The Moore American

August 6, 2013

Rebuild Expo provides information for property owners after storms, May tornadoes

By Jessica Bruha
The Moore American

MOORE — For the handful who attended the Rebuild Expo on Saturday, many walked out of Westmoore High School with valuable information.

The expo was hosted by the city of Oklahoma City so property owners could get information about repairing or rebuilding their homes or businesses with focuses on improving energy efficiency and storm resistance.

Attendees Al and Anne Warren said the main reason they wanted to go to the expo was because of a storm that hit their neighborhood three years ago and the aftermath that ensued involving a swarm of roofing companies.

“Our neighborhood got hit by a big hail storm and it took out every roof in our whole neighborhood. Skylights, windows, everything,” Al Warren said. “Every roof in our neighborhood had to be replaced, and the moment the storm was over, the roofers just showed up and you had no idea who they were, how to tell who was qualified and who wasn’t.”

Warren said he’s sure that many affected by the May tornadoes are going through the same thing, not only with just construction companies but with storm shelter companies as well.

“There’s all kinds of unscrupulous people out trying to market products,” he said. “But our whole goal was to say, ‘How do you find a reputable vendor to provide that product for you?’ and that, to us, was a real value, this presentation.”

Some of the presentations given Saturday included finding a storm shelter installer or distributor, selecting a home builder, how and why to select an architect, strategies for making homes storm — or wind — resistant and more.

Moore residents Daisy and Clarence Criton said they attended the expo to learn more about finding a contractor. The couple lived near Briarwood Elementary School.

Moore resident Donna Hester said she lives about one block south of Briarwood and attended the expo specifically for the presentation about finding a storm shelter installer or distributor.

She also checked out some of the booths and got more information from FEMA, Oklahoma Gas and Electric and others.

During a presentation on selecting a home builder, Mike Means, executive vice president for the Oklahoma State Home Builders Association, said people should always consider five things when choosing a home builder.

First and foremost, check to make sure you’re working with a builder who is a member of a homebuilder’s association, Means said. You wouldn’t go to a doctor or dentist who wasn’t certified by the medical or dental association, so why would you hire a home builder who wasn’t, he asked attendees.

Also, stay updated with building codes and requirements. Companies certified by the Oklahoma State Home Builders Association can guarantee homeowners that they will build according to the codes, he said. They also require nine hours of continued education ever year after certification.

Second, the company you hire should have insurance such as workers’ compensation and general liability. Means said if you own the property the company is working on, you could be held responsible if those companies do not have insurance and something goes awry.

The third thing to look for is dealing with a written contract in case anything has to be taken to court. If only a verbal agreement is made, it is a “he said, she said” kind of thing while a written contract will hold up in a court of law, Means said.

Fourth, and similar to the written contract, is a written warranty in case of any problems with the foundation, heating and cooling, windows and doors or anything like that.

Last but not least, Means said when choosing a homebuilder, “do your homework.” He encouraged everyone to ask for a list of references and then follow up on those references.

For more information about selecting a home builder, visit oshp.org.