Elevation certificates are FEMA forms used to rate a structure for flood insurance purposes. They are also needed by the Seabrook Building Department to verify that a structure has been built in compliance with the floodplain ordinance and other regulations. The City has been requiring elevation certificates for development in the floodplain at three stages:
- Along with the construction drawings
- Building under construction
- Finished construction
Elevation certificates should be turned into the Building Department when scheduling the pier / foundation inspection so that it can be reviewed by the Inspectors prior to the field inspection.
Development in the shaded X zone must have an elevation certificate prior to the pouring of the form. As of November 18, 2008, the City requires a 12-inch freeboard in unshaded X zones, and certified elevations are required with the plan set for proof that the structure and machinery will meet that elevation.
If a home in the floodplain is bought with a federally-backed mortgage, a mandatory flood insurance purchase requirement accompanies the sale, and the new homeowner must maintain flood insurance on the structure for the life of the loan or until a map change or other circumstances take the property out of the floodplain. An elevation certificate will be required in those instances. The document will also come in handy when the City goes through a map change or some type of disaster affects the properties in the city.
In addition to providing the form to the insurance agent or lender, it is important for homeowners to provide the Seabrook Building Department with that form as well. Since the insurance agent will require the form, it should not be an added expense to the homeowner to provide a copy to the City. These forms do not fall under the category of documents that requires a privacy act statement for access.