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6 Tips for Building on Water

People have been crowding the coasts for as long as we have been building cities. Those who make the choice to live near the water also know to treat its immense power with respect, because weather conditions can have disastrous effects on a home.  While an ocean view is worth paying for, following some custom home building tips is even more worth your while.

Custom Home Building Tips for Water Lovers

1. Know the Elevation. When you purchase a property, be sure to have local contractors inspect the site. While it is unusual in terms of building on water, some properties may require that your first floor elevation be 12', 13', or 14' above the base flood elevation. This may not be a deal breaker, but the added height to the foundation level will add cost to your project, and minimize living space.

2. Know the Flood Zones. Many coastal properties fall into flood zones. Local contractors know how this may affect the cost of your building project. Building in a V Zone, which is typically ocean front or near to the ocean, is the most expensive. The building codes and sustainable building materials required for V Zone properties will add substantial amounts to the total cost of building on water. Much of the added cost comes from additional straps, ties and anchors required by the building code, windows upgraded with wind ratings and elevating the structure.

3. Don’t Grow Too Tall. In order to avoid corridors of darkness, many coastal communities are amending their building codes to shrink the total height allowed for residential structures. This is tricky when it comes to custom home building tips near water because, as you can image, this has a huge impact on the design that you choose for your property. In some instances, local contractors can modify plans to squeeze under a given height restriction, just be sure to do the math before you purchase your plan.

4.Avoid Cookie Cutter Creations. Smart custom home building tips for a coastal property include taking into consideration where your residence will be situated. For instance, if you are moving onto an island, do not build a mountain chalet, no matter how nice the A-frame windows display the view. Federal-style homes, colonials and Georgians usually do not work either. There are dozens of local contractors and coastal architectural options to choose from to help you avoid the mundane and pick something with style.

5.Choose a Local Contractor with Experience Building on Water. Choosing a builder who has experience in the coastal market means they have a working knowledge of the area’s unique construction technique and sustainable building materials needed. Plus your local coastal builder is more likely to have solid relationships in place with subcontractors and vendors who are critical to the project.

6. Don’t Go Cheap on Materials. Your home building materials will be exposed to the elements daily. When it comes to roofing material, window quality, paint grades, decking material and ceiling fans, the coastal elements can be harsh. Consider sustainable building materials so you will not have to replace them every few years.

Try as we may, we can’t prevent the occasional super storm, hurricane or flood, so when it comes to custom home building tips the best we can do is build better buildings.  When you are working with the right local contractors and the right sustainable building materials, all that is left to worry about is how much sun you are going to get!

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

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