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Commonly asked questions
about St. Bernard Parish's demolition process
October 11, 2005

Q: Who will decide whether my home is to be demolished?

A: Parish officials said that in most cases property owners will decide. Professional building inspectors will evaluate each property and report to the Parish Council and administrators, who will recommend to the owner whether the property should be demolished. All demolition will require permission from the property owner, unless an owner is negligent in responding to attempts to reach the owner. Owners will not have to wait for the inspection to start rebuilding, but must obtain necessary permits.

Q: How will officials decide whether to recommend that a building be demolished?

A: Inspectors will evaluate the structural integrity of a property and will recommend demolition for cases in which damage affected more than 50 percent of the structure or when estimated repairs would cost more than 50 percent of the property's pre-Katrina value. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency will examine homes for hazardous substances and contamination. The parish's recommendation will not consider the EPA report, but officials will make it available to homeowners.

Q: Who will pay to demolish my property?

A: If the inspector's report recommends demolition and the owner concurs, the property will be demolished at no cost to the owner. Parish contractors, paid by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, will do the job. The slab will then be evaluated; if it is significantly damaged, the slab will be also removed with the house.

Q: Do I need to wait for an inspection before I start cleaning and gutting my property?

A: No.

Q: I want to repair my home even if the government thinks I should demolish it. What do I do?

A: You need to obtain appropriate building permits from the parish, and all repairs will be required to follow current building standards and guarantee the structural safety of the building. You should take pictures of every step of work during reconstruction. If the property was affected by the oil spill at Murphy Oil, you should coordinate any rebuilding activities with the company's claim center at 1 (877) 511-1006.

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