Tompkins Surveying and Mapping
Your Professional Land Surveyor

professional, accurate

Elevation Certificates


do you need an elevation certificatE?

Are you buying a piece of property on a 100-year flood plain? If so, you will need an elevation certificate. Why? Because you will likely be required to have flood insurance and you will want to determine how much insurance you need. The professional, experienced staff at Tompkins Surveying & Mapping can deliver the most accurate data for a FEMA elevation certification for residential and commercial properties. 

The base flood elevation is the height that your structure should be built above to be considered out of the flood zone. This elevation is determined by the flood history of the area, the size of the waterway nearest the property and what waterway controls (levees, dams, etc.) have been built.

Tompkins Surveying & Mapping has experience in all aspects of flood mapping. For instance, the FEMA map may place your property in flood zone when actually your house or building is above the base flood elevation. Through an elevation certificate we can certify that your house is indeed above the base flood elevation and dramatically decrease your insurance costs. We performed an Elevation Certification for a client who was quoted a price of $800 per month for flood insurance. Our survey determined that his home was 26 feet above the base flood elevation, saving him over $9,500 a year. 

What is a flood plain?

Areas that are prone to flooding are identified by the government and mapped. These maps are updated over time to reflect historic patterns of flooding. If the piece of land you are buying is an area where flooding is expected within 100 years, it is tagged a Special Flood Hazard Area (SFHA) and is required to be insured against flooding as regulated under the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP).

What do you need to do?

A registered surveyor must execute an accurate field analysis and complete a FEMA elevation certificate. The property's location is identified on the Flood Insurance Rate Map (FIRM) by a registered surveyor. The rate map includes the 100-year flood expanse and the zones within, and the surveyor uses that data along with the elevation of the house and adjacent land to complete the certificate.

If the residential or commercial lot already has an elevation certificate on file and there are no changes, a new one may not be needed in order to get flood insurance. However, you may need one or want one when:

  • Structural changes in the property are to be made

  • There isn't a certificate on file

  • If the rate maps have been updated due to recent floods or other changes

  • If you think for any reason the property's status might have changed. If this is so, you may request a letter of map amendment (LOMA) to change the status.

Accuracy is vital

It is critical for you to have all the information you need from accurate, professional surveyors to enable you to make smart decisions about your property. Tompkins Surveying & Mapping will make sure you are aware of any risks and can keep your insurance premiums as low as possible when you need to assess your property's potential for flooding and the certification that is required.