How long is this going to take? This question is one of the most complicated our industry faces. Unfortunately, the answer is not always the super quick timeframe the customer would like to hear. There are many factors that need to be aligned before a project can be completed. That is, if it is to be done right and with the least amount of anxiety for you. We want to get things back to normal as soon as we can. However, if the process is not followed, the ramifications are expensive and traumatizing. Restoration work and the combination of following guidelines put into place by insurance and mortgage companies, as well as wanting to absolutely take care of you, means it’s more than complicated. We do pledge to not falsely promise you a deadline that we know we cannot deliver.
How long does it really take? There is no black and white answer. Every customer experience is different and unique. It becomes clearer when you realize that there are 3 distinct parts to a claim/job: Mitigation (emergency services), Contents (packout/cleaning/inventory of your household belongings), and Repairs.
The Mitigation part of the work is typically done in 3-5 days. This is the phase where the drying of the home and sometimes demolition is done. The mitigation/emergency service happens immediately and is done to stop the damage from spreading. No estimate is needing preapproval and this work process stops once the situation is stabilized. *There may be some approvals needed with a demo, but that will not stop the stabilizing of project.
The Contents part of the work (packing/cleaning/inventory of your household goods) is usually done during mitigation and can be an ongoing process while the repairs are being estimated. Sometimes items are cleaned in place and other times things need to be moved out in order to do the repairs. This portion of the job is estimated and paid separately from the mitigation and repairs. The time frame on the Content work depends on the scope of the damage and what needs to be done. We will work with you to get you the items you need for day-to-day living as quickly as possible. Additionally, it is also common for us to store items until the repairs to your project are complete and the items can be moved back into your place. We help you with documenting the unsalvageable items with the inventory and get that to your adjuster if needed as well.
After Mitigation is completed, we can write the Repair Estimate and upload for approval by the adjuster. The writing of the Repair Estimate cannot be done until the Mitigation is complete so that the entire scope of the work is known. The approval process is a very important piece. It usually takes one or two weeks and, on rare occasions, sometimes longer. Much of this is out of our ability to control, but we will keep you informed of the progress.
*****IMPORTANT****** Depending on your insurance and how the job came to us, we may not be doing repairs. Some providers only send the emergency services portion and that is all we are hired to do. This is where communication is KEY. If you want us to still do the repairs, please call the office and let us know. This allows for our estimator on the construction site to go out and write an estimate and then get it sent in for approval. Sometimes insurance pays you direct and never notifies us it’s approved, so staying in contact with your insurance company and us is vital. We also do our best to help out, but if we don’t know then we don’t know and you might be sitting wondering are they coming back? It is different for every insurance company on the “procedures”, and because of this, we have to be careful about what insurance dictates. That said we are a full-service general contractor and can do the work, so if you aren’t sure, give us a call! 907-522-3020. You ultimately can decide who you want to use, it is always your choice.
The Repair part of the work can now begin. Upon Approval or the Repair Estimate by insurance, we put you on the repair schedule. Please note, we write the repair estimate and put it on the repair schedule in the order of approval by the insurance company. We never want to start a job that’s not approved, or the customer would incur any unapproved costs. For more info on costs, you can review our blog on “How Much Will This Cost Me?”
Once your project is placed on the repair schedule, we will be able to give you a much better estimate of how long until we can get work started. Typically, once we have you on our schedule, it is 3-4 weeks before work can begin. This sounds like a long time and IF we can get your work started sooner, we certainly will. We do not want to set your expectations unrealistically. It is important for us to take care of all the projects we are working on, so we won’t bump one to start another. Once your project has started, we will also not leave it to start another. We will stay until completion.
The actual repairs (once started) can take anywhere from two weeks up to several months. There are many things that need to happen before and while the work takes place. The complications of getting all the right pieces in place for the repair to happen without any pauses is part of the misconception about how long the repairs will take. This is not so that you worry. We are very experienced with dealing with all these pieces. We just want you to be aware that it takes more than just walking onto the job to get the work done.
Here are just some of the factors that will come into play when estimating the time it takes to get the work finished:
- Materials Needed – Some items, like flooring and cabinets, may need to be ordered to get exactly what you would like. These can be 4-6 weeks out depending on many variables. If you make selections, keep in mind that in-stock items will help get a project done more quickly.
- Age of Home – There may be lead paint or asbestos in your home depending on the age. If testing and abatement are needed it will need a specialized proposal written by the dedicated abatement contractor. This will then have to be uploaded to the insurance company for explicit approval.
- Permits – Depending on the scope of the work permits may be required. Permits require inspections at certain phases of the job. Work will have to stop while obtaining these inspections. Permits/inspections can be required for demolition, code compliance, electrical rough-in, plumbing rough, mechanical, insulation inspection, drywall inspection, structural, final electrical, final plumbing, a final certificate of occupancy.
- Engineer Reports – Sometimes we are required to get an engineer onsite to verify the building integrity or solve an issue. We are required to have an engineer report with drawings submitted to the muni as well in order to get the Structural permit.
- Code Compliance – It typically goes from demo permit to code compliance inspection. The code compliance inspection alone can take a couple of weeks, depending on how busy the municipality is at the time it is required.
- Hours- We work on the repairs during standard business hours only. Typically, most insurance companies won’t pay for overtime, weekends, or after-hours for anything but the mitigation work.
- Money- We do require a start-up payment prior to the repair work starting (the percentage depends on the insurance company and mortgage company). Usually, we collect 50% prior to the start, but we work with all customers on expectations and payment plans. Ask us, or review our blog on “how much will this cost me” to see more information on the payment process. We cannot start without payment, but we know how the insurance and mortgage company systems work and we can help get that piece in place with you.
- Subcontractors- If you hire us to do the repairs we will have our own list of suggested subcontractors and vendors. If you shop elsewhere or ask us to use your favorite plumber it will cause breakdowns in our system. Our trained subcontractors and vendors know the process and rules with insurance company guidelines and make it a smooth process that avoids delays. Any deviation from our list of subcontractors and vendors has been shown to cause delays and frustration. We have some great subs that do solid work and who also honor our 3-year warranty. Our subs and employees have been with us for years and we know they know the process and how to get the job done with both quality and in a timely manner.
- Remodeling – doing work beyond just repairs of what was there. While we understand that this is something that can often make sense, please be aware that it will add time to the scope of the project to figure out exactly what you want and how much it will cost.
- Changes – Making any adjustment to the project mid-way through will cause the project to stop, and often has a ripple effect upon the entire project. Any change to the scope causes delays and extra considerations.
Unavoidable Changes – sometimes there are things that are found while doing the work that must be addressed even though they were not part of the plan. Solutions, approvals, and adjustments to the schedule will be made. We will keep it as efficient as we can but it is better to make sure all the parts line up than possibly end up with you having an additional unknown cost.