Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Flood Victim Q&A

Nashville is delaying building permits for some flood victims. Below are answers to some of their common questions.
Is a building permit required to rebuild?

Yes, but the permit is free for flood victims. No permit is needed to gut a house or to remove wet drywall and floors, etc.

Should I wait on my contractor to apply for a permit?

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You don't have to, unless the damage is more than $25,000, in which case the permit requires a licensed general contractor. If the permit is in your name, you're the one responsible for meeting building codes.

You can always get a contractor to put the building permit in his or her name later, instead of yours. Ask your contractor to get a copy of the permit you can keep for verification purposes.

Is Metro rejecting any building permits to repair flood damages?

Not yet, but some with buildings in the 100-year flood plain with substantial damage may have a delay in getting a permit.

Metro could not say how long the delays could be. The city will send an inspector to the home to determine damage. But, in most cases, those with less than 3 feet of water in a one-story home, or less than 6 feet of water in a two-story home, won't be viewed as severely damaged. Owners should get a permit right away. Those outside the 100-year flood zone also should get their permits right away.

Why the delay for some others?

Those who had substantial damage, equating to more than 50 percent of the building's value, may have to rebuild to current standards, meaning the finished floor elevation of the building must be at least 4 feet above the 100-year flood elevation for homes; and at least 1 foot above for commercial buildings in Nashville.

Nashville's elevation requirement is higher than some other cities' in order to drive down flood insurance premiums.

How do I know if I'm in a flood plain?

Check online with Metro to see if your address is in a 100-year flood zone at: or go to the Metro Office Building to see if you can get a building permit at 800 Second Ave. S. between 7:30 a.m. and 4 p.m. Monday through Friday.

SOURCE: Metro Water Services

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