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Communities must require that all new construction and substantial improvements of residential structures within Zones A1-30, AE and AH Zones on the community's Flood Insurance Rate Map (FIRM) have the lowest floor (including basement) elevated to or above the Base Flood Eelevation (BFE). Common elevation techniques include elevation on file, elevation on piles, piers or columns, and elevation on extended foundation walls such as on a crawl space.

In areas designated as Zone A, the community must obtain, review, and reasonably utilize BFE data available from a Federal, State, or other source and use these data as criteria for requiring that new construction and substantial improvements of residential structures have the lowest floor (including basement) elevated to or above the BFE.

All new construction and substantial improvement in Zones V1-30, VE, and also Zone V (if BFE data is available), must be elevated on pilings and columns so that the bottom of the lowest horizontal structural member of the lowest floor (excluding the pilings or columns) is elevated to or above the BFE.

For residential structures in AO Zones, the lowest floor (including basement) must be elevated at least as high as the depth number specified in feet on the community's map, or at least two feet if no number is specified.

National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) Requirement

60.3 - Floodplain management criteria for floodprone areas

  • 60.3 (a) (3) - Reasonably Safe From Flooding
  • 60.3 (b) (4) - Available Data
  • 60.3 (c) (2) - A Zone Residential Buildings
  • 60.3 (c) (3) - A Zone Nonresidential Buildings
  • 60.3 (c) (7) - Zone AO Residential Buildings
  • 60.3 (c) (8) - Zone AO Nonresidential Buildings
  • 60.3 (e) (4) - Zone V Buildings

Other Applicable National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) Regulations:

  • 60.3 (b) (5) - Elevation Certificate
  • 60.3 (c) (4) - Floodproofing Certificate
  • 60.3 (c) (5) - Openings
  • 60.3 (c) (10) - Cumulative Effects of Development
  • 60.3 (d) (3) - Floodway Encroachment


IS-9 Managing Floodplain Development Through The National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) (entire document)

  • Pages 5-29 to 5-32
  • Page 5-48 - V Zone construction
  • Page 5-44 - AO Zone construction

Homeowner's Guide to Retrofitting (FEMA 312)

Openings in Foundation Walls and Walls of Enclosures (Technical Bulletin 1) (2008)

Free-Of-Obstruction Requirements (Technical Bulletin 5) (2008)

Elevation Above the Flood: Elevating Your Floodprone House

Related Keywords

Base Flood Elevation (BFE)
Elevation Certificate
Existing Construction
New Construction
Permit for Floodplain Development
Start of Construction
Substantial Improvement

Special Topic Resources


Managing Floodplain Development (IS-9) 5-29


Coastal Construction Manual (FEMA 55)

  • Section
  • Section 12.4.3
Last Updated: 
07/24/2014 - 16:00
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