Cinder block vs wood foundation

We, like many others in southern NJ, are having our house elevated after being flooded by Sandy. Most houses I see are having block laid to the the full height of the new minimum elevation. Our builder has proposed (and we agreed) to lay block only as high as is required and using traditional wood construction for the remaining required height. In our case this means 7 1/2 courses of block from the footings and about five feet of wood construction above that. The original plans called for cinder block for the full height but the builder suggested changing it in order to save money which could then be used for new siding that wasn’t part of the original contract. The siding will now come down to about four feet above the ground vs the original 9’-10’ with the associated parge finish for that height. We asked why not bring down the siding over the block in the original plan and he said that, while is commonly being done, siding over block doesn’t hold up well over the long term. So, what dis-advantage is there to doing it the way we now are? In the extremely unlikely event we get a flood that tops the block wall, damage ought to be limited to drywall/insulation (should we elect to even install it) along with siding, plywood @ Tyvek, etc. The interior is not permitted to be living space, just a large storage area with a cement slab floor. If its cheaper, why isn’t everyone doing it this way? I’m now thinking that flood insurance premiums will be higher vs. all block but haven’t looked into it. I suspect he’s saving much more than he’s going to spend on siding. It will look better, for sure. In any case, its too late to change things. I’m just wondering about pros and cons out of curiosity.

I agree siding over the block is not a good thing. I’m curious if you got quotes for a poured concrete foundation, block foundations are rarely used around here anymore because of the labor costs. What is the perimeter of the foundation? It shouldn’t be difficult to calculate the difference in cost between the different methods of construction.