How high does my building need to be elevated?

Every location within a regulated flood zone has a pre-determined flood level, known as the Base Flood Elevation (BFE). In type "A" flood zones, the height of a building is measured to Finished First Floor, usually referred to as the first habitable floor.

AE Flood Zones

For example, an "AE-6" flood zone indicates when a substantial flood event occurs, minimum flood levels at this location are expected to be six feet above sea level. Current building codes require Substantially Improved buildings be elevated one-foot higher than the BFE (known as the Design Flood Elevation or DFE). Therefore, a home within an "AE-6" flood zone would need to be elevated to at least seven-feet above sea level. 

VE and Coastal A Flood Zones

Type "VE" and "Coastal A" flood zones are located along shorelines and have more stringent construction standards. The appropriate flood level for these buildings is measured at the lowest horizontal cross-member. The underside of that cross-member must be one foot higher than the Base Flood Elevation for the specific site.


If you’re seeking a building permit under the Building Permit Allocation System (BPAS), the minimum height requirement is 1.5-feet above BFE.

Show All Answers

1. What is the 50% rule?
2. Understanding How the 50% Rule Affects the Determination of Your Building's Market Value
3. What is a regulated flood zone?
4. I think my house is valued higher than the Adjusted Property Appraiser's estimate. How can I verify this to set a higher 50% threshold?
5. How is the value of improvements determined?
6. Instead of elevating my home, can I dry floodproof it?
7. Does the substantial improvement cumulative period change with ownership?
8. May I dry-floodproof my commercial building instead of elevation?
9. How high does my building need to be elevated?
10. The Elevation Certificate indicates my first floor is only 1/4 inch below the required elevation. Is this considered acceptable?
11. My building has been officially designated a Historically Contributing Structure. Am I still required to elevate it?
12. What is a Substantially Damaged Structure?
13. What the difference between Substantial Improvement and Substantial Damage?
14. In terms of the National Flood Insurance Program regulations, if a structure is determined to be substantially damaged, what must happen to that structure?
15. I have a shed (or garage) in the back yard, that I want to convert to a bedroom (or other living space). Does it have to be elevated?
16. Is the repair of the second floor, which is well above the flood level, included in the Substantial Improvement calculations for my building?
17. Does solar equipment count toward the 50%?