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Constructing Residential Structures in Coastal Areas

Jeffrey Havelin, PE

Construction of residential buildings in coastal zones presents challenges to the designer or builder not usually found in more inland locations. For all coastal residential buildings, these challenges may include the following:

  • Various connection details require additional inspections
  • Careful surveying is required to place the building within property line setbacks and above the Design Flood Elevation (DFE)
  • Special care which is required to ensure that all elements of the building will withstand the large forces associated with high wind speeds and coastal flooding
  • Difficulty of providing durable exterior construction in a moist, sometimes salt-laden, environment
  • The requirement to protect and, usually, place utilities above the DFE In constructing coastal residential buildings on elevated pile foundations, builders face additional challenges
  • Difficulty of constructing a driven pile foundation to accepted construction plan tolerances
  • Difficulty of building on an elevated post-and-beam foundation, compared to building on continuous wall foundations
  • The additional care that must be taken in constructing a building envelope that will withstand the intrusion of air and moisture under the effects of high wind speeds.

  • Fact:
    The National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) regulations state that for buildings in V- zones, “a registered professional engineer or architect shall develop or review the structural design, specifications and plans for the construction, and shall certify that the design and methods of construction to be used are in accordance with accepted standards of practice” for meeting the provisions of the NFIP regulations regarding buildings in V zones.

    This course is based entirely on the Chapter 13 Constructing the Building of the FEMA Publication Coastal Construction Manual (FEMA-55). This course includes a multiple-choice quiz at the end, which is designed to enhance the understanding of course materials. You will be quizzed on the subject document in its entirety.

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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.