It will pay off to check with local authorities to determine if your home is in a flood-risk zone. If it is, check with local building officials. Higher standards than those set by national agencies have been adopted by many communities.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the National Flood Insurance Program have established and defined five major flood-risk zones and created special flood-resistance requirements for each. For a flood map, visit http://www.nachi.org/go/femamaps.
Improperly designed grading and drainage may aggravate flood hazards to buildings and cause runoff, soil erosion and sedimentation in the zones of lower flood risk, according to the Interflood Zone and the Non-Regulated Flood Plain. In these locations, local agencies may regulate building elevations above street or sewer levels. In the next higher risk zones, the Special Flood Hazard Areas and the Non-Velocity Coastal Flood Areas (both Zone A), the elevation of the lowest floor and its structural members above the base flood elevation is required. In the zone of highest flood risk, the Coastal High Hazard Areas (Velocity Zone, Zone V), additional structural requirements apply
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