Engineers, surveyors, and architects play an important role in updating flood hazard maps and particularly in providing data that homeowners can use to request a Letter of Map Change (LOMC). This page provides information for engineers, surveyors and architects on the requirements and processes for requesting LOMCs and flood hazard map updates as well as understanding the Risk MAP Program.
As part of the Risk MAP program, FEMA is working with communities across the country to develop Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRMs) and Flood Insurance Study (FIS) reports and flood risk products to accurately depict and assess flood risk. You, as an engineer, surveyor or architect, also play a role in Risk MAP. You may be involved in the development of new or updated flood hazard information for FIRMs or other Risk MAP products. You may be working on a project within a Special Flood Hazard Area (SFHA) and/or processing a Letter of Map Change (LOMC) request to a FIRM on behalf of a property owner, community or private firm.
The information on this page includes links to resources to help you better understand the Risk MAP program, the LOMC process and FEMA requirements and expectations for project submittals.
Know Your Risk
Get the necessary information to understand the mapped flood risk and zone(s) for your project area:
- Find existing community FIRMs through the FEMA Map Service Center (MSC). For areas that already have digitally produced FIRMs, the data will also be available in GIS format through the National Flood Hazard Layer (NFHL). Keep in mind that LOMCs may have been processed in your project area after the effective date of the FIRM. Recent Letters of Map Revision (LOMRs) will be included in the NFHL.
- Order engineering back up information used to develop the flood hazard information shown on community FIRMs and LOMCs through the FEMA Engineering Library.
Know Your Role
Make sure you understand your role as an engineer, surveyor or architect when performing flood risk or LOMC-related projects. The resources listed below can help.
- See the different steps and deliverables that may be involved for flood risk projects on the Risk MAP Project Lifecycle page.
- The Cooperating Technical Partners (CTP) Program creates partnerships between FEMA and communities, regional agencies, states, tribes and universities with the interest and capability to become more active participants in Risk MAP. To learn more, visit FEMA’s CTP page.
- Learn how to properly request a change or amendment to the FIRM. Make sure you understand the different types of LOMCs and which applies to your project. This includes Conditional Letters of Map Revision (CLOMRs) for proposed projects located in the SFHA. The submittal requirements (including fees and forms) and process will vary based on the LOMC type.
Your project, if processed in accordance with the required FEMA, state and local requirements and standards, will help ensure that the FIRM and FIS report and other flood risk products reflect the most up-to-date conditions. Here are ways you can take action to make your project a success.
- Use the latest tools available from FEMA including Online LOMC or eLOMA processing and free specialized software for projects to update flood hazards, FIRMs and FIS reports
- FEMA provides guidance and standards for Risk MAP deliverables. Make sure your deliverables meet the necessary standards
- Make sure your project meets local permitting and building requirements. Contact the community officials where your project is located to confirm requirements which must be met. Be sure to correctly complete Elevation Certificate forms, which are required for certain LOMC requests and are used to verify compliance with building requirements
- Understand the NFIP regulations applicable to your project, read Technical Bulletins which provide guidance on NFIP building standards and adhere to NFIP and accepted industry building codes for flood-resistant design for construction projects
- Be informed of property protection measures that can be used to reduce flood risk. Advise your clients to build outside of the SFHA and/or encourage them to use these protection measures. More information is available through FEMA’s Building Science resources
More Resources for Engineers, Surveyors and Contractors
- Risk MAP Program
- Risk MAP Project Lifecycle Page
- Status of Map Change Requests
- NFIP Policy Keyword Index
- FEMA Flood Hazard Mapping
- Flood Hazard Mapping: Information for Engineers, Surveyors and Architects
- Living with Levees: Information for CTPs, Engineers, Surveyors and Contractors
- Coastal Flood Risk: Information for CTPs, Engineers, Surveyors and Contractors
- Managing Floodplain Development in Approximate Zone A Areas: A Guide for Obtaining and Developing Base Flood Elevations, FEMA Publication 265
- Flood Zone A Manual (Provides engineering guidelines for determining Base Flood Elevations in Special Flood Hazard Areas studied by approximate methods only)
- Answers to Questions About the NFIP, FEMA Publication F-084
- Compliance with the Endangered Species Act (ESA) for Letters of Map Change
- FEMA Flood Map Service Center (The official source for FEMA flood maps)
- NFIP Regulations (The following regulations can be found on the Government Priniting Office website)
- Part 60: Criteria for Land Management Use
- Part 65: Identification and Mapping of Special Hazard Areas
- Part 67: Appeals from Proposed Flood Elevation Determinations
- Part 72: Procedures & Fees for Processing Map Changes
- Title 44 - Emergency Management and Assistance
- FloodSmart.gov (The official website of the NFIP)
Answers to the most Frequently Asked Questions are provided for the following user groups: homeowners, engineers, surveyors and architects, insurance professionals and lenders and floodplain managers.
- Call (1-877) FEMA MAP (1-877-336-2627) Monday through Friday, 8:00 am through 6:30 pm (Eastern Time)
- Email the FMIX
- Chat with a Map Specialist Monday through Friday, 9:00 am to 5:00 pm (Eastern Time)
Subscribe to receive flood hazard mapping updates via email.
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