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Elevation Certificate

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Skeeter1996
(@skeeter1996)
Posts: 1360
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@joe-b I'll admit I'm biased against the FEMA FIRM Maps program. I think the FEMA FIRM Maps are a big scam on the American public. The Elevation Certificate on their site doesn't work properly and now I discovered they change the FIRM maps on the MAP SERVICE CENTER without notice.

In 2017 I did an Elevation Certificate for the property next door to one I did yesterday 10/15/2021. Checking my files for the property next door I discovered the 2017 FIRM Map has different Base Flood Elevations than the FIRM Map today. A Base Flood Elevation of 3428.9 in 2017 is now 3430. In 2017 FEMA issued a LOMA on the property as being out of the Flood Plain, today the FIRM Map would indicate it's back in the Flood Plain. Both FIRM Maps have effective dates of 3/19/2013 and the same Map Panel Number. The recent FIRM has clearer imagery. The County has been holding people's feet to the fire for being 0.1 foot below the BFE, but apparently FEMA changes the BFEs at will.

 
Posted : October 16, 2021 3:30 pm
Skeeter1996
(@skeeter1996)
Posts: 1360
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@dougie I think FEMA is the  ID10T.

 
Posted : October 16, 2021 3:59 pm
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Mike Marks
(@mike-marks)
Posts: 1136
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@skeeter1996 FEMA/FIRMS/elevation certificates are a creation of  the National Flood Insurance Program that is woefully inadequate as an actuarial insurance business.  Rather than basing risk on actual claims they try to base premiums on a magic elevation which sounds reasonable but hydrology is a tricky science.

Agreed flooding is the biggest loss of infrastructure annually in the US and should be insured but getting it down to the nit with an elevation certificate is folly.  I've done a half dozen ECs where the client was within a foot or two of certification but my two mile level run to their foundation resulted in a yes/no determination within one tenth. Sad.

I've never done any ECs  since then except when the subject property is tens of feet above FIRM maps based on a cursory examination or sadly below by several feet.  My phone advice is either you're way safe from flooding or move if your own eyes suspect the creek/rainstorms will flood your place, or pay exorbitant premiums for NFA coverage.

 
Posted : October 16, 2021 5:11 pm

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Skeeter1996
(@skeeter1996)
Posts: 1360
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@mike-marks Insurance rate determinations are exactly what they were meant for. The Federal Government has now pressured States to enforce FEMA's Base Flood Elevations into Building Permits. I've recently had two clients ordered by County Officials to remove buildings that are less than 1 foot below the mythical Base Flood Elevation. County Officials tell me they are audited for conformance to FIRM Map delineations and there is no room for logic.

 
Posted : October 16, 2021 5:26 pm
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Ben Purvis
(@ben-purvis)
Posts: 188
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@joe-b Hmmmm, from the link to the changes: "Eliminating the Elevation Certificate (EC)
requirement for rating purposes, while
allowing ECs optionally for all buildings."........I wonder what exactly this means.

 
Posted : October 24, 2021 12:33 pm
Andy J
(@andy-j)
Posts: 3028
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another tip...   I use  Irfan photo editor... you can save your files to a specific size so that the form doesn't get too huge.   

Print to your PDF driver to create a file that can't be adjusted and then digitally sign that.   You don't have to even print the form most of the time these days.   

 
Posted : October 24, 2021 1:15 pm

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Andy J
(@andy-j)
Posts: 3028
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@ben-purvis 

 

My insurance company owner friend told me that they are phasing out of even using EC forms for ratings.   They are using available online data.    I'm fine with that.   These things keep me up at night.  And not in a good way.

 

Andy 

 
Posted : October 24, 2021 1:17 pm
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Skeeter1996
(@skeeter1996)
Posts: 1360
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The good point of the new FIRM is the BFEs are to the foot and not tenths of a foot.

 

 
Posted : October 24, 2021 2:27 pm
Joe B
(@joe-b)
Posts: 86
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@ben-purvis 

I'm not sure, but the way I understand it is that you don't need an EC, but if you disagree with FEMA's assessment of your insurance rate then you can get an EC to argue it or get it lowered.  The new assessment process takes into account historical flooding information for the site and is geared toward more "equitable outcomes."  I also read somewhere that the elevation and flood zone is not the primary consideration of FEMA.  I am still trying to figure it out.  EC's are optional where they used to be required from what I understand. 

 
Posted : October 28, 2021 1:08 pm

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dmyhill
(@dmyhill)
Posts: 2694
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Posted by: @andy-j

another tip...   I use  Irfan photo editor... you can save your files to a specific size so that the form doesn't get too huge.   

Print to your PDF driver to create a file that can't be adjusted and then digitally sign that.   You don't have to even print the form most of the time these days.   

Bluebeam. 

If you had it, you would never want to be without it.

 
Posted : October 28, 2021 2:08 pm
holy cow
(@holy-cow)
Posts: 23822
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Had a call yesterday from a real estate agent with a listing for a small tract that is 100 percent in the flood plain as shown on the  current FIRM.  Potential buyer says he will buy it if he can put a new house on it.  Says he has a bunch of silt that he dug out of the bottom of some farm pond that he can haul in to raise the elevation of the final surface to whatever I determine.  Kinda, sorta told the agent the potential buyer was a &*%^[email protected]# and I had no interest in abetting a crime against nature.

 
Posted : October 28, 2021 3:01 pm
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