What is the step-by-step process for rebuilding?

Obtain structural and electrical safety reports for your building.  Prior to occupying a structure or proceeding with building, renovating, or adding to a structure, a structural inspection and an electrical inspection must be completed. See also the “Can I occupy a structure and/or connect electric service?” section at the Building Services webpage at http://www.fmbgov.com/building

 Determine your total repair costs to return your building to its pre-damaged condition by obtaining bids from one or more general, building, or residential contractors.

 Compare these estimates to 50% of the pre-damaged building market value. After getting the estimates for repairing the building to its pre-damaged condition, if the total cost (labor and materials) to repair the building to its pre-damaged condition is less than 50% of the market value of the pre-damaged structure (the entire building), you can repair the existing construction in place (provided it was a code-compliant and permitted installation in your flood zone originally) without having to bring the entire building up to the currently enforced building codes and floodplain management regulations.

However, buildings that are substantially damaged (over 50% of the market value) need to meet the current floodplain management regulations. There are many floodplain regulations but the most notable is that new buildings, or substantially damaged or improved buildings (over 50% of their pre-damaged building value), must have their lowest-floor elevation raised to at least the base flood elevation shown on the Flood Insurance Rate Map (FIRM) plus one additional foot (BFE + 1’).  

See also the 50% Rule FAQ page: 


 Decide whether you will be repairing (and possibly elevating) the existing building, or if you will be demolishing the building and building a new building.  

If you decide to demolish your structure and build a new building, you may have your general, building, residential, or demolition specialty contractor apply for a demo permit through the IWorQ online permitting system at http://www.fmbgov.com/building.  The contractor will remove the home.   

Note that you can seek funding assistance for this demolition from FEMA through http://www.IanDebrisCleanup.com. Be sure to mention at that website that you have the debris from another home on your property as well. 

Discuss your situation with your insurance adjuster. If you had federal flood insurance, you’ll want to look into applying for “Increased Cost of Compliance” coverage with your insurance adjuster prior to demolition.  If you’re pursuing this, you’ll need to provide the insurance adjuster with a substantial damage determination letter.  More info is below: 

For structures that are completely destroyed or near completely destroyed by flood damage: 

Please send an email our Floodplain Coordinator, Kristin Schumacher (Kristin.Schumacher@fmbgov.com) with a description of the scenario and request a substantial damage determination letter. The Town of Fort Myers Beach Floodplain specialists will review the damage and issue a substantial damage determination letter if appropriate. 

If substantial damage to the structure is confirmed, a SI/SD determination letter will be emailed to the property owner.  Copies of notifications of substantial damage and not substantial damage are attached. 

A copy of this correspondence to property owners will be recorded in the online IWorQ permitting system under the property address. 

For structures that have sustained flood damage but are not destroyed or nearly destroyed (and will be renovated instead of demolished): 

To request a substantial damage determination letter, please work with your licensed contractor to complete a repair/improvement cost form at the link below which itemizes your repair costs: 


Email the repair/improvement cost form to our Floodplain Coordinator, Kristin Schumacher (Kristin.Schumacher@fmbgov.com). She will review the supplied cost estimate for a possible 50% substantial improvement or substantial damage (SI/SD) determination. If it is determined that the total cost of repair (labor and materials) will exceed 50% of the pre-damaged market value of the structure, a substantial damage determination letter will be issued, and you can forward this substantial damage determination letter to your insurance company for Increased Cost of Compliance (ICC) purposes.  

For more information on the “50% rule,” including instructions on determining the 50% threshold amount, here is a link to our 50% Rule page:


For repairs to existing structures which are not substantially damaged (less than 50%):  If you need to change, replace, or extend plumbing, electrical, mechanical, or structural systems of the building, you need a residential (both inside and outside work) permit, an interior remodel (just inside work) permit, or a trade permit (to work on an electrical, plumbing, or mechanical system). It is recommended that property owners have Florida-licensed contractors obtain the permit(s) in the contractor’s name. 

All permit applications are exclusively accepted using the IWorQ online permitting system. 

