Don't let disaster strike twice! (or again!)
Disasters like the tornados on May 19 and May 20 bring out the best in people. First responders, volunteers, neighbors and survivors are all working hard to start the rebuilding process in every city and area damaged in those storms.
Unfortunately, disasters bring out some of the worst in people, too. Price gouging, fraud, and misrepresentation are common as the areas are flooded with people claiming to want to "help" put your town, your home, and your life back together.
Tony Foust with DaVinci Homes in Norman is chair of the Certified Professional Builders committee of the Oklahoma State Home Builders Association. He advises consumers to be careful whenever they are considering building a home, but especially in the stress-filled days ahead.
"It is important in building to have an individual who will stand behind his work. Know who you are doing business with and know he will be there long after the job is done."
As you start the process of rebuilding your home, do your homework. If you are considering someone who has approached you about handling your project, look beyond the quoted price for the job. Make sure this person is a qualified, reputable builder by contacting the Oklahoma State Home Builders Association for member builders, or going the website at www.oshba.org.
Ask to see proof of workers compensation and general liability insurance. Doesn't have any? Pass on the offer.
While you are at www.oshba.org, link to the Certified Professional Builders page for the names and contact information for the 154 CPBs in the state. These builders are committed to high standards of professionalism, safety, fairness, progressive building techniques and ethics -- the kinds of builder you want helping you replace some of what you lost.
In Oklahoma, home builders are not licensed - anyone can call himself/herself a builder. Go to www.oshba.org for a list of Certified Professional Builders, members who have taken an extra step to raise the bar for their profession. If a builder is a CPB, then he has:
Workers Compensation insurance
Has the mandate number of continuing education hours
Has been fiscally sound for a specified period of years, among other requirements
If the person you are talking to isn't on that CPB list, ask what home builders' association you should check to see if he is a member. And if he/she is not a member of any association, find out why.
"Contractors" are soliciting business. Many are from out of state. And, many are not contractors but con artists who take advantage of people at their most vulnerable time. Be thorough, do your research, and pick a builder who will finish the job and stand behind it.