Flood Damage? Get Required Permits Before Rebuilding

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Release date: 
August 9, 2008
Release Number: 
1768-126

Madison, Wis. -- Before beginning any new construction or repairs of flood-damaged property, Wisconsin residents are urged to consult local building officials to obtain the necessary permits.

"Floodplain development permits cannot be waived, and local governments cannot reduce or ignore the floodplain requirement," said Dolph Diemont, federal coordinating officer for the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). Diemont heads the U.S. Government portion of federal/state disaster recovery in Wisconsin.

Permits are required for removing or replacing roofs, walls, siding, wallboard, plaster, insulation, paneling, cabinets, flooring, electrical system, plumbing and heating or air conditioning. Repair projects must meet community building codes and flood-damage prevention ordinances.

"Obtaining building permits is especially important for those whose homes or businesses are located within a FEMA-mapped floodplain," said Wisconsin Emergency Management Administrator Johnnie Smith. "Residents rebuilding after our recent floods need to know that building permits are based on local codes and ordinances that are enforced locally, not by FEMA."

  • Permits assure residents and communities that all proposed work complies with current codes, standards, flood ordinances and recommended construction techniques.

  • Permits that include an elevation certificate can provide a permanent record of compliance with elevation and/or retrofitting requirements, which is useful information when selling your home and necessary for the flood insurance rating.

  • Local permit offices can provide suggestions or literature on how to protect your home or business from future disaster-related damages.

  • Local permit offices can provide consumers with information on selecting licensed contractors and with advice on protecting themselves from unscrupulous contractors.

In order for Wisconsin residents and business owners to purchase federal flood insurance, their communities must participate in the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) and must meet minimum federal requirements to control building in flood hazard areas. Local building permits allow communities to fulfill their NFIP requirements and to reduce risks to residents and business owners from future flooding.

Residents are asked to start construction and repairs only after they have received permits from their local community. Construction and repairs begun without proper permits may be subject to stop work orders, fines and penalties.

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.

Last Updated: 
July 16, 2012 - 18:46
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