IT DEPENDS!!!! The answer is at the bottom but you should read this guide
Building on the coast can be very complicated if you don’t know what you’re doing. With ever
changing codes, F.I.R.M maps, wind loads and zones these moving pieces can affect the cost
of building an elevated waterfront home. Good planning and discovery can eliminate costly
mistakes and prevent rework and overruns from your project. There is a definite process to
achieving the ultimate goal of having your home meet all codes, look the way you want it to
and come in at the cost you expected before you started construction. Following the steps
below will help you come in on time and on budget.
You must know
Floor plan and elevation design (Basic black line) is the first place to start. You should decide
on the plan you want and have a good idea of the exterior features such as siding, decks, roof
pitch, etc. These all affect the cost of the project and should be established early on as almost
everything else will build from the footprint.
Discovery and Investigation phase is the most important step of the entire building process
in regards to establishing a total cost of the project. Since a high percentage of the cost to
build elevated is in the sub-foundation (below the ground), height of the foundation, stairs
and landing and subsequently the threshold of the first living floor, knowing the height
requirements ensures you will meet the local and federal mandates and get your permits to
start building. Every foot cost you money so knowing how high will allow for accurate costing in
the bid process
Geo technical report or soil and boring samples are the foundation for the foundation design.
This is a vital part of the engineering of your foundation and can save you thousands of dollars.
Knowing what is underneath your building footprint is the key to foundation design. It tells
you the composition of the soil which in turn tells you what kind of sub-foundation you should
install. This is valuable information for engineering the system that will support your piers or
columns and the structure that is supports. Without this report the foundation system would
be bid at the worst case scenario. The money you spend on this part of the building process will
save you in the total overall cost of your project
Base Flood Elevation survey is exactly what it sounds like. It establishes the required height
of the first living floor required by your county or municipality. This is a small but required
expense to know how high your home must be placed. Any mistakes here would stop your
project at the inspection phase and add costly rework to the overall cost of the project. It will
be a requirement to apply for your building permits.
Site plan and set back’s is another requirement of getting your permits to start construction.
Your county or municipality wants to make sure you are building within their guidelines on your
parcel and not infringing on any adjacent parcels. It is a minimal cost but will save you money
and rework in the event you were to infringe on or over the set back lines.
Zones and codes establish the minimum building requirements for the area that you in.
The higher the wind zone the more the home has to be engineered to meet those wind and
airborne debris standards and subsequently the more the home costs. Depending on the zone
you are in certain design considerations must be engineered into the building plans. Some
zones will not allow walls, garage doors or storage room below the base flood elevation (BFE).
Obviously if they won’t let your have them you don’t have that cost. Some typical design and
engineering systems might be required and add additional cost to the project:
- Breakaway walls
- Hydrostatic flow vents
- Segmented concrete garage floor
Foundation and home engineering is site specific to your parcel and area and must be
approved by the local county of state government before you can get your building permits. It’s
a cost you cannot get around when building a home in a flood prone area. The foundation can
be as basic as piles and piers or as extensive as full concrete block or poured walls with multiple
Amenities and scope of work add to the cost of the project. Depending on the design and
requirements of the governing body to get building permits you will need to factor in the costs
of what you must have and any additional features above the minimum requirements.
- Clearing/excavation/fill/retaining walls/
As pointed out in the beginning of this guide there is no standard price for an elevated home.
Where you put it, how high it must be built, the foundation you choose and the features you
add are all contributing factors in the overall cost of the project.
Depending on the size and design of the project a typical elevated home built 10’ above grade
will cost between:
$125 sq ft/$175 sq ft for the total project cost.