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RE: FEMA requirements

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The basic flood-resistant construction requirements mandated by FEMA as part of the NFIP are reflected in Section 322 of the IRC or Section 1612 of the IBC (3009 editions).


I’m presuming you’re dealing with a Zone A (inland river, creek, stream or lake) as mapped by FEMA. Otherwise, if you’re in Zone V (Atlantic & Pacific coastlines and the Gulf Coast) you can’t do an enclosed foundation or retaining walls anyway.


There are a bunch of technical bulletins on FEMA’s website that may be of use to you. The general link is The ones you probably want the most are TB-1 (, TB-10 ( and TB-11 ( which are the ones that primarily address aspects of foundation walls.


The key is not to build anything that could be considered a basement or easily converted into one. They’re generally either forbidden outright or very limited in what you’re allowed to do with one. And if you’re allowed to get away with one, it’s still significant $ added to the flood insurance premium.


For more questions I suggest contacting FEMA’s Building Science Helpline at (866) 927-2104 or FEMA-Buildingsciencehelp(--nospam--at)



National Association of Home Builders

D 202 266 8545



From: Ken Ng [mailto:lakecity75(--nospam--at)]
Sent: Wednesday, February 16, 2011 4:08 PM
To: seaint(--nospam--at)
Subject: FEMA requirements


I have a small residential project is on a floodplain.  The main floor needs to be about 8' above grade.  Does any one know what or where I can obtain the FEMA requirement?  

To avoid buoyancy pressure, should I go with 3 sided retaining walls in lieu of 4 side enclose footing.