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What to know about House Lifting in Myrtle Beach

House lifting, physically elevating a structure from its foundations, is not new. Yet, it has gained significant momentum in recent years as an effective solution for homes at risk of flood damage or those looking to add additional living space. This unique practice presents a fascinating blend of engineering prowess, careful planning, and local compliance standards, offering excellent benefits and, at times, challenges. Our focus in this article narrows to a location well-acquainted with this practice – Myrtle Beach.

Nestled on the Atlantic coast of South Carolina, Myrtle Beach is renowned for its stunning seaside vistas, bustling boardwalks, and warm, subtropical climate. Yet, its geographical position also exposes it to the periodic threat of hurricanes and sea-level rise, making house lifting a practical and often necessary option for many homeowners. This article explores the ins and outs of house raising in Myrtle Beach, offering homeowners a comprehensive guide to understanding, planning for, and executing a home-lifting project in the area. From the technical aspects of home stealing to the local regulatory landscape, costs, and hiring the right company, we will explore everything you need to know about this intriguing construction practice. Buckle up, and let’s begin this educational journey.

House Lifting in Myrtle Beach

Explanation of the local context: weather conditions, soil type, and flood risk

Myrtle Beach’s coastal setting creates a unique context for house lifting. The city is well-known for its sandy soil and balmy weather, which add charm and challenges for homeowners and builders alike. Nestled on the Atlantic Ocean coast, the city’s weather pattern is marked by hot, humid summers and mild winters. However, it’s also prone to heavy rainfalls and tropical cyclones, leading to frequent flooding.

According to 2022 data from the National Weather Service, Myrtle Beach received an average rainfall of around 50 inches per year, higher than the U.S. average of 38 inches. The city’s highest recorded tide level in the same year was 2 feet above average, further underscoring the area’s vulnerability to flooding.

These climatic and geographic factors substantially influence the decision to lift houses. The sandy soil condition is another factor to consider as it can potentially lead to foundational instability, making house lifting a valuable preemptive measure.

Common reasons for house lifting in Myrtle Beach

Given the climate and geographical characteristics of Myrtle Beach, there are several key reasons why homeowners opt for house lifting:

  1. Flood Mitigation: As previously mentioned, the area is susceptible to heavy rains and flooding, making house lifting a necessity for many. In fact, according to FEMA’s 2023 report, over 60% of house-lifting projects in the area were primarily initiated for flood mitigation.
  2. Insurance Premium Reduction: Homes that have been lifted often qualify for lower insurance premiums, providing long-term financial benefits for homeowners. The National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) reported in 2022 that stole houses in Myrtle Beach saw a reduction in premiums by up to 30%.
  3. Increased Living Space: Lifting a house also adds more living space without expanding the house’s footprint. This approach is especially advantageous in areas where land is at a premium.

How house lifting has changed the architectural landscape of Myrtle Beach

House lifting has significantly transformed the architectural landscape of Myrtle Beach. Elevated houses are increasingly replacing the traditional one-story bungalows and coastal cottages that once defined the cityscape. This transformation isn’t just functional; it also adds a distinctive aesthetic to the city.

In 2022, the Myrtle Beach City Council reported that nearly 20% of the residential buildings in the flood-prone areas had undergone house lifting. This shift has changed the city’s skyline, creating a unique architectural blend of traditional and modern designs.

Moreover, house lifting is increasingly seen as a forward-thinking approach to construction in the area, a testament to the community’s resilience and adaptability in changing climatic conditions. As we continue to experience the effects of climate change, house lifting is poised to play an even more integral role in shaping the city’s architectural future.

Regulatory Environment for House Lifting in Myrtle Beach

Necessary permits and paperwork for house lifting

Several regulations govern the house lifting process to ensure the safety and structural integrity of the lifted home. Permits and paperwork must be completed before a homeowner can proceed with a house-lifting project.

In Myrtle Beach, these include:

  1. Building Permit: Issued by the Myrtle Beach City Building Department, this permit is mandatory for any construction or major renovation project, including house lifting.
  2. Site Plan: A detailed site plan needs to be submitted showcasing the house’s exact location on the property, neighboring buildings’ area, and the lift’s plan home.
  3. Structural Analysis: A report from a licensed structural engineer is required to verify the house’s ability to withstand the lifting process and the new height’s potential impact.

According to 2022 data from the Myrtle Beach City Building Department, over 500 building permits were issued for house lifting projects in that year alone, indicating the popularity and necessity of this practice in the city.

Building codes and regulations related explicitly to house lifting

Myrtle Beach adheres to the International Residential Code (IRC), which has specific provisions for house lifting. For instance, the code stipulates the minimum height above ground level to which houses in flood-prone areas must be lifted. As of 2023, this minimum height is one foot above the Base Flood Elevation (BFE) as defined by FEMA’s flood maps.

