Welcome to the Flood Zone! A nationally distributed resource for those interested in flood zone issues, land surveying, real estate, history, and edu

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Welcome to the Flood Zone!

A nationally distributed resource for those interested in flood zone issues, land surveying, real estate, history, and educational opportunities. If you no longer wish to receive this newsletter, simply click the unsubscribe link in the footer of this message.

Jim Headshot

Message from Jim

Thank you to Lisa S. Jones, Principal of Carolina Flood Solutions, LLC, in collaboration with Smart Vent Products, Inc., for forwarding their newly developed and released “Non-Engineered Flood Opening Guide” with intention to aid land surveyors, engineers, floodplain managers, community officials, and insurance professionals in calculating or verifying the “net” open area of non-engineered openings. This calculation, when improperly performed, has caused many errors in Elevation Certificates and insurance ratings. Flood openings serve multiple purposes, from relieving hydrostatic pressure against foundation walls to reducing risk of collapse, lessening the impact of the surrounding floodplain, and can be beneficial in reducing flood insurance premiums.

Click here to view a pdf of the guide.

flood vent

Photo from the cover of the above mentioned Non-Engineered Opening Guide.


What is the difference between non-engineered and engineered openings?

A non-engineered opening is one that is simply measured by calculating the opening in the vent itself. It is the amount of air/water flow or net open area that is used to meet FEMA requirements for Flood Vents. There needs to be 1 square inch of free area for each square foot of enclosed space to meet the FEMA requirements. You may use a non-engineered opening in any state without the requirement of an engineered certificate or ICC Certification.

An engineered opening is one that is designed and certified by a registered engineer or architect as meeting certain performance characteristics described in FEMA Technical Bulletin 1, Published August 1, 2008.

If using an engineered vent, then additional data must be provided. The “engineered openings must be certified by a design professional as having been designed to provide automatic equalization of hydrostatic flood forces by allowing for the entry and exit of flood waters.” Design requirements and specifications for certification statements are outlined.


Insurance Corner

Impact of April 2015 Program Changes on Flood Insurance Premiums

Below is a breakdown of key changes taking effect on April 1, 2015, in accordance with provisions set forth by the Biggert-Waters Reform Act of 2012 (BW12) and the Homeowners Flood Insurance Affordability Act of 2014 (HFIAA), per FEMA Fact Sheet, published October 1, 2014:

1) Implementation of annual rate changes using the rate-increase limitations for individual premiums and rate classes, per HFIAA:
* Limiting increases for individual premiums to 18% of premium
* Limiting increases for average rate classes to 15%
* Mandatory increases for certain subsidized policyholders under BW12 and HFIAA

2) Increasing the Reserve Fund assessments required by BW12

3) Implementing annual surcharges on all new and renewed policies, required by HFIAA

4) Guidance on substantially damaged and improved structures, and additional rating guidance for Pre-Flood Insurance Rate Map (Pre-FIRM) buildings

5) Implementation of new map change procedure for properties newly mapped into the Special Flood Hazard Area, per HFIAA

6) Reducing expense loading on premiums on the highest-risk policies as an interim step, while investigating expenses on policies, as required by BW12

7) Increase in maximum deductible for a flood insurance policy to $10,000 for single-family and two- to four-family dwellings

8) Increase in the Federal Policy Fee by $1 for most policies other than Preferred Risk Policies which will stay the same, with the exception of those rated using the "map change" table, which will increase to $45 to help ensure program solvency


In the News

"Executive Order – Establishing a Federal Flood Risk Management Standard and a Process for Further Soliciting and Considering Stakeholder Input"

Released by the White House on February 5, 2015:

"The new Executive Order amends the existing Executive Order 11988 on Floodplain Management and adopts a higher flood standard for future federal investments in and affecting floodplains, which will be required to meet the level of resilience established in the Federal Flood Risk Management Standard." Read more!


Take your continuing education to the next level, and learn how to assess flood risk both on paper, and on the ground.

Learning Events

"Coastal Real Estate: Understanding Flood Risk and Recognizing Flood Resilient Properties"

Sponsor: Beyond the Boundary
Location: Wells National Estuarine Research Reserve, Wells, ME
Fee: $35
Continuing Education Credits: 3 Maine Real Estate clock hours and 3 Contact Hours in Shoreland Zoning for Code Enforcement Officers


If you have any questions, or would like to sign up to receive Learning Event Notifications, please contact Nikki Oteyza at nikki@nadeaulandsurveys.com

western maine

"Understanding Land Surveying and Flood Zones" Sponsored by The Real Estate Learning Group for the Western Maine Board of Realtors Membership Meeting: March 11, 2015, 9:00-12:00



"Understanding Flood Zone Mapping and Risk"
Sponsored by the Maine Insurance Agents Association,
Approved for 3 continuing education credits for insurance agents by the State of Maine Bureau of Insurance.

March 31, 2015, MIAA Office - Hallowell, ME
April 2, 2015, DoubleTree Hotel - South Portland

View MIAA's Education Calendar to register for these classes.


March Flood Funny


Spring snow melt is a major cause of flooding. The ground is still hard and frozen and water cannot be adequately absorbed. The runoff will flow into nearby streams, lakes, and rivers, possibly causing overbank flooding into neighboring properties. Remember, you do not have to get hit by a huge storm to get flooded!


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Do you have a question about land surveying, flood zone issues, or real estate?

Frequently Asked Questions
Email: info@nadeaulandsurveys.com or call (207) 878-7870

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Useful Links

Looking for Beyond the Boundary, the Educational Component of Nadeau Land Surveys?

Visit Beyond the Boundary's Webpage

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