Additional information about rebuilding and permitting can be found on the main Rebuilding page.

Property Restoration & Rebuilding

FEMA "Buyout Program"

HUD Community Development Block Grant – Disaster Recovery (CDBG-DR)

If you have a question that is not addressed here, please email your question to

Property Restoration & Rebuilding

Do we need a permit for flood repairs such as wet insulation and drywall removal and replacement, wood floor removal and replacement?

The answer to this question depends upon the level of damage to the structure. County building permits are not required for minimal, basic flood repairs such as removal and reinstallation of carpeting or removal and replacement of drywall. A building permit is required if the flood water / mud / debris level was more than 15” above the floor or if any electrical wiring or receptacles (outlets) were damaged or if a furnace, boiler or water heater was damaged. Additional structural repairs, repairs to mechanical systems, or other more substantial repairs may also trigger the requirement for a building permit. If you are unsure if a permit is required, please contact our Building Safety and Inspection Services Team at 303-441-3925 for additional information.

Homeowners and landlords are advised to hire only contractors that are licensed in Boulder County. Licensed contractors are required to obtain building permits when needed, and all work covered under the building permit is required to be inspected by the County. This can help to provide peace of mind regarding the quality of the work and the safety of the installation.

My furnace got wet in the flood. I’ve heard I can simply repair it instead of replace it. Is this true?

If your furnace or water heater was even partially submerged by water, it is essential that it is evaluated by a licensed contractor to ensure that is safe to use. Most of the time, these devices will need to be replaced, and cannot be repaired without compromising their safety features. For more information, see U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission regarding flood affected gas control valves, circuit breakers, fuses, and other components.

Will a contractor have to go through the same permit and inspection process if doing repairs to address flood damage?

Certain types of permits may be available on an expedited basis. The 2013 Flood Recovery, Restoration and Repair Permit allows you to submit your application and receive an over-the-counter permit during the same visit for specific types of work. These permits are for flood repairs such as basement finishing, interior remodel, window replacement due to flood damage, as well as replacement of furnace/boilers, water heaters, electrical repairs, reroof, siding, gas line repair and plumbing. For more information, see Flood Rebuilding.

I understand that I need to have a structural engineer to inspect the safety of my property. Can you help me understand the process for this?

If your property sustained structural damage as a result of the flood, a thorough evaluation of your structure’s stability is highly encouraged. There are many structural deficiencies that may not be obvious at first glance. A structural engineer’s evaluation can help you understand if problems exist and how these issues might be remedied. If your house was severely damaged and especially if your house exists within the floodway, an engineer’s evaluation may be required prior to issuance of building permits to determine the extent of the damage, to determine if the structure is eligible to be rebuilt in the same location, and to determine what new building/floodproofing code requirements may be necessary.

My property was affected by the flood but I don’t know what impact it had to my septic system. How do I know if the system is still working properly?

If any of the following scenarios are true for your septic system, there’s a good chance your septic has been damaged and requires repair:

  • There is a change in grading in the area of the septic system.
  • An area of the septic system has collapsed.
  • There is significant erosion in the area of the septic system.
  • There are signs of exposed gravel or infiltrators in the absorption bed/trench.
  • Parts of the septic system (absorption bed/trench, septic tank, pipes) are exposed.
  • Electrical components or wiring in a lift/pump tank are inundated with water.
  • There are sewage back-ups or very slow sewage drainage inside the home.
  • There is pooling, flowing, or surfacing sewage from the septic system.

Please note that septic system repairs require repair permits from Boulder County Environmental Health SepticSmart. Please call 303-441-1564 to speak with a Water Quality Specialist who will guide you through this process.

FEMA "Buyout Program"

What is the purpose of the program?

According to FEMA’s website, the Hazard Mitigation Grant Program (HMGP) – also known as the “buyout program” or “404 funding” – funds certain long-term hazard mitigation measures after a major disaster declaration. The program was created to reduce or eliminate the loss of life and property due to future natural disasters.

How do I participate in the program?