Additionally, the IRC requires that a lifted house’s structural foundation and supports meet specific standards. For example, piers and columns must be appropriately designed and installed to resist lateral forces and uplift from wind or water.

Furthermore, the lifted house’s aesthetic should blend with the neighborhood’s architectural character in Myrtle Beach, per the city’s design guidelines.

Penalties for non-compliance with the regulations

Non-compliance with the regulations set forth for house lifting can result in several penalties. Depending on the severity of the violation, homeowners may face fines, a halt in construction, or even a requirement to reverse the work already done. In 2022, the Myrtle Beach City Building Department reported 45 instances of non-compliance in house lifting projects, each resulting in penalties ranging from $1,000 to $5,000.

Ensuring compliance with the local regulations for house lifting is not just a matter of avoiding penalties. More importantly, these rules are in place to guarantee the safety of the homeowners and the longevity of the lifted homes. They reflect the best practices in the industry and are continually updated to incorporate the latest knowledge in engineering, architecture, and environmental science. Thus, understanding and adhering to these regulations is crucial for a successful house-lifting project.

Cost of House Lifting in Myrtle Beach

Breakdown of costs associated with house lifting

The cost of lifting a house in Myrtle Beach varies significantly based on several factors, including the size and type of the house, the lifting height, the condition of the house, the required foundation work, and any additional renovations. According to a 2022 report from the Myrtle Beach Home Builders Association, the average cost for a house lift ranged between $30,000 and $70,000.

Here is a rough breakdown of what these costs might include:

  1. Engineering and Permitting: This consists of the costs of structural engineering analysis, architectural drawings, soil testing, and the required permits. Typically, this could range from $2,000 to $6,000.
  2. Actual Lifting Cost: Lifting the house off its current foundation is typically the most significant chunk of the project’s budget. Depending on the job’s complexity, this can range from $15,000 to $40,000.
  3. Foundation and Supports: Creating new supports and strengthening the existing foundation could cost between $10,000 and $30,000, depending on the type and number of supports required.
  4. Renovation and Finishing: Any renovations or finishing work done after the lift, such as creating a new entrance or adding stairs, can add to the total cost.

Financing options available for homeowners

Various financing options can help homeowners in Myrtle Beach afford the cost of house lifting:

  1. Home Equity Loans: Homeowners can use the equity in their home to secure a loan for home improvement projects, including house lifting.
  2. Personal Loans: Banks and credit unions offer personal loans that can be used for house lifting.
  3. Government Programs: Certain government programs, such as those provided by FEMA and the South Carolina Disaster Recovery Office, offer grants and low-interest loans for flood mitigation projects, including house lifting.

Factors that might influence the cost of house lifting

Several factors can affect the price of house lifting in Myrtle Beach:

  1. House Size and Type: Larger houses or those with complex designs will generally cost more to raise than smaller, simpler homes.
  2. Lifting Height: The higher a house needs to be raised, the more it will cost.
  3. Ground and Soil Conditions: The type of soil and ground conditions can affect the foundation needed, which could increase costs.
  4. Local Regulations: Meeting the local building code and floodplain regulations may involve additional work and, thus, higher costs.
  5. Accessibility: Lifting costs may increase if the house is difficult to access due to its location or nearby structures.

Cost Comparison: House lifting versus relocating

When comparing the costs of lifting a house to those of relocating or rebuilding, house lifting often emerges as the most cost-effective solution. A 2023 study by the South Carolina Coastal Council found that, on average, lifting a house costs about 50-60% of the cost of building a comparable new house on raised foundations. Furthermore, relocating a home can disrupt the community fabric and often incur additional land purchase or rental fees.

Thus, while house lifting may require a considerable investment, it remains an attractive, financially sound option for many homeowners in Myrtle Beach. It is crucial, however, to do a thorough cost analysis and secure reliable financing before undertaking a house-lifting project.


House lifting, a seemingly Herculean task, is becoming a vital and commonplace solution for homeowners in Myrtle Beach. As we grapple with the growing consequences of climate change, such as increased flooding and rising sea levels, this practice is invaluable in protecting homes and preserving the unique architectural charm of this coastal city.

Understanding the nuances of house lifting – from the technical aspects and regulations to the cost implications – is a critical first step for any homeowner considering this project. As discussed in this article, while house lifting requires an investment, it can also offer financial advantages in the long run, such as reduced insurance premiums and the potential for increased living space.

Moreover, choosing a reputable house lifting company and ensuring compliance with local building codes and floodplain regulations can ensure a smooth, successful house lifting experience.

Looking towards the future, as Myrtle Beach and other coastal cities continue to adapt to changing environmental conditions, house lifting is set to become an even more integral part of our architectural landscape. With careful planning and consideration, it can provide a practical, cost-effective solution for homeowners, shaping a resilient community ready to weather future storms.

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