Elevations Certificates: Update 2009 Presented by Wendy Lathrop, PLS, CFM

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1 Elevations Certificates: Update 2009 Presented by Wendy Lathrop, PLS, CFM The objectives of the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP): Reduce the exposure to flood damages through the use of minimum standards for the placement and design of structures located in flood hazard areas. Background: In establishing the NFIP, Congress was concerned about fair allocation of the expenses of the NFIP between those who would be covered by flood insurance and the general public. Those who already lived in the floodplain had to be able to afford premiums, and so these were subsidized. But once the flood risk was identified, insurance had to be linked to floodplain management for new construction that would be charged full actuarial rates. Important Concepts: Existing Construction ( Pre-FIRM ) New Construction ( Post-FIRM ) Substantially Improved Construction ( Post-FIRM ) (FIRM = Flood Insurance Rate Map) NFIP purposes: Identify and map flood hazard areas Provide a framework for floodplain management regulations Make flood insurance available in communities participating in the NFIP NFIP zones 44 CFR 59.1 for definitions, 44 CFR 64.3 for symbols Zone A ( approximate A, unnumbered A ) Zone A1 through A30, Zone AE Zone AO, Zone AH Zone A99, Zone AR Zone B, Shaded Zone X Zone C, Unshaded Zone X Zone V Zone V1 through V30, Zone VE Zone VO Zone D Various Uses of the Elevation Certificate Rating insurance (the I in NFIP) Community compliance with NFIP (land development, permit processes, floodplain management)

2 Community records of Lowest Floor Elevations (44 CFR 60.39b)(5)) in Zone A and Lowest Horizontal Structural Member (44 CFR 60.3(e)(2)) in Zone V Community Rating System requires use of Elevation Certificate for such record keeping Applications for Letters of Map Change (LOMC) Terminology/Acronyms LAG = Lowest adjacent grade HAG = Highest adjacent grade LFE = Lowest floor elevation Addition = increases the square footage of a structure (lateral and/or vertical) Extension = construction not within the footprint of a building FEMA Floodplain Management Bulletin, Elevation Certificates or Section A: Property Information Who owns it? Where is it? What kind of building? Where includes address, general description, latitude and longitude Kind of building includes type of use, reference to Building Diagrams, square feet and flood opening data Changes in Section A Instructions for photographs New and revised building diagrams Instructions for flood openings Copy of Engineered Flood Opening Certifications or Evaluation Report References: Technical Bulletins ( Openings in Foundation Walls (FIA-TB-1) 3-93 Non-Residential Floodproofing -- Requirements and Certification -- (FIA-TB-3) 5-93 Free-of-Obstruction Requirements (FIA-TB-5) 6-93 Below-Grade Parking Requirements -- (FIA-TB-6) 7-93 Wet Floodproofing Requirements (FIA-TB-7) Crawlspace Construction for Buildings Located in Special Flood Hazard Areas (FIA-TB-11) Section A Discussion: No changes in Items A1-A4. Item A4. Note that building use is not certified by the surveyor, and no liability results from misidentification.

3 Item A5. Latitude and longitude may be obtained in a variety of ways. Document it and provide the datum. Note that the form adds a new check box in the Comments (Section D) to identify if this information came from the surveyor as opposed to being from anyone else. Item A6. Photographs are required when use of form is for insurance rating purposes. This can be included in or excluded from the contract to complete the Elevation Certificate. New instructions are to show the foundation and show the entire face of the building if possible. This may require additional photographs. The intent is both to verify Building Diagram and presence of flood openings. Also new: Include a close-up of a representative flood opening in the foundation. Minimum size of photographs is 3 by 3, and digital images are acceptable. Item A7. Building diagrams for three basic structure types: built on slab, below grade, elevated. New diagrams have been added. : Diagram 1(slab on grade) has now been expanded into variations. 1A is the old Diagram 1, ordinary slab on grade 1B is a raised slab on grade or slab on stem wall with fill. The bottom floor is at or above adjacent grade on at least one side. Diagram 2 is a building with the bottom floor below grade on all four sides as a basement. Diagram 3 is a split level building that is slab on grade (a combination of 1A and 1C) Diagram 4 is a split level NOT slab on grade, with the bottom floor of one portion below grade on all four sides (a combination of 1A and 2) Diagram 5 is elevated without obstructions below the elevated floor. Diagram 6 is elevated with either full or partial enclosure below the elevated portion. In A zones the enclosure is with or without openings (meaning, whether compliant or not). In V zones regulations require that for lowest insurance rating, the enclosure is to be less than 300 square feet and used solely for access, parking, or storage. Diagram 7 is elevated on a full story foundation with either partial or full enclosure below the elevated floor. Walkouts fall into this category. Diagram 8 is elevated on a crawl space for which the floor is at grade on at least one side, but not all sides. The distinction between a crawl space and a basement is identified in Technical Bulletin 11-01, Crawlspace Construction for Buildings Located in Special Flood Hazard Areas. A basement is sub grade on all four sides, and a crawl space may also be. However, the crawl space height is limited to four feet and crawl space depth below adjacent grade is limited to two feet. Diagram 9 is elevated on a sub grade crawl space, below grade on all sides. If the area does not qualify as a crawlspace, use Diagram 2. See Technical Bulletin 11-01

