Elevation Certificate Information


Elevation Certificate Overview

As part of the agreement for making flood insurance available in a community, the NFIP requires the community to adopt floodplain management regulations that specify minimum requirements for reducing flood losses.  One such requirement is for the community to obtain the elevation of the lowest floor (including basement) of all new and substantially improved buildings, and maintain a record of such information.  The Elevation Certificate provides a way for a community to document compliance with the community’s floodplain management ordinance.


Elevation Certificate Requirement

Elevation Certificate (fema.gov)

A community’s permit file must have an official record that shows new buildings and substantial improvements in all identified Special Flood Hazard Areas (SFHAs) are properly elevated. This elevation information is needed to show compliance with the floodplain management ordinance. FEMA encourages communities to use the Elevation Certificate developed by FEMA to fulfill this requirement since it also can be used by the property owner to obtain flood insurance. Communities participating in the Community Rating System (CRS) are required to use the FEMA Online Elevation Certificate (FEMA 81-31).

National Flood Insurance Program Requirements

  • Requirement to Obtain Lowest Floor Elevation in Zone A

Link to the Elevation Certificatefema_nfip_elevation-certificate-form-instructions_feb-2020.   The EC form is fillable and can be completed in either Adobe Acrobat Pro or Adobe Reader and saved.  Expiration date extended.


Elevation Certificates: Who needs them and why

If your home or business is in a high-risk area, your insurance agent will likely need an Elevation Certificate (EC) to determine your flood insurance premium.

Floods mean rising water.  Knowing your building’s elevation compared to the estimated height of floodwater helps determine your flood risk and the cost of your flood insurance.

An EC documents the elevation of your building for the floodplain managers enforcing local building ordinances and for insurance rating purposes.

Communities participating in the Community Rating System (CRS) are required to use the FEMA Elevation Certificate.

The NFIP Elevation Certificate is an administrative tool of the NFIP which is to be used to provide elevation information necessary to ensure compliance with community floodplain management ordinances, to determine the proper insurance premium rate, or support a request for a Letter of Map Amendment (LOMA) or a Letter of Map Amendment based on fill (LOMR-F).


How an EC is used in Kentucky

If your building is in a high-risk area—a zone indicated with the letter A  on a Flood Insurance Rate Map (FIRM)—the EC includes important information that is needed for determining a risk-based premium rate for a flood insurance policy.

For example, the EC shows the location of the building, Lowest Floor Elevation, building characteristics, and flood zone. 

  • Lowest Floor Elevation (LFE). The measured distance of a building’s lowest floor above the National Geodetic Vertical Datum (NGVD) or other datum specified on the FIRM for that location.

Your insurance agent will use the EC to compare your building’s elevation to the Base Flood Elevation (BFE) shown on the flood map being used for rating and determine the cost to cover your flood risk.

Base Flood Elevation (BFE). The elevation of surface water resulting from a flood that has a 1% chance of equaling or exceeding that level in any given year. The BFE is shown on the Flood Insurance Rate Map (FIRM) for zones AE, AH, A1–A30, AR, AR/A, AR/AE, AR/A1– A30, AR/AH, AR/AO, V1–V30 and VE.

  • Base flood elevations
  • Lowest flood elevation
  • Pre-FIRM and Post-FIRM buildings
  • How to calculate elevation differences
  • Building types and the EC’s ten building diagrams


CRS Elevation Certificates Checklist


Residential Buildings with Basements

Since 1971, the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) has required that:

  • Residential buildings have their lowest floor (including basement) elevated to or above the Base Flood Elevation (BFE)
  • Non-residential buildings must be elevated or dry floodproofed (in A Zones only) to the Base Flood Elevation (BFE)

For residential buildings, basements may be permitted below the BFE only if a community obtains an exception under 44 CFR 60.6(b) or (c).

A community must obtain an exception from FEMA prior to permitting the construction of residences with floodproofed basements below the Base Flood Elevation.


Floodproofing Certificate

Documentation of certification by a registered professional engineer or architect that the design and methods of construction of a nonresidential building are in accordance with accepted practices for meeting the floodproofing requirements in the community’s floodplain management ordinance. This documentation is required for both floodplain management requirements and insurance rating purposes.

For insurance rating purposes, a building’s floodproofed design elevation must be at least one foot above the Base Flood Elevation (BFE) to receive full rating credit for the floodproofing. If the building is floodproofed only to the BFE, the flood insurance rates will be considerably higher.

