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  The American Surveyor     

New FEMA Elevation Certificate Now Available Print E-mail
Written by Wendy Lathrop, PS   
Thursday, 22 November 2012

The latest version of the Elevation Certificate has finally been issued in its entirety (having first been posted November 12 with missing pages). The FEMA library states that there will be a 12-month phase in of the revised form, with that transition period beginning August 1, 2012 (the date stamped on the form, not when it was released to the public). The new form must be used after July 31, 2013.
In general the form does not change substance, and primarily tweaks language. The font is, however, smaller as a result of adding spaces and words in various places (including a typographical error of a repeated paragraph both before and after the header for instructions regarding Section F). Those with aging eyes had better clean off their glasses, squint, or reset the zoom level on their computer screens.
In many places the tweaks involve using numerals instead of spelled out numbers. When referring to the distance between the bottom of flood openings and lowest adjacent grade, however, the designation of “1.0 foot” rather than “one foot” should make it clearer to those who would like to push the limits of significant figures.
A brief summary of the new form:
• A Privacy Act Statement has been added to the introductory page after the cover page and before the form itself.
• Sections A and B remain unchanged.
• C2 removes "conversion/comments" and adds check boxes for the datum, also adding a note about only reporting in meters if in Puerto Rico.
• Section D moves the check box for attachments to the front of the form rather than the back.
• Section E changes spacing for easier reading (also makes E2 easier to understand)
• Section F remains unchanged.
• Section G again adds a note about only reporting in meters if in Puerto Rico.
• Page 3, where building photographs are to be added, has a new third sentence (formerly appearing only in the instructions) to explain what should show in the photographs.
• The Building Diagrams remain unchanged with the exception of more consistent use of asterisks and spelling of "floodwaters" as a single word.
The new Elevation Certificate form can be accessed from FEMA’s Library at http://www.fema.gov/library/viewRecord.do?id=1383 or from my website (along with this commentary) at http://www.cadcon.com/floods.html

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