Construction Requirements in Coastal Areas

This National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) and local building codes have regulatory requirements concerning coastal construction. The Federal Emergency Management Agency has produced a series of fact sheets called the Home Builder's Guide to Coastal Construction Technical Fact Sheet Series (FEMA 499). Technical Fact Sheet 2 summarizes NFIP regulatory requirements and recommendations for exceeding those requirements for both (1) new construction and (2) repairs, remodeling, and additions.

The Key Issues covered in FEMA 499 Technical Fact Sheet 2 are:

  • New construction* in coastal flood hazard areas (V zones and A zones) must meet minimum NFIP and community requirements. Repairs, remodeling, and additions must meet community requirements and may also be subject to NFIP requirements.

  • NFIP design and construction requirements are more stringent in V zones than in A zones, in keeping with the increased flood, wave, floodborne debris and erosion hazards in V zones.

  • Some coastal areas mapped as A zones may be subject to damaging waves and erosion (these areas are often referred to as Coastal A Zones). Buildings in these areas constructed to minimum NFIP A-zone requirements may sustain major damage or be destroyed during the Base Flood. It is strongly recommended that buildings in A zones subject to breaking waves and erosion be designed and constructed to V-zone standards.

  • Buildings constructed to minimum NFIP A-zone standards and subject solely to shallow flooding without the threat from breaking waves and erosion will generally sustain only minor damage during the Base Flood.

  • Following the recommendations in this fact sheet will result in lower damage to the building and reduced flood insurance premiums (see the V-Zone Risk Factor Rating Form in FEMA's Flood Insurance Manual (

* For floodplain management purposes, new construction means structures for which the start of construction began on or after the effective date of a floodplain management regulation adopted by a community. Substantial improvements, repairs of substantial damage, and some enclosures must meet most of the same requirements as new construction.

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7/22/2007 6:38:26 AM
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