The Elevation Certificate is an important administrative tool of the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). It is to be used to provide elevation information necessary to ensure compliance with community floodplain management ordinances, to determine the proper insurance premium rate, and to support a request for a Letter of Map Amendment or Revision (LOMA or LOMR-F). The Elevation Certificate is required in order to properly rate post-FIRM buildings, which are buildings constructed after publication of the Flood Insurance Rate Map (FIRM). The Elevation Certificate is not required for pre-FIRM (prior to 11/19/1980) buildings unless the building is being rated under the optional post-FIRM flood insurance rules.
As part of the agreement for making flood insurance available in a community, the NFIP requires the community to adopt a floodplain management ordinance that specifies minimum requirements for reducing flood losses. One such requirement is for the community to obtain the elevation of the lowest floor (including basement) of all new and substantially improved buildings and maintain a record of such information. "Substantial improvement" means any reconstruction, rehabilitation, addition or other improvement to a structure, the total cost of which equals or exceeds 50 percent of the market value of the structure before the start of construction of the improvement. The Elevation Certificate provides a way for a community to comply with this requirement.
Use of this certificate does not provide a waiver of the flood insurance purchase requirement. Only a LOMA or LOMR-F from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) can amend the FIRM and remove the Federal mandate for a lending institution to require the purchase of flood insurance. However, the lending institution has the option of requiring flood insurance even if a LOMA/LOMR-F has been issued by FEMA. The Elevation Certificate may be used to support a LOMA or LOMR-F request. Lowest floor and lowest adjacent grade elevations certified by a surveyor or engineer will be required if the certificate is used to support a LOMA or LOMR-F request.
This certificate is used only to certify building elevations. A separate certificate is required for floodproofing. Under the NFIP, non-residential buildings can be floodproofed up to or above the Base Flood Elevation (BFE). A floodproofed building is a building that has been designed and constructed to be watertight (substantially impermeable to floodwaters) below the BFE. Floodproofing of residential buildings is not permitted under the NFIP unless FEMA has granted the community an exception for residential floodproofed basements. The community must adopt standards for design and construction of floodproofed basements before FEMA will grant a basement exception. For both floodproofed non-residential buildings and residential floodproofed basements in communities that have been granted an exception by FEMA, a floodproofing certificate is required.
These certificates are prepared by Engineers, Architects or Land Surveyors registered in our State. Blank forms and instructions for completion may be found at the FEMA Elevation Certificate page or you may download the certificate here.