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House Raising & Base Flood Elevation (BFE)

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Below are some answers to common questions about raising your home and Base Flood Elevation (BFE) guidelines.

What is my Base Flood Elevation?

Please go to: and put your address in the form, and select “Get Detail.” Your new BFE and Zone will be listed.

My BFE is 10, does that mean I have to raise my house up 10 feet?

No, your BFE number is the height above sea level to which flood water would be expected to rise in a base, or 100-year flood event. Keep in mind, the ground is not zero. If the ground around your home is at base 3′ and your first floor is 2′ off the ground, that would mean your first floor is currently at 5′ and you need to go up another 5′ to be at the Base Flood Elevation of 10′

Will raising my home damage the interior of my home and my belongings?

Yes and No. If your home currently has a crawl space, you can do your repairs now and raise it later. In most cases we leave all the furniture in place, pictures on the wall and dishes in the cabinets. Despite popular misconception, sheet rock remains intact and windows do not break or even crack. The house is raised gradually over the course of an entire day, a few inches at a time. However, if your house is on a slab, they raise it from the inside, which does damage the walls. Also, they raise only the house, the slab floor stays down, and they build a new floor system (joists and sub-floor), on your new foundation.

My house is on a block foundation, don’t I need piling?

Piling or a concrete grade beam and pier foundation is required only in what is called the “V” zone. If you are not in the V-Zone, they build a continuous concrete block foundation, under the perimeter of your home.

I was told it was about $20,000 to raise my home, is this true?

Yes, and no. That is what a house raiser might charge to raise and lower your house only. They typically work for Contractors as a Sub-contractor. You also will need to hire a contractor for all the preliminary work that is needed prior to raising. While the house is up in the air your contractor will build your new foundation and then complete the finish work and reconnects, when the house is lowered. The cost for the average house raising package is approximately $45k-$60K.

Will I save money on flood insurance for my home?

Yes, if you bring your house at least up to at least the BFE, which varies depending on your location, you should see a reduction in your rates. It is recommended that you raise your home an additional 1′-2′ above BFE, or you may go high enough to drive under (7′-8′).

I have water under my house, is this a problem?

Yes, water under your home causes mold, wood rot, and settling. Building code demands that you fill the cavity under your home, to grade, with mason sand, this will elevate pooling.

What is the first step?
The first step in pricing is to know what FEMA flood zone you are in and if your town has adopted that or not.  Some towns are adding an additional height to the FEMA recommended height. Check with your local town construction office to find out what zone you is in and what type of foundation is required.

Can a house on a slab be raised?
The answer is yes, but it is more costly than a house on an existing foundation.

How do you raise a house on to pilings if there is no room to move the house out of the way to drive them in?
In some instances helical piles will be needed in lieu of conventional wood pilings. Helicals are metal pilings like a corkscrew which are spun into the ground. Small sections are added as needed to get to the proper depth. A new piece is simply attached to the top of the last piece as they are driven in.  This can be done under the house with the house temporarily raised.

Can I live in the house when it is being lifted?
No.  It is not advisable to be in your home during this process.

What Financial Aid Opportunities are Available to Me?

There are several government-funded grants available to New Jersey residents as part of an effort to decrease the likelihood of damage or loss of your home due to severe flooding. The grant application process can sometimes become overwhelming and frustrating, but the result is little or no out-of-pocket cost to raise your home.

Home Elevation Grants

You may be eligible to have your home raised at little to no cost to you! In an effort to prevent loss or damage of New Jersey homes due to flooding, grant programs have been established by the government to aid residents with the cost of having their homes raised. Several grant programs are available to New Jersey residents.

Hazard Mitigation Grant Program (HMGP)
New Jersey residents can receive aid from the Hazard Mitigation Grant Program, one of the larger federal aid programs. This program seeks to help individuals who wish to be proactive in lessening the change of property damage due to a hazard.

Severe Repetitive Loss Program (SRL)
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) provides funds to New Jersey residents in an effort to reduce or eliminate the long-term risk of flood damage to severe repetitive loss (SRL) structures that are insured under the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP).

Increased Cost of Compliance (ICC)
As a result of past flood damage, you may be required to meet certain building requirements put in place by your community. Meeting these requirements can become expensive, and that’s why the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) offers financial assistance through the ICC grant. This grant provides you with up to $30,000 to take necessary precautions against future flood damage.

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