ROCHESTER, Minn. -- Disaster recovery officials are reminding homeowners, landlords and business owners it is essential to check with local, city and county governments regarding legally mandated permits before repairing or rebuilding a structure damaged by storms or flooding. Permits ensure that rebuilding meets the requirements of the most recent flood maps."Permits lessen or perhaps even remove the potential for damage in future disastrous storms," said Federal Coordinating Officer Carlos Mitchell of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security?s Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). "Government can help people affected by floods get back on their feet, and we don?t want them to be damaged by a flood again, if it can be avoided.?Minnesota residents affected by the recent flooding who live in communities that are part of the National Flood Insurance Program must bring their properties in compliance with current requirements, if the damage is 50 percent or greater of the home?s value. In some cases, mitigation could include elevation, relocation or demolition.
"We urge all contractors and property owners to visit their local permitting offices and obtain the necessary permits before beginning the rebuilding process," said Kris Eide, director of Minnesota Homeland Security and Emergency Management. "Prior planning and good information will produce a structure that would stay safe, sanitary and secure in the next major disaster."
Getting a building permit is especially important for those with a home or business located within a 1-percent annual chance flood zone. Here are some reasons why obtaining a permit now will help you in the future:
- Permits can help protect you by providing a review of the proposed work to ensure compliance with current codes, standards, ordinances and construction techniques.
- Permits can provide a permanent record of compliance with elevation and/or retrofitting requirements, which is necessary for the flood insurance rating as well as useful information when selling your home.
- Your local permit official can provide you with suggestions or literature on how to better protect your home or business from future floods or other hazards.
- Local permit officials can also provide you with information on selecting licensed contractors and advice on how to protect yourself against unscrupulous contractors.
Note: Your community may decide to waive permitting fees during this period of reconstruction; however this does not waive the permitting process requirements.
Learn more about elevation and other retrofitting techniques by obtaining a free copy of FEMA publication # 312, Homeowners Guide to Retrofitting. Call 1-800-480-2520 for your copy or see it on the Web at www.fema.gov/library/viewRecord.do?id=1420.
FEMA coordinates the federal government?s role in preparing for, preventing, mitigating the effects of, responding to, and recovering from all domestic disasters, whether natural or man-made, including acts of terror.