Sandy’s Damage Can Be Fixed!

We’re here to help those who have suffered Sandy’s wrath and, especially, damage to their homes.  Our hearts go out to the families and friends of those few who lost much more.

Especially during difficult times when accidents or natural disasters smack you down, emotions and stress run high.  I understand first hand the angst of living without electricity – my home was without power for 10 days after last Halloween’s Winter Storm Alfred.  But by standing up together and being smart, everyone will recover.

If you have suffered damage to your home, when hiring a contractor to assess or repair it, we urge residents to be cautious.  Be on your guard and be wary of anyone who says they can start work tomorrow.  Work with your insurance claims agent but also make the final decision on choice of contractors – it is your home.  Take steps necessary to stop further damage, e.g., by hiring someone to place tarps over a hole in your roof from a fallen tree, but be prepared to wait some period of time for a good contractor to obtain necessary permits and approvals and schedule reconstruction work.

At the outset, make sure any contractor is properly licensed or registered with the Dept. of Consumer Protection.  As you always should, get references from neighbors and friends about local contractors.  Check with one of our local chapters in CT (call them, search their web sites) to find a contractor in your area.  Advice on how to select a reputable builder or contractor in Connecticut is important to heed all the time, but especially now.

Our national affiliate, the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB), some time ago created the Home Building Industry Disaster Relief Fund (HBIDRF).  It’s a charitable organization established to assist areas affected by natural disasters.  The HBIDRF focuses on rebuilding communities and helping people get back into their homes.  When our members are getting ready to repair and rebuild homes within our communities, local Home Builders & Remodelers Association (HBRA) chapters can apply to the HBIDRF for funds to support reconstruction efforts.  Again, check with the local HBRA in your area for what assistance might be available.

Stay safe and be smart.  Togetherness and patience.  Nobody need be in this alone.

– Bill Ethier, HBRA of CT


2 Responses to Sandy’s Damage Can Be Fixed!

  1. Thank you for your post. Far too often we hear and read about consumers who are taken advantage of in their time of need. Finding a reputable contractor is not hard if you take a few simple steps to protect yourself. And remember the lowest price is not always the best price.

  2. Bill Ethier says:

    From NAHB re SANDY and FEMA:

    Subject: New FEMA Information for Post-Flood Rebuilding

    FEMA would like to get information and brochures about rebuilding after a flood into the hands of builders, remodelers, and property owners in communities impacted by Hurricane Sandy prior to individuals making rebuilding decisions.

    On Dec. 15, FEMA released Hurricane Sandy Advisory Base Flood Elevations (ABFEs) maps in New Jersey and New York. Access them at

    FEMA wants current and prospective property owners in storm damaged areas to be aware of these ABFE maps prior to making final rebuilding decisions. Currently, property owners could build to current BFE levels and not the revised ABFE levels since they have not been formally adopted by local governments.

    Two new FEMA brochures, “Build Back Safer and Stronger” and “Rebuilding After Hurricane Sandy,” explain that a decision by a property owner not to build to the revised elevation height under the ABFE can result in significant higher federal flood insurance rates.

    FEMA’s Region II website at (covers NJ, NY, & CT) includes both brochures under the tab “Hurricane Sandy.”

    If you or your members have any questions about the FEMA brochures and FEMA’s proposed ABFE, please contact the following NAHB staff: Steve Orlowski at or 800-368-5242, ext. 8303, Gary Ehrlich at or ext. 8545 and Michael Mittelholzer at or ext. 8660.

    Executive Officers Council

    National Association of Home Builders
    1201 15th Street, NW
    Washington, DC 20005

    D 202 266 8595 M 301 706 9965
    F 202 266 8587 T 800 368 5242 x8595

    See what’s new with education at the 2013 IBS!
    Las Vegas, January 22-24

    Everything you need to know about building is at

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