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C841
A Guide to Crawlspace Construction in Special Flood Hazard Areas

D. Allen Hughes, PE

Crawlspace foundations are commonly used to elevate the lowest floors of residential buildings located in Special Flood Hazard Areas (SFHA’s) above the Base Flood Elevation (BFE). This course provides guidance on crawlspace construction and supports a recent policy decision to allow construction of crawlspaces with interior grades up to 2 feet below the lowest adjacent exterior grade (LAG). In many parts of the country, a common practice is to construct crawlspaces with the interior floor 1 or 2 feet below-grade by either (1) backfilling against the exterior of the foundation wall or (2) excavating the crawlspace area to construct footings that result in a below-grade crawlspace floor. Because FEMA wishes to recognize common construction practices that do not increase flood damage. The construction practices for below-grade crawlspaces were examined to determine whether a crawlspace that was 1 or 2 feet below grade would increase the flood damage potential to the foundation walls.

This course introduces the requirements for crawlspace construction for buildings located in special flood hazard areas. Engineers and architects will gain an understanding of the design requirements for crawlspace construction. The content of this course is based on the FEMA publication “Crawlspace Construction for Buildings Located in Special Flood Hazard Areas: National Flood Insurance Program Interim Guidance”.

This course includes a multiple-choice quiz at the end, which is designed to enhance the understanding of the course materials.


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NY PE & PLS: You must choose courses that are technical in nature or related to matters of laws and ethics contributing to the health and welfare of the public. NY Board does not accept courses related to office management, risk management, leadership, marketing, accounting, financial planning, real estate, and basic CAD. Specific course topics that are on the borderline and are not acceptable by the NY Board have been noted under the course description on our website.

AIA Members: You must take the courses listed under the category "AIA/CES Registered Courses" if you want us to report your Learning Units (LUs) to AIA/CES. If you take courses not registered with AIA/CES, you need to report the earned Learning Units (not qualified for HSW credits) using Self Report Form provided by AIA/CES.

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