4 Items A8 and A9: crawl spaces, enclosures, and attached garages. Enclosure indicates an area with solid perimeter walls. Within a building footprint there may be multiple enclosures, being separate walled areas that water cannot flow between, and by regulation, each should be vented separately with the required two within 12 inches of grade or interior floor per enclosure. A permanent flood opening is newly defined in the instructions as a flood vent or other opening that allows the free passage of water automatically in both directions without human interventions. See Technical Bulletins 1-93 ( Openings in Foundation Walls ), 7-93 ( Wet Floodproofing Requirements ). Flood openings may be within a foot of the exterior grade or within a foot of the interior floor, depending upon the type of construction. The instructions now acknowledge this two-fold option, which has always existed but has not always been clear. If interior grade is used then a note is to be added in Comments in Section D. Also new in the instructions: if provided to the surveyor, then attach a copy of the Engineered Flood Openings Certification or the Evaluation Report issued by the International Code Council Evaluation Service (ICC ES). Section B: Flood Insurance Rate Map Information What NFIP community is the site in? What NFIP map does the property appear on? What flood hazards or related risks are identified by the FIRM? Identify the map used and its effective date, as well as any Letters of Map Change associated with it. Identify the Base Flood Elevation (BFE) and its source. Areas beyond the Special Flood Hazard Area will not have a Base Flood Elevation, as Base Flood refers to the 1% annual chance flood (formerly referred to as the 100-year flood). Possible other sources of BFE data: Typical Sources of Base Flood Elevations: FEMA Flood Insurance Study Report FEMA Flood Insurance Rate Map 1% annual-chance Flood Study from other source FEMA Quick-2 software Stream gauge data (highest level reported at gauge) Extrapolation of detailed study upstream using normal depth (appropriate for open channels) However, not every A- or V-type zone has a BFE shown on the map, and these approximate areas are addressed in Section E of the Elevation Certificate.

5 New in the instructions: If the map in effect at the time of the building s construction was other than the current FIRM, and you have the past map information pertaining to the building, provide the information in the Comments area of Section D. This new line will be pertinent in later discussions of grandfathering. Section C: Building Elevation Information (Survey Required) Are the reported building elevations based upon proposed, partially completed, or existing construction? What elevation reference mark (ERM) was used, what datum is it in, and was any conversion performed to fit elevation measurements into a different datum? Before we begin: Distinctions in Lowest Adjacent Grade locations for foundation and attachments or extensions. New in the instructions For C1: Provide information about conversion software identification and the conversion factor. For GPS survey, indicate the benchmark used for the base station, the CORS sites used for an OPUS solution (also attach the OPUS report) or the name of the Real Time Network used. New on the form and in the instructions for C2: The surveyor is now asked to report on the location of machinery and equipment servicing the building measured in line C2e. Location is meant to be general, such as on the floor inside the garage or on a platform attached to an exterior wall, and this information is to be reported in the Comments in Section D. Elevator shafts must be taken into consideration (see Technical Bulletin 4-93, Elevator Installation ) Elevator Installation (FIA-TB-4) Provides guidance on the NFIP regulations concerning the installation of elevators below the Base Flood Elevation in Special Flood Hazard Areas (both A and V zones). Lines C2f and C2g now ask for the LAG and HAG next to building. The reason for this is related to the multiple purposes of the Elevation Certificate, and confusion arising when the purpose is to apply for a Letter of Map Amendment removing the building from the Special Flood Hazard Area. The instructions now state, Enter the elevation of the ground, sidewalk, or patio slab immediately next to the building. They further add: For Zone AO, use natural grade elevation, if available. The instructions reference the necessity of reporting to the nearest tenth of a foot (or tenth of a meter in Puerto Rico) if the form is being used to support a request for LOMA or LOMR-F. To further distinguish the purpose of the form, a new line C2h has been added to the form: Lowest adjacent grade at lowest elevation of deck or stairs, including structural support. The instructions note For Zone AO, use natural grade elevation, if available. The instructions reference the necessity of reporting to the nearest tenth of a foot (or tenth of a meter in Puerto Rico) if the form is being used to support a request for LOMA or LOMR-F.

