FEMA Elevation Certification

If you are buying a parcel of land that rests on a 100-year flood plain, you may be asked to provide an elevation certificate to determine how much flood insurance (if any) you are required to have. Georgia Land Surveying has both the expertise and experience to provide accurate data for FEMA elevation certification, both for residential and commercial properties.


Based upon previous history, the government identifies and maps certain areas of land that are prone to flooding. These maps are revised on occasion as flood patterns emerge. Land upon which flooding is expected to occur within 100 years is considered a Special Flood Hazard Area (SFHA), and FEMA requires any parcel of land purchased in these zones to carry flood insurance as prescribed by the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP).

To determine whether flood insurance is needed and what the premiums will be, a registered surveyor will conduct a thorough field analysis and fill out a FEMA elevation certificate, a highly technical document of approximately fifteen pages. The surveyor first identifies the property location on a Flood Insurance Rate Map (FIRM) which shows the 100-year flood location and AE zones, and their 100-year flood values. The surveyor takes those values and determines the elevation of the house and adjacent ground level.


If the residential lot in question has a current elevation certificate (EC) on file and no changes need to be made, chances are you won’t be asked for a new one in order to obtain flood insurance. However, there are times when a new elevation certification is required (or when you want to obtain one on your own). For example:

  • If you are making significant structural changes on the property
  • If there is no EC on file because the FIRM maps were not drawn or in force the last time the property changed hands
  • If the FIRM maps have been recently updated to include your property (in other words, your land is now on a flood plain when it was not previously)
  • If you suspect that your property’s flood rating has changed, and you want to request a letter of map amendment (LOMA) to change its status

Whether you’re being asked for elevation certification by a lender, or whether you are requesting it on your own, it’s important to have accurate results so that you are aware of the risks in purchasing the property, as well as to keep your insurance premiums as low as possible. For more information on FEMA elevation certification, contact Georgia Land Surveying here.