Design Appropriately

Construction techniques that are appropriate to coastal areas involve not only siting of the structure and support structures, including septic, utilities, etc., but also design and building techniques that can withstand hazards and potential land, wind, and water forces associated with the dynamic coastal zone.

Things to consider:

  • • The construction footprint, given applicable setbacks for sensitive areas;
  • • The extent of grading needed to achieve a stable building footprint;
  • • The level of engineering required to address erosion or flooding;
  • • Potential physical forces such as water and wind;
  • • Be neighborly. Think about potential impacts on your neighbor’s property that may result from an activity on your property, such as adding fill or elevating your structure. At the same time, it may make sense to work with adjacent property owners if a common goal is found or regional approach is being adopted to address particular hazards.

Some of the best and most comprehensive resources available regarding proper coastal construction techniques are the FEMA Coastal Construction Manual and the FEMA Home Builder’s Guide to Coastal Construction Technical Fact Sheets. The Coastal Construction Manual is available as a CD or in print copy by calling FEMA Publications Distribution Facility at 1-800-480-2520, and may also be available for review at your local land use office or public library.

Properly designed and placed structure on shore

Photo: Jennifer O'Donnell