House Elevation: Base Flood Elevation (BFE) and How High to Lift

Our builder, architect, and lift expert all reviewed the proposed new elevation height, comparing the blueprints with the tree markings (see picture below). The base elevation is a key piece of the puzzle when determining how high you need to lift your property to meet FEMA guidelines. 

In order to lower your flood insurance premiums, you must follow FEMA guidelines for base flood elevation (BFE). 

Tell-tale signs of change
Tell-tale signs of change

Three markers were placed in our tree highlighting the key elevations of our property. They were determined based on our city codes and FEMA.

They had to be measured for accuracy and placed by a surveyor. The top of each pink ribbon is the official line.

The lowest ribbon defines the base flood elevation (BFE) for our property. The BFE is the 100-year flood line or a flood that has a 1% chance of occurring in any given year.

“The BFE is the regulatory requirement for the elevation or floodproofing of structures. The relationship between the BFE and a structure’s elevation determines the flood insurance premium.” (source: FEMA)

Our community additionally stipulates that any elevation project lift  2 feet higher than the BFE.

The middle pink ribbon illustrates what will be the new elevation of our back family room. The highest pink ribbon illustrates the what will be the new elevation of the front of our house.

In order to have common standards, the NFIP adopted a baseline probability called the base flood. The base flood is the one-percent annual chance flood. The one-percent annual chance flood is the flood that has a one-percent (one out of 100) chance of occurring in any given year. The base flood, which is also informally referred to as the 100-year flood, is the national standard used by the NFIP and all Federal agencies for the purposes of requiring the purchase of flood insurance and regulating new development. FEMA

For the construction crew to actually work underneath our house while building up the foundation walls, initially the house will be lifted a foot higher than the intended height. The house will sit in the air, supported by steel beams, wood pylons and hydraulic  jacks before being lowered back down onto the newly built foundation.

For more information check out:

What is my Advisory Base Flood Elevation (ABFE)?


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