Frequently Asked Questions - Building and Codes
Who is the Floodplain manager and how do I contact them?
Terri Hancock is the Floodplain Manager for Berkeley County. You may contact Terri by calling 843-719-4053. If you need to fax something to Terri use 843-719-4053 and mark it Attention:Terri Hancock or Attention:Flood Plain Manager. E-mail may be sent to Terri by using the departmental e-mail address and marking the e-mail to her attention: email@example.com
Do I have to carry flood insurance?
Yes. Flood insurance is mandatory for the life of a mortgage. If the home is in a special flood hazard area then an elevation certificate with pictures is required for proper rating. If the home is not in the flood zone or the homeowner disagrees they may apply for a Letter of Map Amendment (LOMA). This would remove the structure only from the flood zone and then lower the insurance rating. This application information can be obtained at the Berkeley County Office Building in the Building & Codes Department.
Are there specific construction requirements in the SFHA (special flood hazard area)?
Yes. The construction information is different for the SFHA than in areas not in the flood areas. There are elevations required, venting and special stages of inspection. This information can also be obtained at the County Offices in the Building & Codes Department.
Is there anything to help me understand Floodplain Management and how I am affected?
FEMA publications can be picked up at the Berkeley County Government office in the building and codes department. These publications are free to the public. There are also publications in the Berkeley County Libraries in Moncks Corner and Goose Creek.
What is a Special Flood Hazard Area (SHFA)?
In support of the NFIP, FEMA identifies flood hazard areas throughout the U. S. and its territories by producing Flood Hazard Boundary Maps (FBMs), Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRMs). Several areas of flood hazards are commonly identified on these maps. One of these areas is the Special Flood Hazard Area (SFHA), a high-risk area defined as any land that would be inundated by a flood having a 1-percent chance of occurring in any given year (also referred to as the base flood).
The high-risk-area standard constitutes a reasonable compromise between the need for building restrictions to minimize potential loss of life and property and the economic benefits to be derived from floodplain development. Development may take place within the SFHA, provided that development complies with local floodplain management ordinances, which must meet the minimum Federal requirements. Flood insurance is required for insurable structures within high-risk areas to protect Federal financial investments and assistance used for acquisition and/or construction purposes within communities’ participation in the NFIP.
Why is my lender requiring the purchase of flood insurance?
For virtually every mortgage transaction involving a structure in United States, the lender reviews the current NFIP maps for the community in which the property is located to determine its location relative to the published SFHA and completes the Standard Flood Hazard Determination Form (SFHDF). If the lender determines that the structure is indeed located within the SFHA and the community is participating in the NFIP, the borrower is then notified that flood insurance will be required as a condition of receiving the loan. A similar review and notification is completed whenever a loan is sold on the secondary loan market or perhaps when the lender completes a routine review of its mortgage portfolio. This fulfills the lender’s obligation under the Flood Disaster Protection Act of 1973 and the National Flood Insurance Reform Act of 1994 that requires the mandatory purchase of flood insurance by property owners who are being assisted by Federal programs or by Federally regulated institutions in the acquisition or improvement of land, or facilities, or structures located to be located within an SFHA.
Is there a waiting period for flood insurance to become effective?
There is normally a 30-day waiting period before flood insurance goes into effect. There are two basic exceptions:
- If the initial purchase of flood insurance is in connection with the making, increasing, extending, or renewing of a loan, there is no waiting period. The coverage becomes effective at the time of the loan, provided the application and presentment of premium are made at or prior to loan closing.
- If the initial purchase of flood insurance is made during the 13-month period following the revision or update of a Flood Insurance Rate Map for the community, there is a 1-day waiting period.
In addition to the two basic exceptions, FEMA has issued a policy decision specifying the following four exceptions:
- The 30-day waiting period will not apply when there is an existing insurance policy and an additional amount of flood insurance is required in connection with the making, increasing, extending, or renewing of a loan, such as a second mortgage, home equity loan, or refinancing. The increased amount of flood coverage will be effective as of the time of the loan closing, provided the increased amount of coverage is applied for and presentment of additional premium is made at or prior to the loan closing.
- The 30-day waiting period will not apply when an additional amount if insurance is required as a result of a map revision. The increased amount of coverage will be effective at 12:01 a. m. on the first calendar day after the date the increased amount of coverage is applied for and presentment of additional premium is made.
- The 30-day waiting period will not apply when flood insurance is required as a result of a lender’s determining a loan that does not have flood insurance coverage should be protected by flood insurance. The coverage will be effective upon the completion of an application and the presentment of payment of premium.
- The 30-day waiting period will not apply when an additional amount of insurance offered in the renewal bill is being obtained in connection with the renewal of a policy.
How can I check the availability of elevation certificates?
The general public, lenders, and insurance agents of the availability of elevation certificates can request copies from the Floodplain Manager for Berkeley County Monday-Friday, 8:00am to 4:00pm. To obtain a copy of the elevation certificates by emailing the Floodplain Manager or by faxing requests to 843-719-4053.