Different Flood Zones – different foundations

In CAM Library, Construction, Florida Hurricane Insurance, Insurance Appraisal by Patricia Staebler

In one of my recent posts I wrote about the Coastal Construction Control Line (CCCL) and the different building requirements in this zone as well as in the A and V flood zones.

Without going too much into construction lingo, I thought it might be interesting to show my readers and clients the difference with the help of some awesome photos I found.

The first picture shows a continuous footer foundation followed by a concrete slab. This is the basis for nearly every single-family home or smaller condo building when the subject property is not located close to the water.

footer foundation
concrete slab

In contrast to that, the next photo shows a pile driver at work, which drives the piles into the ground, often several feet to serve as foundation for buildings in high risk wind zones. How far the piles have to be driven into the ground depends on the soil, subsurface conditions, and the distance to the water body. The foundation has to be calculated by a professional engineer.

piles driver

The marks at the top of the steel foundation piling, along with the marks for 1-foot increments, are used to keep track of the amount of piling driven into the ground. This info is kept for the records and used to determine how much piling the contractor actually gets paid for installing. The piles are basically driven in the ground until they will no longer move when being struck by the massive pile driving hammer. This is typically called “driving the pile to refusal”. Once driven to refusal the piles are cut off to allow for construction of the concrete footings.

The Florida Department for Environmental Protection (DEP) ordered an engineer’s report to find out how much a pile foundation will add in cost to an average 2,200 SF home. The engineers found that an additional $45,000 has to be added in foundation costs (soft costs not included).

I find that pretty interesting and this information should be made available to all prospective homebuilders on the beach and along the rivers.

But you also should make sure, that your next insurance appraisal pays attention to the kind of foundation you have. If you have a pile foundation, the extra cost should be shown in a line item in the calculation. And in case your building is located in a high-risk wind zone and your building is not erected on a pile foundation, talk to your insurance agent to make sure that your policy contains an ordinance of law raider.

As always, thanks for reading and call or email with any questions.

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