House Lifting – What you need to know!

Every town has different zoning requirements, however FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) is the agency that dictates the various flood zones. FEMA sets the Base Flood Elevations (BFE) and it is up to the local municipalities to enforce these standards. Each Municipality has a Flood Plain Manager, which is a person responsible for determining exactly what flood zone your house is in. This person can help you with any questions regarding how high you may have lift your house. 

Enlist the services of an Architect.They will need to draw up plans for your house raising and can also work with you, the town, and the site engineer to ensure that what  you want done will be done correctly and within the required guidelines. 

You may want to lift your existing home and build an addition at the same time. Your architect will coordinate with the Flood Plain Manager, Site Engineer, and Zoning Officer to determine exactly what your unique constraints and possibilities are based on your property. 

You will need to have your architectural plans or engineering plans, or both depending upon the scope of work. With this information will be the survey, soil boring, and flood elevation certificate (FEC). You will also need letters from your utilities stating that gas, water, sewer, cable and phone have all been disconnected from the house. 

As the house is lifted, cribbing, which is typically 8″x 8″x 4″ wood members are stacked under it (see pictures)

Utilities are now reconnected and landscaping repaired.

PDRdesigns Architecture has assembled an excellent team of professionals in order to serve you in an efficient  manner. We know this is your home and your memories and we care about you. This is why we are the top Architectural firm at the Jersey Shore. and why we released a new book recently, Architecture to Construction, which walks homeowners through the entire design and construction process. We enjoy sharing this with our clients to better educate them!


The above pictures show the progression of this Hurricane Sandy damaged home along the Jersey Shore. This home held sentimental value to the homeowners so PDRdesigns kept this in mind while creating a home that would suit the needs of the family. In the end, this home turned out exactly as the homeowner hoped it would. Enlisting PDRdesigns and a site engineer early on in the process allowed for a smooth transition from start to finish.

These steps are what you can expect when you are lifting your home. 

  1. Plan Your Raise – Not all raises are alike. In most cases your home will simply be lifted up higher, but in other cases you might choose to alter your decks, porch and stairs, or even add onto your home.. Therefore, the process starts with planning. This is what your architect will do. 
  2. Secure Your Permits – A house lifting is a big project. Permits are still required before you begin the process. In most cases, your contractor will handle all of this process for you.
  3. Demolition Begins – Before the raise can begin, exterior features like stairways and attached decks may have to be removed based on the scope of work. Decks and masonry chimneys can be lifted with the house if needed.
  4. The Structure Is Lifted – The main part of the job is the lifting. Most New Jersey house raising firms use computer-connected jacks to precisely lift a structure, inch by inch, until the desired height is reached. DeVooght House Lifters in Brick, NJ has raised homes since 1964 and works with local builders to ensure a successful house lifting experience for their clients. Visit them at 
  5. Foundation Expansion/Construction – After the desired new height is reached, your foundation will either be removed and replaced or added on to raising it up to meet the new height of your house.Your house lifting project is near complete
  6. New Porch, Deck & Stairs – At this point, decks and stairs will be altered or rebuilt entirely, depending on your scope of work. 
  7. Finishing Touches & Moving In – . Minor things such as repairing cracked drywall and then final inspections will take place. Now, you move back in and enjoy!

Raising your home is a big deal! Be prepared with all you need to know right from the beginning! 

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