Permitting information is at http://www.fmbgov.com/building 

All permitting forms are found at: https://fortmyers.portal.iworq.net/portalhome/fortmyers 

Once the permit is issued you can check the permit status, pay fees, print permits and approved job site plans, schedule inspections, and check inspection results using the permit portal:


All permitting-related emails, resubmittals and to add additional documents to the application after initial online submittal, permitting questions, etc.: buildingpermits@fmbgov.com

Inspections questions or cancellation requests: inspections@fmbgov.com

Contractor registration, license, and insurance updates: contractorregistration@fmbgov.com

Replying to a plan review rejection letter: resubmittal@fmbgov.com 

For repairs to existing structures which are substantially damaged (more than 50%):  Substantially damaged structures will need to meet all current building code and floodplain management regulations. There are many floodplain regulations but the most notable is that new buildings, or substantially damaged or improved buildings (where the total cost is over 50% of their pre-damaged building value), must have their lowest-floor elevation raised to at least the base flood elevation shown on the Flood Insurance Rate Map (FIRM) plus one additional foot (BFE + 1’).  

The Town recommends that you consult with a design professional (Florida-licensed engineer or architect) and a general contractor to help you determine design criteria for your structure if you are constructing a new building or have a building that is substantially damaged or substantially improved.  Once you have their design and estimates, you’ll be able to make a more informed decision about what will work best for your circumstances. 

For more information, please see our 50% rule page:


Show All Answers

1. Am I in the jurisdiction of the Town of Fort Myers Beach if I have a Fort Myers Beach U.S. postal service address?
2. How long is my permit good for?
3. When is a permit required?
4. What happens if I choose not to obtain the required permits?
5. How do I submit my paperwork for a rebuild and obtain an issued permit?
6. Glass windows and doors--what is the requirement for replacement of windows and doors? Is there a requirement for a certain level of "hurricane" glass?
7. Where can I find the forms to submit a building permit application?
8. What is the current review period for building permits and how do I contact my reviewer?
9. PERMITS GENERAL (category)
10. How do I check the status of an existing building permit?
11. What are the requirements for a site plan?
12. Which permit do I get for a temporary power pole?
13. Where can I send my general building permit questions? (i.e. fence, remodel, single family home, etc.)
14. How do I extend my permit that is issued but about to expire?
15. Do I need a permit to Erect/ Replace a fence?
16. How much do permits cost?
17. How do I pay for my building permit?
18. How can I respond to a rejection letter that I received from one of the reviewers about my building permit application?
19. How can I submit my building permit application paperwork?
20. What happens if my permit expires?
21. What is a Notice of Commencement (NOC), do I need to file one, and how do file my NOC?
22. Should we get this far, what is the anticipated time frame for obtaining a building permit?
23. Are you currently issuing permits for repair of hurricane damaged homes, or will there be a delay before you begin to issue permits?
24. How close can a pool enclosure/pool be to a seawall?
25. Do I need a permit for a deck?
26. Do I need a permit for a Chickee hut?
27. Only drywall, baseboards, cabinets and finished flooring was damaged in our home. Do I need a building permit and repair/improvement cost form to repair these damages?
28. APPRAISALS (category)
29. Given that the appraisal is higher than the tax assessed value, will this trigger a requirement for a second appraisal?
30. Will an AVM "appraisal" be an accepted alternative appraisal method?
31. CONDOS (category)
32. What do I need if I live in a condo and want to replace my windows?
33. The bottom level of our building was severely damaged by the hurricane. Can ground level areas be rebuilt?
34. What is needed for minor Condo Renovations?
35. CODE (category)
36. How close can you get to a non-seawalled natural body of water (Rip Rap)?
37. What are the code requirements for construction in Fort Myers Beach?
38. What are the rules for swimming pool barriers in Florida and what are my responsibilities as a property owner?
39. CONTRACTORS (category)
40. Does the town have a list of registered contractors?
41. Do I need a contractor? What does it mean to be an "owner builder?"
42. Can you recommend an engineer/architect/contractor?
43. How does a contractor get registered with the Town of Fort Myers Beach?
44. DEMOLITION (category)
45. I’ve decided to demolish my building as it was substantially damaged. Will the city be removing my home?
46. How do I acquire a demolition permit?
47. I’ve decided to demolish my home. What is my next step?
48. ELEVATION (category)
49. Where do I find the elevation of my home?
50. Is it possible to elevate my existing building?
51. What is the “lowest floor” of a building and what is the elevation reference point which must be elevated above the minimum elevation?