Proper Permits Needed Before Rebuilding

​FEMA Fact Sheet: June 13, 2022
DR-4652-NM FS 018

Proper Permits Needed Before Rebuilding

One of the first places New Mexico residents should visit before rebuilding is the local authority that issues building permits. It usually takes about four working days to process a request. Plus, staff members can explain building codes, walk you through the permit process and answer questions.

Rebuilding After a Wildfire

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.

Rebuilding in a Floodplain

Obtaining a building permit is especially important for those whose homes or businesses are located within a FEMA[1]mapped floodplain. However, residents rebuilding need to know that building permits are based on local codes and ordinances that are enforced locally, not by FEMA.

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. Staff can also discuss using fire resistant construction materials to protect your property in future disasters.

Be aware:

  • Officials warn that if proper permits are not obtained, residents may be subject to stop-work orders, fines or penalties.
  • FEMA does not recommend or endorse contractors, and officials warn people to be leery of contractors who claim they are authorized by FEMA. They are not.

To address many of the common myths and rumors during the New Mexico wildfires, FEMA activated a rumor/myth webpage. You can access it online at

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