Proper Permits Needed Before Rebuilding

Release Date Release Number
NR DR-4438-OK 20
Release Date:
June 26, 2019

Oklahoma City, OK – Oklahomans affected by the severe storms, straight-line winds, tornadoes and flooding between May 7 and June 9 are advised to get proper permits when rebuilding their damaged property.

Every part of a building — from roofs, walls and siding to plumbing, septic systems and heating/air conditioning systems — may require a permit before rebuilding. A permit may also be needed for demolition.

Permits protect owners, residents, communities and buildings by making sure repairs and/or construction meet current building codes, standards, floodplain ordinances and construction techniques. Permits also provide a permanent record of compliance with elevation and/or retrofitting requirements, which is valuable information when selling the structure or obtaining flood insurance coverage.

Obtaining building permits is especially important for those whose homes or businesses are located within a FEMA-mapped floodplain. However, residents rebuilding after the recent disaster in Oklahoma need to know that building permits are based on local codes and ordinances that are enforced locally, not by FEMA.

Officials warn that if proper permits are not obtained, residents may be subject to stop-work orders, fines or penalties.

Contacting your community’s Floodplain Administration at the local permit office may also provide information on how to find licensed contractors. These offices can provide suggestions on consumer protection against unscrupulous contractors, as well as how to protect homes or businesses from future disaster-related damage.

FEMA does not recommend or endorse any contractors, and officials warn people to be leery of any contractors who claim they are authorized by FEMA. They are not.

Find out more about the recent disaster in Oklahoma at and Follow us on Twitter at and the FEMA Blog at

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FEMA's mission is to help before, during and after disasters.

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.

The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) is the federal government’s primary source of money for the long-term rebuilding of disaster-damaged private property. SBA helps businesses of all sizes, private non-profit organizations, homeowners and renters fund repairs or rebuilding efforts and cover the cost of replacing lost or disaster-damaged personal property. These disaster loans cover losses not fully compensated by insurance or other recoveries and do not duplicate benefits of other agencies or organizations. For more information, applicants may contact SBA’s Disaster Assistance Customer Service Center by calling 800-659-2955, emailing, or visiting SBA’s website at Deaf and hard-of-hearing individuals may call 800-877-8339.

Last updated March 18, 2021