How to Choose the Right Contractor for Storm Damage Repair Work
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.