CLINTON, Miss. -- As Mississippians repair or rebuild their flood-damaged property, state and federal recovery officials have an important message: be sure you have a building permit.
Property owners should visit their city or county permitting office before they pick up a saw or swing a hammer. Many local governments require construction permits before people undertake any rebuilding or significant repair project.
"We know folks are eager to get their homes repaired so they can get on with their lives," said Mississippi Emergency Management Agency Director Mike Womack. "We strongly recommend they follow local regulations and get all necessary permits before they rebuild."
Flood damage can be so extensive that a homeowner may choose to hire a contractor to do the work. Protect yourself. When hiring a contractor, make sure they obtain the necessary permits and are licensed to work in Mississippi.
Call the Consumer Protection Division of the Mississippi Office of the State Attorney General at 800-281-4418 to report fraudulent contractors. To ask questions about contractors operating in the area, call the Mississippi State Board of Contractors at 800-880-6161.
"We'd like to see homeowners use their federal assistance grants wisely and well," said Federal Coordinating Officer Terry L. Quarles. "Following local building ordinances is one way to ensure homes are sound and families safe."
Permits ensure that construction meets existing codes and standards. Generally, permits are required for new construction, for rebuilding an existing home or building, or for undertaking substantial electrical, mechanical or plumbing work.
Mississippians should check with their city or county government to see what agency handles building permits.
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.