Elevation Certificate Instructions

Elevation measurements from surveyors assist with flood management compliance.
Elevation measurements from surveyors assist with flood management compliance. (Image: Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images)

Elevation certificates are a tool to help communities ensure that all buildings comply with floodplain management regulations. A building may also need an elevation certificate to be issued a policy through the Federal Emergency Management Agency's National Flood Insurance Program. This certificate does not cover flood-proofing measures; it only certifies building elevations. FEMA requires that these certificates be completed by surveyors, architects and engineers who are authorized to certify elevations.

Complete sections A and B of the certificate, providing information such as the building owner's name, the address, a description of the property and the latitude and longitude. You might also allow the building owner to complete these two sections. In section B, enter the applicable flood zone for the building and the base flood elevation. If you are unsure about this information, contact FEMA's map service center at 1-800-358-9616.

Attach two color photographs of the property that depict the entire building. You may provide additional photos if they are necessary to show the entire building. Affix your photographs to the designated page of the certificate. If additional photos are needed, attach those to the continuation page.

Complete your survey of the property and fill in section C of the elevation certificate. If the building is located in zone A or zone AO, skip this section and fill in section E instead. Provide all requested elevations of the building, including the crawlspace, lowest and highest adjacent grades outside the building and the elevation of the attached garage, if applicable.

Supply your professional information in section D, including your license number, contact information and seal. Sign and date the certificate.

Complete section E only if the building is located in zones A or AO. Provide all requested elevations, such as the top of the building's bottom floor in relation to the highest adjacent grade outside the building.

Ask the property owner to complete section F only if he completed sections A, B or E. He must sign and date the section.

Ask the community's authorized floodplain management official to complete section G only if he completed any sections of the certificate. He must provide the building's permit number and his contact information before signing and dating the certificate.

Tips & Warnings

  • Download and print the elevation certificate and accompanying instruction sheet from FEMA's website under “FEMA Library.”

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