WHAT IS A FEMA ELEVATION CERTIFICATE?
A Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Elevation Certificate is an administrative tool of the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) used to provide elevation information necessary to determine the proper insurance premium rate, support a letter of map amendment (LOMA), or ensure compliance with community floodplain management ordinances.
A flood elevation certificate helps clients determine the precise location of their property in relationship to the base flood elevation. This involves the completion of an elevation survey of a structure or site and further research indicating the location of a parcel in relation to the Special Flood Hazard Area (SFHA) as shown on the effective Flood Insurance Rate Map (FIRM). These maps detail a theoretical flood event calculated by hydraulic engineers and used to estimate the flood risk of the property.
IMPORTANCE OF GETTING A FEMA ELEVATION CERTIFICATE:
Landowners: If a property is located within a flood hazard zone as determined by FEMA, landowners may be required to complete a flood elevation certificate in order to purchase flood insurance or as a part of the sale of the property or a new remodeling process. FEMA certificates ensure the proper insurance premium rate and help establish the need for additional or reduced costs.
Developers: Elevation certificates ensure a construction project’s base flood elevations and allow developers to demonstrate compliance with flood plain management ordinances to insurance estimators or public officials tasked with determining the actual flood risk of a property. Additionally, much like landowners, developers may benefit from acquiring an elevation certificate as they have the ability to reduce premiums or even eliminate the requirement for flood insurance, which could free up funds for other parts of a project.
ROLE OF THE SURVEYOR:
FEMA Elevation Certificates must be prepared, certified, and stamped by a Licensed Land Surveyor, Registered Professional Engineer, or architect who is authorized by commonwealth, state, or local law to certify elevation information. This also goes for circumstances involving a letter of map amendment or revision.
When it comes to FEMA elevation certificates, our job entails completing a field survey of a structure’s elevations—this includes any basement/crawlspace, garage, and the ground nearby—and reporting our findings in an elevation certificate form provided by FEMA.