Fire damage can strike unexpectedly, and your home or business isn’t exempt from devistating damage that such an event can bring. Whether your property is damaged by a sudden fire or after effects from the smoke and soot, your property will be in need of serious repair.
As a property owner, you may be used to fixing minor issues and maintaining parts of your home by yourself or have a handyman in the family. However, doing a fire restoration job by yourself may lead to accidents and injuries if you have no idea how it is properly done. More complex issues such as structural problems after a fire loss should only be solved through the knowledge and expertise of a professional Michigan Disaster Restoration Contractor.
1. Make Sure & Verify that the contractors’ license is valid
Licensing and permits are important in the construction and fire restoration industry. For home restoration jobs such as structural damage repairs, Michigan require that the job be done only by licensed contractors. In addition, hiring an unlicensed contractor will also make you the general contractor of the project pulling your own permits. This makes you responsible for defective work, property damage, and injuries that may happen while the restoration job is being done.
Save yourself from the potential headache, liablity and hassle of a botched fire restoration job by hiring only a licensed restoration contractor. Having a license is a good indication that the restoration contractor you are hiring has the necessary knowledge and skills to do the job since they need to pass an examination mandated by the state before they can practice the profession. Michigan has their own websites that you can use to verify if a license is valid and updated. Simply ask for the contractors’ license numbers and check them with the said website to ensure they are registered to work within the state.
Ask if the restoration contractor is certified & bonded
Having a valid license is just one of the many factors that you need to consider when hiring a restoration contractor. Restoration contractors usually hold a general contractor’s license because there is no specific license for them. A lot of what restoration contractors do is specialized, such as damage assessment and reconstruction, compared to a general contractor, who usually focuses on new construction and remodeling.
So aside from licenses, you should also look into the contractors’ certifications and bonded. Contractors who specialize in restoration are usually certified by the Inspection Institute of Cleaning and Restoration Certification (IICRC). The IICRC is an educational program that provides contractors with the proper techniques for cleaning, removal, and restoration of damaged building materials.
Ask if the contractor is properly insured
Fire Restoration Contractors often work as a part of the insurance companies preferred vendor program. As such, they should know about the ins and outs of insurance claims and they themselves should be protected and properly insured. Accidents can happen in any construction project such as a restoration job. After all, fire damage and other disasters can severely weaken the structural integrity of your home. To protect yourself from any potential liability, ask the potential fire restoration contractor if they have proof of insurance.
There are usually two types of insurance that restoration contractors need to have—general liability insurance and workers’ compensation. General liability insurance provides legal and financial protection in instances where someone is hurt, or something is damaged during the restoration work. Workers’ compensation provides medical assistance and wage replacement for workers who are injured during the job or at your property.
Look at the contractors’ past work, read reviews go to the BBB
One of the best proofs of a restoration contractor’s professional capability is their work history with previous clients as well as any reviews or better business feedback. Any fire restoration contractor worth using would be happy to provide you a list of previous clients when you request them. While this may be a handpicked list of some of the best work they did, you can check some of the more recent ones and judge for yourself. If you can have their contact details, talk to these customers and inquire about their experience working with the restoration contractor. Here are some of the questions that you should ask:
- Did the restoration contractor provide an accurate estimate?
- Were you satisfied with the restoration work?
- Was the restoration project finished on time and within budget?
- Were there any mistakes? How did the contractor handle them?
- Do you recommend the contractor?
Find out if part of the work will be done by a subcontractor
When getting any bids for a fire restoration project or construction work job done, many homeowners just leave the job to the contractor without asking any questions. This should not be the case with a fire damage loss. Do not hesitate to ask questions about the project itself, especially about the people who will work on your home.
There are many cases where a fire restoration contractor will hire a subcontractor to do part of the job. Knowing this information is important, especially if you will be affected should there be a payment dispute between the restoration contractor and the hired subcontractor. If the restoration contractor is unable to pay the subcontractor, they may file a mechanics lien to recover payment. Do your homework before hiring a Fire Restoration contractor.
If for at anytime, you need help in moving forward, have questions or need a free consultation, contact us at 586-791-3900