Post Disaster Permitting


Post Disaster Permitting Process

In the event of a devastating natural disaster, homes in Birmingham may be damaged. But when residents are ready to repair and rebuild, they face the usual lengthy permit process that is currently required by the local, State and Federal Government to replace or restore any structure.

Always check with the Department of Planning, Engineering and Permits before you build on, alter, regrade, fill or do any other development on your property.  A Floodplain Development Permit Application must be completed and submitted for review, prior to any development taking place within a floodplain. If you see building, filling or any other development without a City permit sign posted, contact the Permitting Services Office at (205) 254-2904, as the project maySubstantial Improvement increase flooding on your property. The City’s Floodplain Ordinance requires that all new residential (including manufactured homes) buildings be elevated one foot or more above the 100-year base flood elevation. New non-residential buildings (commercial, industrial, etc.) must be elevated or flood proofed to a level of one foot or more above the base flood elevation. The ordinance also requires that all substantial improvements to a building be treated as new construction subject to elevation or flood proofing.   A substantial improvement means any repairs or improvements that equal or exceed 50% of the market value of the building. If you are interested in knowing all of the floodplain ordinance development requirements, you may request a copy from the Department of Planning, Engineering and Permits.

Here are the Steps to take in order to Repair or Rebuild Your Property/Business after a Disaster according to the City of Birmingham Codes and Regulations:

  1. Contact the City of Birmingham Floodplain Management Staff at (205) 254-2479 for FEMA Disaster Assistance Information.  FEMA Grants and SBA Low Interest Loans may be available.
  2. Contact the City of Birmingham for Building Permits and Regulations.  Get information on how to apply for permits at the Department of Planning, Engineering & Permits. For more information call the City Permits Division at (205) 254-2904.
  3. Contact City of Birmingham Floodplain Management Staff.  Find out if your property is located in a floodplain area by calling (205) 254-2479 to obtain the rebuild/repair requirements. If your property is determined to be in a floodplain, (Go to Step 4). If your property is determined NOT to be located in a floodplain, please call 254-2904 to obtain the repair/rebuild requirements for your property (Go to Step 8).
  4. Obtain an Estimate of Damage Related Repair Costs and Schedule an Interview.  You will need to obtain a detailed, itemized estimate of the damages to your property caused by the disaster event. Afterwards, contact the Floodplain Management Office (205) 254-2479 to schedule an interview.
  5. Schedule and Receive Property Disaster Related Damage Inspection.  After the interview, a city inspector will call you to schedule and perform a property disaster related damage inspection.
  6. City Reviews, Processes Information and Calculates Disaster Related Damages.  The Floodplain Management Staff will review inspection and estimate information for completeness and reasonableness. Reviewed information is entered in FEMA approved Damage Assessment Program to calculate disaster related damage as a percent of building value.
  7. City Approval and Citizen Notifications of Flood Protection Requirements.  Damage assessment results are finally reviewed and approved by the Floodplain Administrator. Upon approval, a determination letter is sent to resident specifying decision outcome, pertinent flood protection requirements and instructions for obtaining your building permit.
  8. Apply for your Building Permits.  After you have been notified as stated in Step 7, go to the Department of Planning, Engineering & Permits, Room 210, City Hall to apply for your building permit.