Designing & Building a Pool in a Flood Zone

If you live in the Lowcountry of South Carolina it’s possible that you are in a flood zone.

Many of Aqua Blue Pools’ most attractive and luxurious residential pools have been built on properties in various flood zones. Whether Zone AE or Zones V, VE , etc., your FEMA status is not something to disregard when planning a pool and speaking to your pool contractor.

Elevated Pools

Can you build a pool in a flood zone?

It may seem like a simple question – but there are several things you need to consider; what permit you need, what flood zone your property is classified in, the design, and base flood elevation.

How do you go about determining what type of flood zone(s) your property is situated in?

If you don’t already know your property’s flood zone, the pool design experts at Aqua Blue Pools can provide you with guidance as to what the first step(s) should be in getting this figured out. Typically it will involve getting an elevation certificate and/or property survey for the site location of pool installation… done by an authorized, qualified professional.

What goes into designing and building pools on properties that are in a flood zone?

Each site is different but consider this as an example: When designing and building a pool in a V-Zone, (which stands for “velocity zone,”) structural engineers are required to be part of the front-end design process and in some cases soil engineers, who run tests on the soil to determine the strength, or “bearing capacity” of the soil.

In other cases, either timber or helical piles are required. Deep piles may be required depending on the ground strength, even for some in ground pools, depending on the quality of the soil. The needs and requirements for each individual property will differ and will be taken into consideration by your pool contractor.

What about getting the pool building permit?

Aqua Blue Pools’ staff is highly capable of obtaining building permits for pools being installed within a flood zone. Our team knows what is required for each municipality when it comes to gathering and submitting all appropriate documents and construction drawings for all pool installations – whether in a flood zone or not.

Each municipality has its own regulations and criteria for the permitting process depending on the flood zone. Permitting requirements can also fluctuate depending on whether the pool is an elevated or in-ground pool.

Some in-ground swimming pools require that a structural engineer certify the pool is not capable of creating “wave deflection,” which means that even a partially elevated portion of the pool like an elevated spa or raised water feature wall won’t deflect a storm surge and protect your house while damaging others.

What about BFE (Base Flood Elevation)?

In some cases, if the pool is elevated above a certain criteria, then the BFE, or base flood elevation will need to be factored into the planning process. For instance, if the base flood elevation for a home is sixteen feet MSL (mean sea level), the bottom of the pool must start at a seventeen foot elevation. V-Zone pools can often be the most expensive zone for elevated pools and pool design and budget are determined on a case by case basis.

Luxury pool overlooking the ocean

With all this information, it may seem like building residential pools in a flood zone would be prohibitive, but it’s quite common in coastal areas like Charleston and other parts of South Carolina – and it’s something that the pool and spa builders at Aqua Blue Pools have 27+ years of extensive experience working with.

Properties in less restrictive AE flood zones tend to be fairly closely aligned in price to their counterparts in standard/X zones if they are in the ground.

Don’t let your flood zone deter you from starting a conversation with your custom pool builder about having a pool in your own backyard. All that’s needed is an understanding of the specific requirements for your particular property.

A brief phone conversation with an Aqua Blue Pools design professional can help you understand what’s required for the next steps in determining pool feasibility for your property’s specific needs. Please note: Aqua Blue Pools only builds pools in the Lowcountry of South Carolina and in Savannah, Georgia. Visit our Areas Covered page to learn more.

Pool Builders South Carolina

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