Rebuilding After Sandy FAQ

I received a notice from the Building Department with the Town of Hempstead seal and instructions to contact the Plan Examiner’s Office. What is the purpose of this notice?

After a natural disaster, FEMA requires that the town complete a rapid assessment of all structures that have been damaged. These rapid assessments are not intended to serve as a full analysis of the damage to the dwelling. In part, this assessment is to determine the relative safety of the structure and the necessity for building permits.

Please note, by law the requirements for permits cannot be waived for any reason including natural disasters. This is clearly outlined in the FEMA guidelines.

Additionally, this serves as your notice that the town has made or attempted to make a rapid assessment of the damage to your property. Because these were rapid assessments and in many instances the town did not have an opportunity to assess the damage to the interior of the dwelling, you have been asked to contact the town to determine what, if any, permits are required.

What should I do if my heating system was damaged by the storm?

You must hire a Town of Hempstead licensed plumber to repair and/or replace the equipment. Please note that it is the plumber’s responsibility to file a plumbing permit with the town on your behalf. All plumbing fees have been waived for storm-related permits until December 31, 2016. A list of licensed plumbers is available on the Town website (

What should I do if my electrical system was damaged by the storm?

You must hire a Town of Hempstead licensed electrician to repair and/or replace the equipment. Upon completion of the work, the electrician is required to provide you with an electrical inspection certificate that you will need for your records. A list of licensed electricians is available on the town website (

I received a notice to contact the Town, but I had no storm related damage. What should I do?

If your dwelling did not sustain any damage as a result of the storm, contact the Building Department and you will be forwarded an Affidavit of No Flood Damage. Complete the affidavit and return it to the Building Department so that we can close out your storm-related building file.

Why does the notice ask that I bring photos to the Building Department and meet with a Plan Examiner?

The photos and preliminary meeting are used by the Plan Examiner to research the existing records of the Building Department and help the property owner determine what permits are required.

It has been our experience that almost every home that has sustained water damage in excess of two feet of depth on the first floor level will require an architect or engineer to certify the safety of the structure of the dwelling. If you have sustained more than two feet of water damage, you are not required to have a preliminary meeting with a Plan Examiner provided that you obtain a report from your architect or engineer indicating the scope of work and structural safety of the dwelling.

When is a building permit required?

A building permit shall be required for any work which must conform to the Uniform Code and/or the Energy Code, including, but not limited to, the repair, construction, enlargement, alteration, improvement, removal, relocation or demolition of any building or structure or any portion thereof. This would include the removal and replacement of sheetrock and insulation.

When is an architect or engineer required in the permitting process?

An architect or engineer is required to be on record for any permit that either involves the structure of the dwelling, or exceeds $20,000 in construction costs. Only an architect or engineer is recognized by New York State as being qualified to make an assessment of the safety of the structure of the dwelling and make recommendations for its repair.

I have my architect or engineer report. How do I get a permit?

If there are permits on file with the Building Department that match the existing conditions at your dwelling, then in most instances no new drawings are required to file for storm-related repairs. Bring the report to the Building Department, and the staff will assist you in completing the permit application form, make copies of your existing records and, in most cases, approve the permit within the same day. All permit fees have been waived until December 31, 2016 for storm-related damage repair. In order to pick-up the permit you will need the contractor’s Workers Compensation insurance information and the home improvement license number. If the work involves a plumber and/or electrician, then their Town of Hempstead license numbers will be required as well. New drawings may be required if the dwelling has sustained major structural damage and/or will be elevated.

The records of the Building Department do not match my dwelling. What do I do?

If additions and alterations have been made to the dwelling without the benefit of a building permit, then new drawings are required to depict the existing conditions and required repairs. The Building Department cannot issue a permit to repair a structure that was built “illegally”. Additionally, some structures were built pre-dating the existence of the Building Department. These non-conforming structures must obtain building permits to verify their legal non-conforming status prior to the issuance of building permits to repair the storm related damage.

I have to complete paperwork for a Small Business Administration loan. What do I need to do?

If you are applying for a SBA loan you must obtain a permit from the town for the repairs to your dwelling. After you obtain the permit the town will complete its portion of the SBA form.

How do I obtain money for Increased Cost of Compliance (ICC) from the National Flood Insurance Program?

In order for the town to help you with this program you will need to provide the Building Department with either an architect's or engineer's report indicating that there has been substantial damage to the dwelling and it must now be raised in order to meet FEMA regulations. Please contact the plan examiner's office at (516) 812-3073 if you need additional information.

I would like further information about Hazard Mitigation programs.

Hazard mitigation programs are being run through New York State. Visit or call 1-855-NYS-Sandy.