New Elevation Certificates Required in Flood Zones

August 6, 2018 9:49 pm Published by Leave your thoughts

This past fall, FEMA released updated maps for flood zones, and also a brand new Elevation Certificate.

The new Elevation Certificate is used to certify elevations of building components to determine rules or insurability. Of particular note on the form is fields that require specification of whether the elevation recording is based on the 1927 datum or the 1983 datum, as well as the level of precision of data entered. The new form is available on the FEMA website.

Here are a few frequently asked questions about FEMA flood zones to provide further information and context. Representatives of surveying companies in Mobile, AL hear these questions all the time—don’t be afraid to ask!

Q: Why are the flood maps being updated?

Many of Alabama’s flood maps became outdated due to changes (both natural and manmade) that occurred over time, meaning they did not reflect the current flood risks for communities on the maps.

Q: How will my community get these new flood maps and studies?

The preliminary DFIRM and Flood Insurance Study will be issued to officials in the affected communities as soon as the county maps are finished. They will then be able to be viewed in a central location in each community.

Q: How are flood maps developed?

The process of creating flood maps involves getting new topographic data, political boundaries, transportation lines, other imagery and flood studies. Together, these elements can be combined to form a comprehensive DFIRM (digital flood insurance map) that marks the boundaries of the flood zones.

Q: How do surveyors determine the special flood hazard areas and base flood elevations?

The special flood hazard areas are based on an analysis of historical hydrological data combined with topographic surveys, hydraulic analysis, hydrologic analysis and community input. The methods for determining these areas are specifically outlined by the Flood Insurance Study (FIS).

Q: Which zones require the purchase of flood insurance?

According to the rules established by the National Flood Insurance Reform Act of 1994, flood insurance must be purchased as a condition for any federal financial assistance for developing buildings in flood hazard areas. In addition, some lending institutions might require flood insurance for areas located outside of these special flood hazard areas as a condition of providing a mortgage loan.

Q: Can I change or correct a flood map?

FEMA has several methods that allow you to submit flood map changes, depending on the nature of the change. A letter of map amendment (LOMA) for a single structure, one of the simpler and more common types of these changes, can often be issued in as little as four weeks, but changes involving multiple lots or structures can take up to eight weeks. Complex physical map changes may take more than a year to process.

Q: Are there differences for coastal flood zones versus other special flood hazard zones?

Yes—coastal flood zones take increased flooding hazards due to waves into account.

For more information about the new elevation certificates and how flood zones are mapped, contact Polysurveying to learn more about land surveying in Mobile, AL today.

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