6 Section D: Surveyor, Engineer, or Architect Certification Who prepared the technical part of this form? Did the surveyor provide the latitude and longitude reported in Section A? Comments from the certifier added to clarify the information in prior sections, or suggested by the instructions. New check box added if latitude and longitude in Section A are provided by the surveyor means that this is the only information from Section A certified by the Surveyor. The instructions now add the word openings to the list of items that can be addressed in this section. Section E: Building Elevation Information (Survey not required) for Zone AO and Zone A (Without BFE) When a BFE is not provided for certain Special Flood Hazard Areas, a survey is not required, and this section can be completed by anyone. It establishes a comparison between the highest adjacent grade to the structure (rather than the lowest adjacent grade as is the case in areas where BFE is provided) and the various floor levels of the structure as well as machinery and/or equipment. For design purposes, but not for Elevation Certificates, the following methods may be used: Contour method (also called point on boundary ) Comparison with topographic map Contour interpolation, plus 1/2 contour interval Water control structure + freeboard (appropriate for ponds) Historical high water marks + appropriate factor of safety Section F: Property Owner (or Owner s Representative) Certification This section is only completed if the property owner has filled in the information for Sections A, B, and E without a surveyor s assistance. This section is only to be used in Zones A and AO where no BFE is provided. No changes have been made to this section. Section G: Community Information (Optional) Local officials legally authorized to do so who have completed the information in Sections A, B, and C or E must sign this section of the form. Additionally, this section is used for local regulatory compliance with the NFIP.

7 A new line has been added to allow communities to identify the design elevation to which they require new construction be elevated. This is not the same as a community provided BFE. Design elevations account for local freeboard (the community-defined safety factor) added on top of the BFE Ensuring that Structures Built on Fill In or Near Special Flood Hazard Areas are Reasonably Safe From Flooding (FIA-TB-10) This technical bulletin discusses building techniques, including the use of fill, that can be used to ensure structures are reasonably safe from flooding. Practice Problem in completing the Elevation Certificate - Block 26. Lot 114, Kinnelon, NJ

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9 BFE in Approximate A zones Areas that were studied using approximate rather than detailed or limited detail methods do not report a Base Flood Elevation for the areas established as subject to the Special Flood Hazard Area. There are, however, sources for BFE beyond the published maps and accepted means of establishing BFE using other resources Point on the boundary (contour method) Comparison with topographic map Reference: Managing Floodplain Development in Approximate Zone A Areas (FEMA-265) a guide to determining BFE in Approximate Zone A areas. Includes Quick-2 software. Download from the web: Grandfathering Grandfathering : an exemption based on circumstances previously existing. Under the NFIP, buildings located in Emergency Program communities and Pre-FIRM buildings in the Regular Program are eligible for subsidized flood Insurance rates. Post -FIRM buildings in the Regular Program built in compliance with the floodplain management regulations in effect at the start of construction will continue to have favorable rate treatment even though higher base flood elevations or more restrictive, greater risk zone designations result from FIRM revisions. (From definitions section of the insurance agent s manual) Insurance and compliance factors Compare zones and BFEs Owner must provide insurance agent with a copy of FIRM at time of construction OR verification letter from community official Elevation Certificate refers to original map BUT - Use the newer FIRM if it provides a more favorable premium Advisory Base Flood Elevations (ABFE) Major flood events are an opportunity to evaluate the accuracy of the flood risks reported on a map. When the map and /or flood study underestimated the hazard, FEMA may conduct assessments of coastal flood elevations, and issue Advisory Base Flood Elevations to provide State and Local officials with more accurate data and to guide local decisions regarding reconstruction. Issued after a major flood The map and /or flood study underestimated the hazard Reasonably utilize ABFEs to protect reconstruction from the true hazard, not the one shown on the map (don t use ABFE if it shows LESS risk than the current map) Community may add freeboard on top of ABFE Community can protest ABFE Practice Problem in completing the Elevation Certificate - 77 Moores Meadow Road, Vincentown, NJ (Block 2002, Lot 6)

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17 Other resources: Mad Mod Mgmt. support group What s new in flood hazard mapping New MT EZ and other MT forms Fact sheet on use of digital data

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