LITTLE ROCK, Ark. -- As Arkansans repair or rebuild homes and other property damaged in this spring's storms, state and federal recovery officials have an important message for them: Haste makes waste when building without a permit.
The Arkansas Department of Emergency Management (ADEM) and Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) urge property owners to stop at their city or county permitting office before they pick up a saw or swing a hammer. Most require builders to get appropriate construction permits before they launch any rebuilding or significant repair project. Many municipalities use different offices for this purpose, so Arkansans should check their local governments' websites first to see where to go.
"We share Arkansans' eagerness to get their homes repaired so they can get on with their lives," said State Coordinating Officer David Maxwell. "We highly recommend they adhere to local regulations and get all necessary permits before they rebuild."
By requiring construction permits, the state of Arkansas and its local governments ensure buildings are built to existing codes, which in turn protects the safety of homeowners and the community at large. Permits are required not only for new construction, but also for rebuilding an existing home or building, or doing substantial electrical, mechanical or plumbing work.
"We'd like to see homeowners use their federal assistance grants wisely and well," said Federal Coordinating Officer Nancy M. Casper. "Following local building ordinances is one way to ensure their homes are sound and their families safe."
The May 2 federal disaster declaration for the storms, floods and tornadoes makes Individual Assistance grants and U.S. Small Business Administration low-interest loans available to help eligible homeowners, renters and business owners repair and rebuild in 30 Arkansas counties.
Arkansans living in a disaster designated county are encouraged to register with FEMA. They may register through any one of FEMA's registration portals: online at www.disasterassistance.gov, via web-enabled phone at m.fema.gov, or by telephone toll free at 1-800-621-FEMA (3362) or TTY 1-800-462-7585. Specialists are available by phone from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. local time seven days a week. Multilingual operators are available.
Visit www.fema.gov or www.adem.arkansas.gov for news and information about this disaster. Follow FEMA tweets about the Arkansas disaster at www.twitter.com/femaregion6. Other online resources include blog.fema.gov, www.facebook.com/fema and www.youtube.com/fema.
FEMA's mission is to support our citizens and first responders to ensure that as a nation we work together to build, sustain, and improve our capability to prepare for, protect against, respond to, recover from, and mitigate all hazards.