A Necessary Part of Property Development in Flood-Prone Areas

The location of your property is of prime importance for many reasons, including usability and marketability. In many areas of the country, particularly in those prone to flooding, the actual elevation of the property is a key determining factor for in determining how each property can be utilized and what affect the risk of flooding can have on the market value. 

Elevation Certificates Provide Valuable Information 

As part of the National Flood Insurance Program Elevation Certification program, elevation certificates are used to determine the actual elevation of a home or property for the purposes of insurance and flood plain management regulation. 

In addition, an elevation certificate from a reputable, qualified surveyor provides recognizable documentation of the actual elevation of your property to assist with: 

  • buying or selling a property that is in or near a flood plain
  • negotiating property or flood insurance premiums 
  • planning and budgeting for site improvements 
  • planning and budgeting for building or renovating structures
  • determining the best usage for a property
  • determining market value
  • negotiating a mortgage or building construction loan on certain properties
  • attempting to prove or disprove whether a property is actually located in a flood hazard area, flood zone or any type of flood plain

Properties that are found to lie within a flood plain may be required to purchase additional flood insurance coverage, in addition to standard property or homeowner's coverage. If the property has experienced severe flooding in the past, building or making improvements to the lot or structures on the lot may be restricted in some areas. 

Special Flood Hazard Areas

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) identifies Special Flood Hazard Areas (SFHAs) where new structures and improvements must comply with existing floodplain management ordinances. Elevation certificates are used as documentation to enact this type of ordinance in these flood-prone areas. 

Part of the Standard Permit Process 

Some communities require that property owners or developers obtain an elevation certificate as part of the permit process required before any actual work begins. A reputable, properly licensed surveyor can help you determine the actual elevation of your property, assist you with the elevation certification process and help you determine the best course of action for each particular property in areas where flooding is or has been an issue.