BATON ROUGE, La. — The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is urging owners of homes and other buildings to get appropriate building permits before they begin any construction work on properties damaged by Hurricane Isaac.
This is especially important for structures located in Special Flood Hazard Areas, also known as regulatory floodplains.
Communities that participate in FEMA’s National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) enforce a requirement called the “substantial damage rule.” Properties subject to the rule are those in a regulatory floodplain for which repairs will cost at least 50 percent of the structure’s pre-disaster market value.
For example, if a structure’s market value before the damage was $200,000 and repairs are estimated to cost $120,000, that structure is “substantially damaged.” Land value, which is determined by local officials, is excluded from the determination.
Buildings in regulatory floodplains that are substantially damaged must comply with local floodplain management regulations. Owners who decide to rebuild may need to elevate or retrofit their structures or change them in some other way to comply and to avoid future flood losses. Owners of nonresidential structures have the additional option of making the buildings floodproof.
Owners can obtain specific information about building permits from local officials who enforce the “substantial damage” rule and other requirements.
Floodplain management regulations are designed to mitigate future losses of life and property. FEMA, the state and local communities are working together throughout the areas impacted by Hurricane Isaac to help Louisianians rebuild and recover with safety and security.
Individuals, families and business owners who sustained uninsured and underinsured damages in those parishes can register for assistance at www.disasterassistance.gov, via web-enabled phone at m.fema.gov or by calling 1-800-621-3362 or TTY 1-800-462-7585. Those who use 711 Relay or Video Relay Services may call 1-800-621-3362. The toll-free telephone numbers operate daily from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m.
For more information on Louisiana disaster recovery, click www.fema.gov/disaster/4080 or www.gohsep.la.gov. You can follow FEMA on Twitter at www.twitter.com/femaregion6 or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/FEMA. Also visit our blog at www.fema.gov/blog.