The purpose of the Elevation Certificate is to determine if a property is in the flood zone or is at risk of flooding. Professional Land Surveyors and Engineers are able to provide the services needed to complete an Elevation Certificate (EC). The cost for these services can range anywhere from $650 to thousands of dollars. Here are a few key factors a Land Surveyor considers when determining the cost.
- Is there a Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Benchmark close to the property? FEMA places known elevations on survey monuments and structures throughout the community, which are known as benchmarks. These benchmarks are used by Land Surveyors as a starting point and can save a Surveyor several hours of time.
- No benchmark near the site. When this scenario occurs, a Land Surveyor or Engineer must use their GPS equipment to determine the elevation of the site. The GPS equipment must be set up and be allowed to collect several hour’s worth of data in order to establish an elevation. Many of the new maps do NOT include a benchmark on them, so costs can increase if a benchmark isn’t present.
- The number of structures on the lot. The Elevation Certificate focuses on the structures on the lot and not the grade of the lot, slope of the lot or if there are multiple structures. It will take the Surveyor more time to collect data on each of the buildings versus just collecting the data on one building. The more structures you have, the more expensive the cost.
- The number of certificates needed. In the scenario where there are several buildings on the lot, a separate Elevation Certificate may be needed for each structure. That takes additional time and resources, which equates to a higher cost for the EC.
- The scope of the project. Elevation data can be provided by the Surveyor or Engineer regarding the structures on the lot, the lot itself, the area of a proposed building on a lot, along with a variety of other items. Make sure that you inform the Surveyor or Engineer as to what the purpose and goal of having the EC performed so that they are able to provide the services you need.
In addition to performing Elevation Certificates, there are many additional FEMA related items that a Professional Land Surveyor or Engineer can assist you with. For example, if you wanted to file a Letter of Map Amendment (LOMA) which would in essence report the EC findings to FEMA, a Surveyor can file it for you, or provide you with the documentation for you to file it. Filing a LOMA and doing the research needed is not typically included in the EC cost and can cost an additional several hundred dollars. Communication and working with an experienced Land Surveyor is the key to attaining the proper bid. You can visit www.FEMA.gov for more information regarding ECs and flood zones.
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