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Rebuilding Coastline Property After Tropical Storm Irene? Obtain the Required Permits; Consider Flood Smart Techniques

Release date: 
October 26, 2011
Release Number: 

WINDSOR, Conn. -- The Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) urge home and business owners along Connecticut’s coastline to obtain required permits and consider flood smart building techniques before rebuilding coastal property after Tropical Storm Irene.


Rebuilding along Connecticut’s coast may require a building permit from the town in which the work will be accomplished. Find out which permits are required in your community and secure them before rebuilding coastal property.

Securing correct building permits is the property owner’s responsibility. Owners of properties along the coast who agree to have their contractor secure a permit should follow up with building officials to verify accuracy.

“Residents should contact their local building officials to determine if permits are required for rebuilding property along the coastline,” said Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection Commissioner Reuben F. Bradford.

To access the building code for the State of Connecticut, visit:

To learn more, visit the Connecticut Department of Consumer Protection website:

Additional permits may be required for properties located in federally designated floodplains and special flood hazard areas. For advice on rebuilding in these areas, consult your local floodplain administrator before beginning repairs.

“The permit must be in hand before the work begins. Find out through your local officials if permits are required for rebuilding property located in designated floodplains,” said FEMA Federal Coordinating Officer Stephen M. De Blasio Sr.

FEMA is not a permitting agency. Receipt of a disaster grant, loan or flood insurance claim in no way implies permission for rebuilding or repair.

  • Siting – Build away from eroding shorelines and flood-prone areas.
  • Building Form – Design buildings to have a stable and unobtrusive profile to reducepossibilities for wind-related damage.
  • Lowest Floor Elevation – Elevate the bottom of the lowest horizontal structural member above the 100-year floodplain. Add additional “freeboard” to reduce damage and lower flood insurance premiums.
  • Free of Obstructions – Use an open foundation. Do not obstruct the area below the elevated portion of the building. Avoid or minimize the use of breakaway walls. Do not install utilities or finish enclosed areas below the 100-year floodplain.
  • Foundation – Make sure the foundation is deep enough to resist the effects of erosion; strong enough to resist wave, current, flood, and debris forces; and is capable of transferring wind and seismic forces on upper stories to the ground.
  • Mechanical and Utilities – Elevate electrical boxes, HVAC and other equipment should be elevated to avoid flood damage and be strategically located to avoid wind damage. Utility lines and conduits should be installed to minimize potential flood damage.
    • Breakaway Walls – If lower areas must be enclosed, install breakaway walls in coastal areas in the one percent (100-year) floodplain, where there is a 26 percent risk of flooding during a 30-year mortgage and an additional hazard of storm waves exists. Breakaway walls should be installed below the lowest floor that is not part of the structural support of the building. They are designed to collapse under s...
Last Updated: 
July 16, 2012 - 18:46
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