OLYMPIA, Wash.?-- Officials of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the Washington Emergency Management Division (WEMD) are advising Washington residents affected by the January 6-16, 2009, severe winter storm, landslides and flooding to get proper permits when rebuilding their damaged property.? ?
"One of the most important things you can do when rebuilding is to get the proper permits," said Federal Coordinating Officer Willie Nunn. "You'll protect yourself and your investment from unsatisfactory work. You?ll also likely save money, too."
Proper permits are assurance that the proposed work complies with the current codes, standards, flood ordinances and recommended construction techniques. The permit includes an elevation certificate; it also will provide a permanent record of compliance with applicable elevation and/or retrofitting requirements ? useful information when selling a home and necessary for the flood insurance rating.
State Coordinating Officer Kurt Hardin said, "Obtaining building permits is especially important for those whose homes or businesses are located within a FEMA-mapped floodplain. 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."
Officials warn that if proper permits are not obtained, residents may be subject to stop work orders, fines and penalties.
Contacting your local permit office will also provide residents with information on how to find licensed contractors. These offices can provide suggestions on consumer protection against unscrupulous contractors, as well as how to protect homes or businesses from future disaster-related damage.
FEMA and WEMD do not recommend or endorse any contractors, and officials warn people to be leery of any contractors who claim they are authorized by FEMA or WEMD. They are not.
FEMA leads and supports the nation in a risk-based, comprehensive emergency management system of preparedness, protection, response, recovery, and mitigation, to reduce the loss of life and property and protect the nation from all hazards including natural disasters, acts of terrorism and man-made disasters.