Our company specializes in providing cleanup and demolition services to general contractors, government entities and property owners for those wishing to tear down structures, remodel, or in disaster cleanup situations. We provided cleanup services to insurance companies, contractors and individual homeowners during the disastrous fires back in 2003, and from our experiences dealing with that catastrophe, we would offer the following advice to those of you who have suffered significant fire damage to your home during this current firestorm in Southern California.
First, and most obviously, contact your property insurance carrier. They will clarify your policy and explain your coverage. Under most circumstances, you will be able to collect disbursements right away.
If you are not insured, or underinsured, you may qualify for the FEMA Disaster Assistance Program. Disaster assistance is money or direct assistance to individuals, families and businesses in an area whose property has been damaged or destroyed and whose losses are not covered by insurance. It is meant to help you with critical expenses that cannot be covered in other ways. This assistance is not intended to restore your damaged property to its condition before the disaster.
While some housing assistance funds are available through the FEMA Individuals and Households Program, most disaster assistance from the federal government is in the form of loans administered by the Small Business Administration. For more information on this program, go to www.fema.gov . This information was obtained from FEMA’s website on 11/19/08.
Before you can do anything to start your recovery, you must clean up the burned debris. From our experiences in previous wildfires, when your house is completely or extensively burned, the slab and foundation will crack and may not be suitable for rebuilding. We recommend having the slab inspected before you begin the clean up. This may save you untold problems later, and will allow you to start rebuilding with confidence.
To clean up your property, your basic options are:
- this can be an awesome and dirty task without the right equipment, knowledge and experience
- you may not recognize hazardous materials and therefore may not dispose of it properly
- you may not have sufficient time to devote to cleanup
- the savings over professional cleanup may be minimal after permits, AQMD notifications, utility coordination and disconnection, haul-off costs, disposal fees, etc.
- FEMA disaster cleanup (it is possible FEMA will set up a disaster cleanup program)
- undoubtedly this will take a long time to set up and get done; and in the end, it may not happen at all
- cleanup process may be performed haphazardly by government contract low bidder
- expect to be charged a fee by the county—this could be a significant fee leaving little savings over commercial removal
- Hire a licensed general contractor to do the cleanup:
- usually, the first thing they do is get bids from and hire a demolition subcontractor
- responsibility gets diluted for the job
- hiring a general contractor can take longer because of the additional entities involved
- this frequently increases costs because both the general contactor and the demolition subcontractor are seeking to profit from the work
- Hire a licensed demolition contractor directly:
- this can start quickly and can be completed in a matter of a few days
- the demolition contractor is experienced in providing all the permits, proper notifications, debris hauling and dump fees
- he also should be licensed to handle asbestos with an ASB (asbestos) certification- especially if your home is 20 years or older
- dealing directly with the demolition/cleanup contractor is by far the least expensive
At Demolition Services, Inc., we want to sincerely express our sympathies for your loss if you have suffered damages to your home or business from these awful fires of recent days. Often in such crises, people don’t know to whom to turn for professional assistance in starting the long journey in cleanup and rebuilding their homes and their lives.
Demolition and cleanup--this is our business every day of the year. We usually take down buildings—from single dwelling houses, to multi-story buildings, to site clearing and interior demolition. We are not just jumping into the cleanup business to profit from others’ temporary misfortune as a result of these terrible fires. We already have vast experience in disaster clean-ups. We have cleaned up hundreds of properties from disasters like this. We are fully licensed and insured. You may check our Contractor’s License at www.cslb.ca.gov (and we suggest you do check any proposed contractor’s license to make sure they are in good standing with the State of California Contractor’s Licensing Board).
For those who seek a professional approach to resolving the nightmare of this firestorm, we offer our services. We will inspect your property, give you a written proposal itemizing what has to be done and what it will cost—and a time schedule to get it done. Your insurance carrier will appreciate that and will likely speed up the process.
Once we are finished, your property will be completely cleared and ready for new construction. Please visit our website at www.demoservices.com. Call us at 866.910.DEMO (3366) for an inspection and quote.
License # 833327 www.demoservices.com firstname.lastname@example.org
866.910.3366 3921-M East La Palma Avenue, Anaheim, CA 92807