Construction techniques that are appropriate to coastal areas involve not only siting of the structure and support structures, including septic, utilities, etc., but also design and building techniques that can withstand hazards and potential land, wind, and water forces associated with the dynamic coastal zone.

Things to consider:

  • The construction footprint, given applicable setbacks for sensitive areas;
  • The extent of grading needed to achieve a stable building footprint;
  • The level of engineering required address erosion or landslides; and
  • Potential physical forces such as water and wind.
  • Be neighborly. Think about potential impacts on your neighbor’s property that may result from an activity on your property. At the same time, it may make sense to work with adjacent property owners if a common goal is found or regional approach is being adopted to deal with certain hazards.

Some of the best and most comprehensive resources available regarding proper coastal construction techniques are the FEMA Coastal Construction Manual, the FEMA Home Builder’s Guide to Coastal Construction Technical Fact Sheets and the Maine Erosion and Sediment Control BMP Manual. These resource materials provide detailed descriptions of the techniques recommended to mitigate erosion and build smart within the coastal environment. The Coastal Construction Manual is available as a CD or in print copy by calling FEMA Publications Distribution Facility at 1-800-480-2520, and should also be available for review at your local town office or public library.