Depending on the area in which you live, you may be legally able to build a house in a flood plain. Although the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) map the country's flood plains and administer the flood insurance program, local municipalities also make laws governing the building in floodplains. These construction and building codes vary from location to location, so each property owner must consult the local planning office and submit to its procedures.
Things You'll Need
- Property title/deed
- BFE data
- Special permit or variance
- Flood insurance
- FEMA Elevation Certificate
Interview architects and builders to find one with experience building in flood plains and in the locality where you will construct the home.
Contract with the chosen architect and builder.
Visit the planning office of the city or town in which you will build to consult the flood plain map for the flood zone and base flood elevation (BFE) for the property. Take the property title to show ownership and in case it's required for any permit or variance application.
Consult with a city planner in the local office to determine what permits and variances are required.
Obtain and complete the permit and variance applications. (You may need to consult with the architect on the project for some information.)
Build the property with all living areas beginning above the BFE and adhering to any additional locality requirements.
Buy flood insurance through the National Flood Insurance Program.
Apply for and obtain the FEMA Elevation Certificate. The architect for the project will complete and submit this document. An engineer or surveyor may also be able to complete this document depending on state laws or regulations.
Tips & Warnings
- --Call the city planning office to ask for recommendations of local architects and builders before beginning your interview process. Its personnel will know who has experience in flood plain construction projects.
- --Find out the average processing time for each application or certificate needed, then add two weeks to it for your planning purposes.
- --Begin the FEMA Elevation Certificate process as soon as possible. Some states, such as North Carolina, require it before allowing the electricity to be turned on.
- Living in high-risk flood zones such as AE or VE presents an increased danger to life and property. Before moving into the new home, learn flood safety procedures and make a family emergency plan.
Flood Plain Building Restrictions
To participate in the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), a community must agree to take on the responsibility of floodplain management. One...
Why Are Houses Built on Stilts?
Across the world, architects choose to build houses raised on stilts. Constructed on the beach, above flood plains, in African villages, and...
How to Buy a House in a Flood Zone
The major difference in the home buying process for a house in a flood zone is the need for additional research and...
How to Build a Berm Around a House for Flood Protection
If your home experiences flooding from the existing drainage pattern of precipitation, constructing a berm can help solve the problem. A berm...
Steps to Flood Proof Your House
Flooding is common in many areas of the United States and causes a great amount of damage to homes. Flooding often comes...
Solutions for a Building in a Flood Zone
The Federal Emergency Management Agency conducts flood hazard analysis throughout the United States and maps the results on flood insurance rate maps,...
- FEMA's Building Requirements in Floodplains