This is a topic that I will save for another time/discussion. The most important thing now and for the next 30 days will be to make homes safe and to properly mitigate the damages. It will be VERY important to choose the right professional to help you in the home rebuilding process (see some of the suggestions mentioned below). It’s of even more benefit if you can find someone who will help with BOTH the remediation AND the rebuilding (it will stream line the process). Most remediation companies will not rebuild and most remodelers/builders won’t remediate (or they don’t have the proper training and equipment to do so).
When home rebuilding, what questions should I ask to screen out bad contractors? What are the red flags?
Look for contractors who:
- Are they members of a professional trade organization, such as the Greater Houston Builders Association (www.ghba.org, 281-970-8970) or the National Association of the Remodeling Industry www.NARIHouston.com.
- Get and call references and confirm that they have done this type of work (in your part of town) before. Avoid all out of town contractors.
- Are they BBB members and are they listed there when you search www.BBBhou.org. Check their rating. If you search on the BBB site and they don’t show up at all, that is a red flag. If they have no reviews (Google, Yelp, Houzz, etc.), that is a red flag. Pass them by. All legitimate contractors have at least these trappings of professionalism.
- Do they have a general liability insurance policy in place? If so have the insurance company send you proof of insurance. Do NOT take the insurance certificate directly from the contractor. They can be easily forged.
What questions should I ask when I call a contractor’s references?
Here are some great questions to ask:
- What was the communication like? Could you get your contractor on the phone if you needed him or her?
- Did you get a weekly Schedule?
- How neat was the jobsite kept? Did they broom clean the job every day? Did they use any dust removal machines?
- Do you feel like you got a good value for the price paid?
- What were the workmen like? How comfortable were you having them in your home? Were they friendly and polite, or were some “sketchy”?
- Was there always an English-speaking person on the job in case you had an important question?
- Did they have a fixed place of business or did they work out of the back of their truck?
Other thoughts and helpful resources:
- Microbial growth will start (has already started) to become a large issue. The “14 day window” has passed and the microbial growth will start to flourish in any untreated structure. I was in a home yesterday that now has atmospheric microbial growth and will require special handling and treatment. PLEASE be careful and protect yourself, your friends and neighbors. When in doubt, call or consult with a professional!! I am happy to give/share advice with as many people as I can for free. Please call/text/email and I will respond as soon as possible (281-726-1815 cell / 281-501-9820 / david@threeDbuilder.com) . It’s the least that I can do to help my community in need.
- Greater Houston Builders Association – GHBA.org is a FANTASTIC free resource and wealth of information about recovery and choosing a local/qualified remodeler and/or builder
- FEMA – fema.gov links to the FEMA protocols and memos specifically related to Hurricane Harvey
- Although it’s not required, I have been recommending to my clients to have a mold test done and certify the completed remediation of the home after the mitigation process has been completed and BEFORE the rebuilding process starts.