PURVIS, Miss. – State and federal recovery officials are urging Mississippians to obtain any necessary building permits before starting new construction or repairs to property damaged by the recent tornadoes and flooding.
“Getting building permits is necessary for those with homes or businesses damaged by the storms,” said Federal Coordinating Officer Terry Quarles. “Residents need to know that permits are based on local ordinances enforced by their communities.”
In Mississippi, depending on the size and nature of the project, additional building permits beyond a basic document may be required before rebuilding begins. There also might be a need for a flood-elevation certificate. Special permits are required for demolition work, asbestos removal, and sometimes for use of portable storage containers. Typically, all permits must be obtained before construction begins.
“Having the proper permits before repairs or rebuilding begins will protect the homeowner,” said State Coordinating Officer Robert Latham. “These permits will ensure that the local government knows what work is occurring in their area and that it will be done to their standards. It can be frustrating for residents who make repairs without a permit to find out after the fact that the repairs are not up to local ordinances and they may have to spend more money on additional repairs to their property.”
Securing the correct local building permit is the homeowner’s responsibility. Those who agree to have their contractors secure permits on their behalf should follow up with building officials to verify. Permits may be required for repairs to roofs, walls, siding, wallboard, plaster, insulation, paneling, cabinets, flooring, electrical wiring, plumbing, heating, ventilation and air-conditioning systems.
Local permitting offices can provide suggestions and information on how to protect homes or businesses from future disaster-related damages and might be able provide consumers with information on choosing licensed contractors as well as advice on protecting homeowners from unscrupulous contractors.
FEMA and MEMA are not permitting agencies and do not authorize rebuilding or repair simply by providing disaster grants, loans or, in FEMA’s case, settling flood-insurance claims. The agencies do not recommend or endorse any contractors, and recovery officials warn people to be wary of any contractors who claim they are authorized by FEMA or MEMA. They are not.
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.
Disaster recovery assistance is available without regard to race, color, religion, nationality, sex, age, disability, English proficiency or economic status. If you or someone you know has been discriminated against, call FEMA toll-free at 800-621-FEMA (3362). For TTY call 800-462-7585.
FEMA’s temporary housing assistance and grants for public transportation expenses, medical and dental expenses, and funeral and burial expenses do not require individuals to apply for an SBA loan. However, applicants who receive SBA loan applications must submit them to SBA loan officers to be eligible for assistance that covers personal property, vehicle repair or replacement, and moving and storage expenses.