Communities are encouraged to use the one-page FEMA floodproofing certification form because it fulfills NFIP insurance rating needs as well as floodplain management requirements.

National Flood Insurance Program Requirements

  • 60.0 – Criteria for Land Management and Use
  • 60.3 (b)(5) – Requirement to Obtain Lowest Floor Elevation in Zone A
  • 60.3 (c)(3) – Requirements for Nonresidential Buildings
  • 60.3 (c)(4) – Floodproofing Certification

Other Applicable NFIP Regulations

  • 60.3 (c) (8)


Non-Residential Floodproofing

A Floodproofing Certificate for Non-Residential Structures is required for the following types of buildings (in A zones only):

  • Floodproofed non-residential buildings (no residential uses).
  • Floodproofed mixed-use buildings that are professionally designed with all residential uses located above the floodproofing design elevation. NFIP Regulations.

Link toNon-Residential Floodproofing – Requirements and Certification

or https://www.fema.gov/sites/default/files/2020-07/nfip_t3_04011993_0.pdf


Floodproofing Non-Residential Buildings Guidance 

The primary objective of this publication is to provide guidance on floodproofing existing non-residential buildings in riverine areas and coastal areas that are not subject to wave action. Floodproofing will be most successful in areas subject to relatively shallow flood depths. The floodproofing concepts in this document may be applicable to:

  • Core areas of critical facilities
  • Buildings subject to frequent, low-level flooding for a level of protection lower than the base flood elevation (BFE)
  • New construction

Link to Floodproofing Non-Residential Buildings


FEMA Form 086-0-34 – Floodproofing Certificate for Non-residential Structures

This is a legal form that was released on December 1, 2019.

Link to the fema-form-086-0-34-floodproofing-certificate-for-non-residential-structures.  

While the expiration has expired, it is still a good form.


Wet Floodproofing

Example of wet floodproofing

Wet Floodproofing includes permanent or contingent measures applied to a structure or its contents that prevent or provide resistance to damage from flooding while allowing floodwaters to enter the structure or area. Generally, this includes properly anchoring the structure, using flood resistant materials below the Base Flood Elevation (BFE), protection of mechanical and utility equipment, and use of openings or breakaway walls.

Application of wet floodproofing as a flood protection technique under the NFIP is limited to enclosures below elevated residential and non-residential structures and to accessory and agricultural structures that have been issued variances by the community. See enclosure, accessory structure and agricultural structure.

NFIP Requirements

  • IS-9 Managing Floodplain Development Through The NFIP (page 3-33)
  • Wet Floodproofing Requirements (FIA-TB-7)

Link to Technical-bulletin-7-wet-floodproofing-guidance.  Provides guidance on the NFIP regulations concerning wet floodproofing of certain types of structures located in Zones A, AE, A1-A30, AR, AO, and AH.


FEMA Elevation Certificate Videos

December 18, 2020

The CRS Program has just released 8 videos that cover training on the FEMA Elevation Certificate (EC).  The videos describe each Section of the EC and explain which fields on the form are required for CRS purposes and why.  Each video explains the most common errors we see on the forms and how to avoid them.  We also have 2 videos covering general issues associated with ECs such as form date rules, page rules, how to handle annexations, how to handle Flood Insurance Rate Map (FIRM) changes after a building is permitted, and how to document different kinds of buildings.  And lastly, we have a video on how to correct and EC once you find one with errors.

The videos should be watched beginning with Section A of the form, and ending with “How to Correct an Elevation Certificate.” They are intended to serve community officials, but please feel free to share these videos with the surveyors, engineers, and architects in your community who fill out these forms.  They will benefit greatly from them as well.   

  1. How To Fill Out Section A For CRS Purposes
  2. How to Fill Out Section B For CRS Purposes
  3. How to Fill Out Section C & D For CRS Purposes
  4. How to Fill Out Section E & F For CRS Purposes
  5. How to Fill Out Section G For CRS Purposes
  6. General Issues, Part 1
  7. General Issues, Part 2
  8. How To Correct an EC

Link to the YouTube videoshttps://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLRJw9u8nGNwP8sFZFMCyDqWNR1XnmzkpR




KAMM mailing address: KAMM, PO Box 1016, Frankfort, KY 40602-1016.  

Have questions, contact us at kentuckymitigation@gmail.com.