Construction in Flood Hazard Zones

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In accordance with the Virginia Uniform Statewide Building Code, the following flood-resistant construction practices are strictly enforced by this Department in AE flood hazard zones, regardless of the building's site elevation.

For enclosures below the Base Flood Elevation, including all masonry foundations, the following minimum criterion must be met:

  • A minimum of two (2) openings having a total net area of not less than one (1) square inch for every one (1) square foot of enclosed area, including attached garages, shall be provided. The use of typical 8" x 16" louvered foundation air vents can be permitted, but each shall only count as providing 70 square inches of flood venting.
  • The bottom of all such openings shall not be higher than 12 inches above grade. Openings shall permit the automatic entry and discharge of flood waters.
  • The grade in the under-floor space shall be as high as the outside finished grade. To vary from this may qualify the under-floor space as a basement according to FEMA Regulations.
  • Liquid propane and other fuel tanks must be secured and adequately anchored to resist buoyancy and movement.
  • Manufactured homes set up in flood zones require:
    • all piers to be reinforced either by re-bar and grout, or approved exterior bonding agent.
    • Piers over 80" in height must have concrete blocks filled with concrete grouting and a minimum of two #4 steel reinforced rods installed vertically through the top CMU cavities.
    • Re-bar must be provided with a minimum 8" return in the concrete footings.

Any other designs, including those for structures located in VE-zones, shall be certified by a registered design professional licensed in the Commonwealth of Virginia.

In addition, the lowest floor of new residential structures located in Flood Hazard Areas in Accomack County's jurisdiction must be elevated to a minimum of two feet above the base flood level. (See Accomack County Zoning Ordinance, Section 106-364).