A carefully considered and well-executed buffer-management plan can dramatically enhance the beauty of any waterfront home.

Ask the Pros: Architecture

Advice on designing the perfect home by the bay

What should homeowners building on the water be aware of regarding critical area law?

Don’t assume anything. Critical area regulations are complicated and sometimes difficult to understand, particularly as they relate to waterfront construction. Before you embark on a waterfront project, be sure to research the regulations as they pertain to your circumstances.

Keep in mind that the rules will not be the same for all properties; they will change based on factors such as when shoreline improvements were put in place as well as the steepness of the slope, particularly along the water’s edge. If you are in a low-lying area, federal flood requirements can add another layer of complexity to the situation. It’s a good idea to invest in professional guidance early in the process to avoid disappointment and potentially costly mistakes. —Leo Wilson, AIA, LEED AP, Hammond Wilson, Annapolis, Maryland