The families impacted by the fire damage areas, and then the crushing flooding to there homes must be overwhelmed by the loss and the unknowns to rebuild and/or replace a lifetime of living. 

We can offer consultation and design services to help alleviate a portion of the healing process.  You must realize the answer to the questions below may differ between each local agency.  Whether we do the work or not, here is an overview to help you.

What is the process to replace or repair the home?
In simple terms:
    a.  Based on the insurance company, the coverage of your insurance will vary.  Try to establish what
         your policy covers.

    b. The local jurisdictions will most likely help in expediting the process.   The owner and builder will
         still have to meet many of the current requirements.  In short, the rebuild will have to conform to

         current codes which are far more complicated than when most homes destroyed were first built.

    c.  Process:  Design (construction plans), Permit review and approval, and Building.

What will the city or county require to replace the residence?

 In simple terms, the first steps are as follows:

   a.   Soils testing is required (unless the jurisdiction allows to proceed without )

   b.   Design of building close to the same size (footprint) maybe required.  You can always

         add square footage at your own expense.

   c.   Set of construction drawings must conform to either conventional or engineering standards.  The set will

         architectural plans, details, title-24, truss calculations, fire sprinkler design, and if needed the soils
         report.  New homes require fire sprinklers, but the agencies may not require them for your situation.

   d.  Payment of Fees:  These will vary based on local jurisdictions.  Some fees, such as school fees will not be
        applied for square footage of the existing residence destroyed.

   e.  Foundation upgrade or replacement: 
            *  Many foundations for older homes do not have the reinforcing to meet current codes.  They will need

                upgrading and or replacement.

            *  Some foundations, if not all, will require replacement due to heat/fire damage.

   f.   In many cases, complete lot cleanup and removal of all debris is desired ASAP.  Removal will most likely
        requires a demolition permit.

How long will it take?

First, facts:
   1.  The building industry was over taxed before the fires and flooding. 

   2.  Design professionals typically have a waiting list at this time.  This will mean most projects

        will be delayed by the first phase by design delays.

   3.  Conventional construction allows a much faster design turnaround time.  Dwellings requiring engineering
        with Consulting engineers require time and architectural coordination that will most likely double the

        design phase.  Not all homes can be designed using conventional design.

   4.  Depending on the jurisdiction, plan check for permits can take 4 to 6 weeks or more.  Well, with the
        increased demand most jurisdictions will be faced with overwhelming amount of work.  One should expect a
        delay of 8 to 12 weeks for plan processing.  This could be more as other design documents are submitted.

Time Frames:  (Info for guidance and will vary.  These time frames may become much longer.)

   1.  Design phase:  4 to 20 weeks.   (average 6 weeks) 

   2.  Plan check phase:   4 to 12 weeks.  (average 8 weeks)

   3.  Construction:  16 weeks to 25 weeks  (average 20 weeks)

How can I expedite the process?

It is important to select a designer and a builder as soon as possible (ASAP).  You must get in line

for all work, and should get a builder involved in the early phases.  This will allow you time to get to know

the builder, and if necessary make a change in a builder before the permit issuance.  The builder will not be able to bid a lump sum (dollar amount) until the construction drawings are defined well. Rough estimates based on square footage will be provided.

You should not build using a contract based time and material, and all contractors should be licensed.

How do I find a contractor?

After contacting a builder, you must feel comfortable with the company.  Obviously price, time line for completion, and reputation are important, but after 40 years of experience I can tell you chemistry with builder is an important factor as well.  Do you get along with the builder. 

     1.  Check the state contractors license website

     2.  Contact previous clients or references.

     3.  Look at work at previous jobs.

     4.  Is the contractor punctual to meetings and keeps good communication via texts, and calls.  If not,

          it will only get worse.

     5.  If it is not in writing, it is not in the contract.  The contractors board has specific requirements for all

     6.  Many contractors will be using subcontractors.  The contractor should always be your direct contact,

          and avoid interacting with the subcontractors unless they ask a question.

Remember, as you are checking out the builder, he/she is also looking at you as a potential client.  If you may seem difficult, or demanding the contractor will definitely accept other work. 

We hope the overview above was helpful. 

On the bright side, "You will have an opportunity to have a brand new home that will be updated and designed to your needs." 

Hopefully the process will be as seamless as possible.  Best regards, and we hope your family is safe and able to still enjoy the Holidays.