A flood zone building requirements

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Having a house or a hotel or an office near a beach is a dream of many. The majority of people have at least once in their life have dreamt of having a house near the breathtaking view of the beech to witness the splendid sun setting and rising every day. However, this dream remains a dream because there are a lot of considerations and limitations to be observed. The most significant limitation is that areas near sea or rivers are mostly flood-prone. This is the biggest risk that makes people review their desire to build in a flood zone. However, the world’s increasing population compels individuals to make the most of locations where building can be made possible. Therefore, there are some considerations to be observed and requirements fulfilled to build in a flood zone.

Flood zones are the geographic areas that have a high risk of getting affected by the flood. Assignment writing service describes the flood zones broadly; the flood zones are categorized into four categories, namely special flood hazard areas, moderate flood hazard areas, minimal flood hazard areas, and undetermined risk areas.

  • Special flood hazard areas:

These areas include V zone, A zone, VE, V1-30 zones, AE zone, AH zone, AO zone, AR zone, and A99 zone. These are areas with higher flood risks and, therefore, more prone to damage caused by floodwater and wind pressure.

  • Moderate Flood Hazard Areas:

These areas include X zone and B zone that are moderately risky for floods.

  • Minimal Flood Hazard Areas:

These areas include X zone(unshaded) and C zone and have minimal risk for floods as the name refers to.

  • Undetermined Risk Areas:

Undetermined risk areas are those that have not been studied adequately for flood risk, and therefore, their risk is unknown or undetermined. D zone is included in this area.

Guidelines to be followed:

Despite all the risks associated with flood zones, the building is still possible if certain guidelines are observed.

Choice of the zone:

The first task is to choose the right zone that can support construction. The ideal flood zone for a building is Zone X that is included in the minimal risk flood zone. However, it must be kept in mind that the low-risk zone can also suffer from flooding, and they are not completely safe.

Choosing the right foundation type:

Another thing to be considered is the foundation type. The right foundation type can have a significant impact on flood insurance. Lower the foundation type, higher the flood insurance premiums, and vice versa. Therefore, it is beneficial to choose a foundation above the base flood elevation (BFE).

Building location:

The buildings, especially those built in V Zones, cannot be constructed over water. They must be landward and away from the mean highest tide.

Maintenance of elevation level:

All buildings built in flood zones are required to maintain a certain elevation level. The lowest floor of the building must be at least one to three-foot above the BEF.

In case you have an already built house that can not be elevated from the BFE, there are some options according to the condition to fix it. If the basement is below the BFE, it can be filled with the installment of flood vents.

Installation of flood vents:

Flood vents help prevent the hydrostatic pressure built-up during floods from destroying the foundation and walls of the building. You can either use an engineered flood vent or a non-engineered one. Engineered vents give more promising performance and last longer than non-engineered vents. But they are more expensive to buy, offering less maintenance cost. However, both are effective in preventing your building safe from floodwater.

Another method is to abandon the basement for regular use or turn it into something like a garage. Moreover, you can also elevate the floor, provided the ceilings are tall enough. After elevation, the space becomes ready for flood vents to be installed.

Elevation Certificate:

The owner must get an elevation certificate to get his building certified for standard elevation from the ground. The elevation of the building from the ground is documented three times during the construction. Firstly, preconstruction, then during construction, and finally finished construction.

Floodproofing:

In special flood hazard zones, for non-residential buildings, instead of elevation, floodproofing is also acceptable. The floodproofing must be documented and certified through a Floodproofing certificate.

Strong supporting foundation system:

The supporting foundation system and the elevated portion must not be prone to displacement, collapse, or any kind of structural damage caused by floodwater and wind pressure at the time of the flood.

Flood resistant material:

The walls of the building must be constructed with materials that are flood-resistant, and adequate flood openings must be provided in between them.

Extra care of electrical equipment:

All electrical equipment, including ventilating, heating, and air conditioning facilities, must be installed at least three feet above the BFE and a freeboard. There must be taken extreme care that the water does not enter within the system or cause a short circuit.

Lower floor usage:

The space below the last floor or the basement must only be used for storage or parking of vehicles. There must be very limited storage in that area, including items such as lawnmowers, wheelbarrows, rakes, or small equipment. It should not include large items such as freezers, workbenches, appliances, household furnishings, or other items that are prone to get damaged from floodwater. It should not be used for human habitation or installed with electric equipment. The building owner must sign an affidavit to assure that this area will never be used as a living space.

Design reviewed by a professional:

The structural design of the building must be developed and reviewed by a professional architect or engineer to ensure that the construction plan is in accordance with the standard practice for construction in flood zones.

Anchoring:

The building and all its components are required to be properly anchored. The building must be anchored to its piers/columns. Similarly, the piers must be anchored to the ground and the porches and stairways to their foundation with corrosion-resistant hardware. Even if you have a swimming pool built in the building, it must be anchored to the ground.

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