plain or in an area where flooding is possible or even probable, the need for an elevation certificate is low. If you are building near a body of water, in an area that often floods or that has flooded in the recent past, or if you are building in an especially low-lying area, you may need an elevation certificate.
If you plan on buying flood insurance for your building, or you are required to, an elevation certificate is going to help provide a much more accurate flood policy and is going to help your assessor greatly when it comes to creating a policy for your building.
How to Get an Elevation Certificate
To get an elevation certificate, you need to contact a civil engineer or the local floodplain manager for your area. They can set up a meeting and a time to complete the assessment, and they can come and have the certificate filled out. If you are buying a property and you are concerned about the elevation, you can ask your seller to have one done before you purchase.
Flooding can be truly detrimental; it can destroy property in very little time. Having an elevation certificate and a great flood insurance plan can help protect your investment and keep your property safe.