FIA-TB-11-01 - Crawlspace Construction for Buildings Located in Special Flood Hazard Areas (Download)

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Crawlspace foundations are commonly used to elevate the lowest floors of residential buildings located in Special Flood Hazard Areas (SFHAs) above the Base Flood Elevation (BFE). This Technical Bulletin provides guidance on crawlspace construction and supports a recent policy decision to allow construction of crawlspaces with interior grades up to 2 feet below the lowest adjacent exterior grade (LAG), referred to as below-grade crawlspaces, provided that other requirements are met. Prior to that decision, below-grade crawlspaces were considered basements under the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) Floodplain Management Regulation definitions at 44 CFR 59.1 and were not permitted below the BFE. This requirement had been established because below-grade crawlspace foundation walls are exposed to increased forces during flood conditions, such as hydrostatic and saturated soil forces.

Referenced in the following Codes:

  • 2009 International Building Code
  • 2009 International Residential Code
  • 2012 International Building Code
  • 2012 International Residential Code
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This is a free download.

Crawlspace foundations are commonly used to elevate the lowest floors of residential buildings located in Special Flood Hazard Areas (SFHAs) above the Base Flood Elevation (BFE). This Technical Bulletin provides guidance on crawlspace construction and supports a recent policy decision to allow construction of crawlspaces with interior grades up to 2 feet below the lowest adjacent exterior grade (LAG), referred to as below-grade crawlspaces, provided that other requirements are met. Prior to that decision, below-grade crawlspaces were considered basements under the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) Floodplain Management Regulation definitions at 44 CFR 59.1 and were not permitted below the BFE. This requirement had been established because below-grade crawlspace foundation walls are exposed to increased forces during flood conditions, such as hydrostatic and saturated soil forces.

Referenced in the following Codes:

  • 2009 International Building Code
  • 2009 International Residential Code
  • 2012 International Building Code
  • 2012 International Residential Code
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