When you live in a high-risk flood area, you need to have an elevation certificate or EC. This lets you know the elevation of your building in comparison to the estimated potential for flood water height. Ideally, you want the elevation of your building to be above the potential for flood waters. Having a building that is elevated above flood waters will help lower your insurance rates and will you meet local building ordinance requirements.
When it comes to getting an elevation certificate, there are a variety of different sources you can turn to to get an EC.
#1 The Sellers of the Property
If you are purchasing a new piece of property, ask the people selling the property if they already have an EC that they can provide you with. If they don't have an EC and you don't want to go about securing one for yourself, you can make providing the EC a condition of the purchase of the property
#2 The Developer or Builder
If you are purchasing a building from a local builder or a developer, they should have an EC. Generally, builders are required to get an EC as part of the building authorization process. If you already purchased the property and you know who built the property, you can reach out to them and see if they still have the EC on file.
#3 The Deed of the Property
Oftentimes, the deed of the property includes the EC. It can be easy to miss this simple document when you are going through all the different documents included with the deed. Review the deed paperwork and see if an EC was included.
#4 Check with the Flood Plain Manager
Your area should have a local flood plain manager if your community participates in the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). The person who represents your local community may already have an EC on file for your property. If they do have an EC on file and no construction changes have been made to your property, that EC can be used for insurance purposes.
#5 Hire a Professional Surveyor
If you cannot find or source an EC from any of the above sources, you can hire your own professional land surveyor or professional engineer. Just make sure that they carry an official certification for elevation information. For a small fee, you can hire a professional land surveyor or engineer to figure out the elevation information for your property and create a new ED for you.
If you need a flood elevation certificate, check with the property owners, the builders, and the flood plain manager to see if an EC already exists. Be sure to also check your deed documents. If an ED doesn't exist or you have made changes to your home and need a new EC, hire a professional surveyor who is authorized to make official EC documents to create a new one for you.