FEMA Elevation Certificate
Depending on the type of flood zone shown, a FEMA (Flood Emergency Management Agency) elevation certificate has several applications. For a zone A flood zone or any flood zone with no Base Flood Elevation (BFE) the graphics on the FIRM maps that indicate flooding are to be held. Typically this is done by scaling the distance from roads or bodies of water to the flood zone.
At Land Planning, Inc. we scan these images and overlay them onto satellite imagery with transparencies on. We do this so we can compare the streets, bodies of water, and other FIRM features to those in the satellite imagery for a more accurate hold. In the past we have see roads move, lakes filled, rivers eroded, or just poorly drawn FEMA maps. Scaling of the map is no easy feet. This is most likely the largest reason why FEMA has been updating there maps to include satellite imagery.
For flood zone AE or A1-A30 or other zones with a Base Flood Elevation (BFE) a more accurate approach can be taken to determine FEMA flood zones relative to your structures. Since these flood zones come with a Flood Insurance Study (FIS) the elevations of 100 year and 500 year floods have been determined. To determine if you are in a flood zone of this type we have to transfer the elevation to your structures from a reliable bench mark. There are databases of such monuments. Some elevation bench marks are found on older FEMA maps typically at bridge crossings, some are in an NGS (National Geodetic Survey) database, others were set by Land Planning, Inc. during our 28 years of work, and others are available at local Municipalities. This is the one factor that we will take into account when giving a Free Estimate for this type of work. The closer you are to a reliable bench mark the cheaper the estimate.
Recently FEMA has updated many of there Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRM). These new maps have included satellite imagery and have bean drawn with updated topography. Now banks can see that structures which they hold a mortgages to are appearing in or near to flood hazard areas. These banks are notifying the owners that they need to apply for flood insurance or the bank will charge them a yearly premium if they do not comply. If this has happened to you an elevation certificate can certainly save you money.
If you are in a zone A the elevation certificate will give FEMA information about your structure relative to the lowest and highest adjacent grades (LAG, HAG) along with GPS location of your structure. This data will allow your insurance agent to determine if you are or are not in the flood area, and also to provide you with a flood insurance rate.
If you are in a zone AE or A1-30 the elevation certificate will provide your insurance agent with the precise elevation of your structures in relation to the Base Flood Elevation (BFE). This data can prove if you are above the Flood Insurance Study (FIS) flood elevation. If you are not above it, then it will help FEMA accurately rate the insurance based on the potential level of flooding of your structures.
If your structures are in a zone A flood zone but you are convinced your home does not flood please see our Letter of Map Amendment (LOMA) service.
If your structure is determined to be below the Base Flood Elevation (BFE) it is sometimes possible to place fill around your structure and submit a Letter of Map Revision based on fill (LOMR-F).