Last week we saw another round of deadly storms devastate neighborhoods in communities like Trussville, Clay and Center Point in the Birmingham area. If you or anyone you know had a home damaged or destroyed in the storms and is in need of repair work, be mindful of the many pitfalls that can oocur when selecting a contractor.
Following are some tips from the Greater Birmingham Association of Home Builders (GBAHB) for finding qualified, reputable remodelers:
• Investigate the reputation and experience of the remodeler.
• Seek referrals from friends, family, neighbors and co-workers who have had remodeling work done.
• Check with the GBAHB for names of remodeler members. Membership in the Home Builders Association indicates a remodeler’s commitment to professional customer service and quality construction.
• Check with your local or state consumer protection agency or Better Business Bureau to find out if any unresolved complaints have been filed against the remodeler.
• Check with the Alabama Home Builders Licensure Board to verify that the remodeler has the appropriate license (if required) and a clean record. The state homebuilders and remodelers license is required when the job is more than $10,000; however, consumers are encouraged to seek our licensees even when the repair job is less than $10,000. The Home Builders Licensure Board has published its list of currently licensed residential homebuilders in Alabama on its website, www.hblb.state.al.us.
• Request copies of the remodeler’s insurance certificates to verify that he or she carries insurance that protects you from claims arising from property damage or job site injuries.
• Don’t compare apples to oranges – when evaluating bids from contractors, make sure they are based on identical project specifications.
• Be wary of a contractor who asks for a full payment before the job has begun — a payment schedule should be part of your written agreement – and may be tied to benchmarks such as completing various phases of the job.
The attorney general’s office has established a hotline to take consumer complaints about home repair fraud. If you think that you have been the victim of home repair fraud, call (800) 392-5658.
To find out if a builder or remodeler is licensed, contact the Home Builders Licensure Board at (800) 304-0853.
Find more information about protecting and repairing your home from storm damage, visit the Disaster Resource section of the Home Builders Association of Alabama website at http://www.hbaa.org/remodeling/disaster-recovery.html.
To find a builder, remodeler, or other home repair professional in your area, contact the GBAHB at 205-912-7000 or visit www.birminghambuilder.com.