Storm Damage? Hire Licensed Professionals
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Storms Can Wreak Havoc on Your Home
Don’t allow storm damage to wreck havoc on your finances.
After a major storm, you may be facing extensive home repairs. While it may be tempting to try DIY solutions, storm damage often requires professional help. Here are a few reasons to hire licensed contractors after storm damage.
Licensed Professionals Have the Right Tools and Training
Mold can begin to grown on all cellulose materials (drapes, carpet, clothes, just about everything) within 24-48 hours. Call a professional drying company. They have the tools to remove the water and to dry down the building. This action may help to mitigate your damage.
Storm damage repairs often require specialized tools and techniques. According to the International Code Council, construction standards are complex, and inadequate repairs can impact structural integrity. Licensed professionals have years of training and access to proper equipment.
Licensed Professinals Follow Safety Protocols
Many storm repairs involve dangerous work like climbing on roofs, using power tools, and dealing with electricity and gas lines. Hiring licensed professionals ensures proper safety protocols are followed to avoid injury or property damage. Your building department may require this, depending upon the extent of your project.
Licensed Contractors Have Insurance Coverage
Repair projects often come with unforeseen costs. Professional contractors carry general liability insurance, bonding, and workers compensation to cover damages or injuries. This protects your finances and provides recourse if problems arise. Ask your contractor to provide you with a Declaration Proof of Insurance with your name on it.
Licensed Contractors Handle Permitting and Inspections
Storm damage repairs typically require permits and code inspections to ensure proper work quality. Licensed professionals know the rules and will pull any necessary permits and arrange inspections. You may wish to attend the inspections; let you licensed contractor know your wishes. Communication is everything in storm damaged repairs.
Professionals Can Navigate Insurance Claims
If your repairs will be covered by insurance, a licensed contractor will know how to properly document and submit claims. They can advocate on your behalf for fair reimbursement. This FEMA guide explains how to work with insurers after storm disasters.
Look For This In Your Agreements
These are geneal guidlines that are industry standard best practices. This is not legal advice and not intended to replace your legal counsel.
Always obtain at least three quotes for any project. While you may be eager to repair storm damage immediately, remember that poor workmanship can lead to costly do-overs. Unlicensed contractors can exacerbate the damage to your property.
Always have a written contract that includes everything being done. If there are change orders (expect them) get it in writing. Carefully read every word in the contract before signing. Ask questions about anything you don’t understand. You’ve been through enough – don’t get scammed by a few bad unlicensed contractors.
The contract MUST include a complete and thorough description of all anticipated work to be performed by the contractor.
Payment terms included. It is recommended that milestone payments be discussed. Keep enough funds to correct any problems that come up at the end of the projec. Insist on a complete written receipt after all payments.
California Law: Don’t pay more that $1,000 or 10%, whichever is less, when the contract is signed.
Also have a timeline of when work will be done and completed. This should include milestone payments when a specific amount of work has been successfully completed by a certain date. You don’t want this work to drag on until next year. You may consider putting a no-fee cancellation clause if your contractor drags your job on past milestones. Remember, things come up in construction that often, legitimately delay completion. You will have a much better outcome by working these things peacefully and pleasantly with your contractor.
Insurance is key. Get your name included as additionally insured on the contractors policy and have that page attached to the contract. This is a common industry policy. We do this on every job when requested. Immediately with no drama. If a contractor does not have insurance then if things go wrong you are left to repair the damage and possibly pay his workers. If you can’t get a dec sheet showing your name and property address, find another contractor.
Expect change orders. Expect those change orders to have a complete description of the changes you are expected to pay for and a timeline for completion. Both you and the contractor should sign those changes orders. Be sure to keep a copy. Use your phone and take a photo onsite, if necessary.
Avoid substandard workmanship. The original contract should have some type of guarantee or warranty. Ask questions if you do not see this language. Again, you may want to attend the building department inspections and hear what the inspector has to say.
Cancellation Clause. Again, how much is the contractor going to be paid if you cancel the contract. Be sure to get everything in writing.
By following these steps you can eliminate alot of shoddy work, legal issues, frustration and not getting your money’s worth in repairs.
Types Of Contractor Licenses
There are various types of contractor licenses, such as License A for General Engineering Contractors and License B for General Building Contractors. Utilize the search feature on this site to find contractors based on zip code and specialty.
Special Considerations For Older Buildings
Asbestos, Mold, and Lead
Many Bay Area buildings constructed before 1980 may contain hazardous materials like asbestos or lead. Ensure your contractor is equipped and licensed to handle these substances safely.
Beware Of Unlicensed Contractors
Avoid Driveway Deals
Never hire contractors who approaches you unsolicited. These individuals usually lack proper licensing and insurance, putting you at risk.
By adhering to these guidelines, you can mitigate risks, avoid legal complications, and ensure that you get value for your money.