An elevation certificate survey is a process that assesses the height of a building compared to the potential flood level. This type of survey is often necessary for properties located in flood-risk areas to evaluate flood exposure and establish insurance costs. In essence, an elevation certificate survey protects properties, assists in effective flood risk management, and facilitates a proactive approach to property investment and protection in flood-prone regions.
A LOMA, or Letter of Map Amendment, is an official document issued by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) in the United States. It is used to change the status of a property’s flood zone designation. A property owner can request a LOMA if they believe their property is incorrectly designated as being in a high-risk flood zone. This document officially amends the floodplain map to exclude the property from the high-risk flood zone, potentially resulting in lower flood insurance premiums for the property owner.
The elevation certificate is used by the relevant authorities or insurance companies, aiding in determining insurance rates and evaluating flood vulnerability accurately. These surveys provide crucial documentation for local authorities and regulatory agencies, ensuring adherence to floodplain management regulations and enhancing community resilience against potential flooding events.
When FEMA updates floodplain maps, some properties that were previously considered to be in a high-risk flood zone might have their elevations re-evaluated due to changes in the surrounding landscape or updated flood data. A property owner can request a LOMA if they believe their property is incorrectly designated as being in a high-risk flood zone.
The survey begins with data collection, involving property records, flood maps, and elevation data. During a site visit, specialized equipment is used to measure the height of the structure’s lowest floor and associated utility systems. Using this data, a professional prepares an elevation certificate that contains comprehensive details about the property’s elevation, flood zone, and more. This certificate is then certified by a licensed surveyor or engineer, ensuring the accuracy of the information provided. Additionally, the LOMA, if applicable, is prepared to seek an amendment to the property’s flood zone status based on the elevation data. The elevation certificate and LOMA, if obtained, are submitted to relevant authorities or insurance providers.