Massive rains can put a severe strain on municipal infrastructure – drainage pushed beyond its limits, homes and businesses flooded, and power outages affecting thousands.

When catastrophic rains occur, extreme increases in the need for restoration services result in contractors knocking on the doors of homes and businesses, looking to fill in for overtaxed restoration companies. Here are some ideas on how to choose a contractor to restore your property following a disaster.

Create preferred vendor lists

It should first be mentioned that insurance companies expend considerable resources researching restoration contractors and creating preferred vendor lists in order to provide quality service to their customers. This means that the vetted contractors on those preferred lists will have a good level of experience, will complete the work with professionalism, and will do so in a transparent and effective manner. However, it is also important to mention that you – the property owner – always have the right to choose whether to accept your insurance company’s recommended contractor, or to choose another option.

Specific experience and qualifications

If you decide to search out your own contractor, it’s essential to note that home and business restoration projects often present distinct challenges that require specific experience or qualifications, and different contractors provide different kinds of specialization.

May need certifications

For example, a flooded basement will often involve black water (raw sewage) and will require a precise process to sanitize the area. A primary concern following any water damage is the eradication and prevention of mold growth, which can present a serious health risk. Contractors certified by the Institute of Inspection Cleaning and Restoration Certification (IICRC) are properly trained in mold remediation, and are qualified to provide that service.

The same goes for asbestos abatement, which requires its own certification. Asbestos is extremely hazardous, and you may be surprised how many buildings still contain it.

Some contractors won’t do everything

Another consideration is the scope of work to which the contractor commits. Most contractors will be willing to perform emergency demolition, which essentially involves extracting water and ripping out damaged building materials. Property owners should be aware that problems can arise if the demolition doesn’t take rebuild into account, and a poor emergency mitigation and stabilization can lead to more time spent on the rebuild and added cost. Experienced restoration contractors perform demolition work with an eye for making the rebuilding process as easy as possible.

National reach and local presence

Finally, using a contractor with a national reach and a local presence is ideal. A national reach means that the contractor will have the necessary resources to commit to the job, certified workers, and a customer service policy. A local presence means that once the work is complete, you can still get a hold of them.

Ask lots of questions

Most importantly: don’t be afraid to ask questions. What is your experience with flood damage? Are you certified to handle this? How do you plan to approach the job? If you aren’t on my insurance company’s preferred list, are you on any others? Will you also commit to rebuilding after the demolition process?

The road to recovery should be made as smooth as possible, and if you take these basic guidelines under consideration when choosing your contractor, you’ll give yourself a good chance of steering clear of any bumps or pitfalls.

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