Obtaining a Building Permit

Permit requirements are based on where your property is located and what damage was caused by the storm. In order to get a building permit to start repairing or rebuilding your home, you will probably need the following three documents:
 
  • Elevation Certificate Obtained as part of your flood insurance documents or mortgage documents. If you have not received it, you will need to check with a licensed land surveyor. This certificate will help you determine if your current slab elevation meets the Base Flood Elevation for your particular flood zone.
  • Cost of Repair Estimates No guessing here. The repair estimate should be obtained from a licensed general contractor, professional construction estimator, or insurance adjuster.
  • Fair Market ValueAcceptable estimates of your home’s market value include a recent appraisal (value of land not included), a copy of your homeowners or flood insurance policy stating the value of the structure, a tax bill, or a comparative market analysis prepared by a licensed real estate broker.
 
Frequently Asked Questions About Damage and Building Codes
 
Q. Suppose I don't agree with the official damage assessment of my home. What can I do?
 
A. You may dispute the assessment by visiting your local permit office to request a re-evaluation of your property. To quickly complete the assessment, bring with you: the estimated market value of your house prior to the storm, a detailed description of all damage, and photos that show the specific areas of contention.
 
Q. How will officials decide if a building should be demolished?
 
A. Inspectors will evaluate how structurally sound a property is. They will recommend demolition if: damage affected more than 50 percent of the structure, or estimated repairs would cost more than 50 percent of the property's pre-hurricane value.
 
Q. Do I need to wait for an inspection before I start cleaning and gutting my property?
 
A. No.
 
Q. How do I determine my Base Flood Elevation (BFE), and where do I get an Elevation Survey?
 
A. The Base Flood Elevation is determined by an elevation survey, which can be acquired by having a licensed surveyor do a certified elevation survey of your property.
 
Q. I want to repair my home even if the government thinks I should demolish it. What can I do?
 
A. You will need to obtain the right building permits, and all repairs must follow current building standards to make sure the building is structurally safe. You should take pictures of every step of work during reconstruction.
 
Slow Down and Catch Your Breath!
You've just navigated through the most technical information in the guide book, you came out just fine, and there are clear skies ahead. Your journey is a long one from here, but you've got good weather and the wind at your back.