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Building on Stilts: Seaside Solutions by Gordon Tully Houses built directly on the seashore are subject to periodic damage from large storms. To prevent large claims under the National Flood Insurance Program, the Feds (through local zoning regulations) have mandated special regulations for construction along the seashore. If a home is entirely or partly within the "velocity zone" as shown on a special map (known as the FIRM, for Federal Insurance Rate Map), it must be built on sturdy piers so that the underside of the support structure is above sea level by an amount shown on the map. Everything built below this safety level must either be strong enough to resist the force of the waves, or weak enough to safely "break