Participation in the program is completely voluntary. However, FEMA has very specific guidelines regarding which properties can qualify, and not all destroyed or substantially damaged properties will be eligible. For more detailed information, see the FEMA Hazard Mitigation Grant Program FAQ. Residents that would like to indicate interest in this program should email or call toll-free 866-953-2325. Indicating interest does not commit you to anything, nor does it guarantee eligibility.

How much funding will be available?

According to both FEMA and the state, funding for this program is limited, so there will be important decisions to make regarding the most effective use of funds. Funds will be allocated by FEMA to the state based on a percentage of the total FEMA disaster assistance expenditure amount in Colorado. Local governments such as Boulder County will be sub-grantees and receive funds through the state, but the exact amount for Boulder County is not yet known.

How can funds be used?

Uses can include: Property acquisition for willing sellers (a.k.a., the “buyout program”), elevation of flood-prone structures, minor flood control projects, and other critical measures that reduce risk of future loss. The state, in collaboration with local governments, ultimately will determine the use of HMGP funds in Colorado.

What is the process and timing of the program?

We are told that this program is a long process from start to completion, so participating residents will need to plan accordingly, which we realize can be difficult. Buyouts can take one to three years for completion. The state made a funding announcement in mid-December 2013. A Notice of Intent was due by local governments to the state by January 13, 2014, and final applications are due March 14. Applications will be approved between two and nine months after submittal, depending on complexity. There will be a second round of funding applications due in August 2014.

Boulder County has been analyzing substantially damaged areas and properties in the flood plain to determine potential project areas, and will submit highest priorities for the first round of funding. The state has the ultimate responsibility for selecting and prioritizing projects that we will submit.


What is the purpose of the community development block grant – disaster recovery (CDBG-DR)?

The purpose of CDBG-DR is to help communities recover from a major disaster. CDBG-DR is intended to address “unmet need” in disaster recovery, in other words recovery needs not addressed through FEMA and Small Business Administration assistance as well other federal funding sources. This funding cannot duplicate other funding received, including all federal and grant funding resources except for private loans.

How is the funding allocated?

Individuals do not apply for CDBG-DR funding directly. The State will submit an Action Plan (application) that describes the needs and projected uses of CDBG-DR in Colorado. Local governments such as Boulder County will be sub-grantees and will manage the funds in each community, directing resources to recovery priorities that meet the program requirements of CDBG-DR.

How can funds be used?

Funding is divided into three categories: Housing, Public Infrastructure, and Economic Development. There are a number of eligible uses for CDBG-DR funding, for example: housing rehabilitation and construction, rental and homeownership assistance, purchase of damaged properties, job creation and retention, marketing campaigns for economic development, code enforcement, and repair of ditches, streambeds, waterways, and private roads and bridges. CDBG-DR requires that 50 percent of funds are used for activities that principally benefit low- to moderate-income individuals.

How do I make sure my unmet needs are addressed?

It is important that local governments such as Boulder County are aware of all of the unmet need in the community so that resources can be prioritized appropriately. The Long-Term Flood Recovery Group – a group of private, non-profit, faith-based and local government community members coordinating individual long-term recovery efforts – will be conducting in-depth needs assessments for individuals in Boulder County. Ideally, the Long-Term Flood Recovery Group’s resources and CDBG-DR funding will work in collaboration to ensure residents in Boulder County can recover as fully as possible. A Long-Term Flood Recovery Group website and application will be launched in early 2014, so please check the resources page to connect to long-term recovery resources. You also can call 2-1-1 to find out resources for immediate needs.

How much funding will be available?

In December, Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Shaun Donovan announced an allocation of $63 million for all of Colorado. Eighty percent of that amount will be directed to Boulder, Weld and Larimer Counties. Additional allocations might be granted to Colorado in the future.

What is the process and timing of the program?

We are told that this is a slow-moving pool of funds. Following Secretary Donovan’s announcement and publication in the Federal Register, Colorado has 90 days to submit their Action Plan (application). HUD then has 45 days to review the Action Plan. Based on that timeline, we anticipate CDBG-DR funding could begin flowing any time between March and June 2014.

For more information, see HUD’s CDBG-DR webpage at: