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Home Construction in Flood Hazard Areas

Image of Flood Protection Elevation: North of Back River, use elevation of 11.2 feet; South of Back River, use elevation of 10.4 feet.  

Baltimore County Floodplain Requirements

The following requirements apply to new construction and substantial home improvements within the 100-year flood plain:

  1. Determine the flood protection elevation of your property by contacting the Baltimore County Zoning Office at 410-887-3391 or hiring a registered land surveyor, architect or professional engineer.
  2. The lowest habitable floor must be at or above flood protection elevation. Flood protection elevation is one foot above the base flood elevation. New buildings constructed after July 15, 2007 must be at two feet above base flood elevation.
  3. At least one side of a crawl space finished floor must be at or above the exterior finished grade.
  4. Foundation walls shall be equipped with at least two flood vents in opposite sides. The bottoms of the flood vents shall not be more than 12 inches above grade. Flood vents shall have total openings of one square inch for every square foot of the enclosed area below flood protection elevation.
  5. All interior walls below flood protection elevation shall be unfinished or constructed of flood resistant material.
  6. All mechanical, electrical and plumbing devices shall not be installed below flood protection elevation. Example given: electric water heaters, electric furnaces, generators, heat pumps, air conditioners, air ducts, water closet, sink and other service facilities. Electric panel boards must be installed two feet above flood protection elevation, which is three feet above the base flood protection. In most cases it is impossible to achieve this height in the unfinished areas. For all electrical questions in Baltimore County please call 410-887-3960.
  7. In dwelling units that are elevated for garage use or to enter and exit the first floor living level, Baltimore County will allow one receptacle and one switch-controlled light in these areas only. The switch and receptacle must be placed a minimum of five feet in these areas and the lighting must be placed in or on the underside of the floor joist of the first living level. This circuit must be protected by a GFCI circuit breaker.
  8. Contact BGE for meter locations and elevations. In most cases BGE has been requiring the meter to be at a height of 60 inches to the center of the glass. Higher elevations than 60 inches are permitted by BGE: BGE will require a 3 feet by 3 feet deck with railings, gate and a stairway with railings in order to service the meter. This deck must be dedicated for equipment only and not for an entrance or porch for the dwelling.
  9. Oil and gas tanks shall be elevated above flood protection elevation. However, oil and gas tank can be installed below flood level if tank is adequately anchored to a concrete slab to avoid flotation. Vent pipes and non-liquid tight fill connections on tanks must be terminated two feet above flood protection elevation to avoid infiltration of floodwater into the tank.

Typical Home Construction In Flood Hazard Areas (PDF) can be downloaded to review or print an image of a typical home construction in flood hazard areas, according to the Baltimore County Building Code (PDF).

Revised April 15, 2014

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