For All Those Impacted by Superstorms and Hurricanes: Make sure an AIA Architect is part of your rebuild team!

Make sure an Architect is part of your rebuild team!

Recently, potential clients asked me to go see their home after it was impacted by hurricane Sandy.  Like many other houses in their community, their roof was severely damaged by a fallen tree.  Luckily, no one was injured.  I let them know that after the tree was removed I would return to evaluate the damage and make recommendations for repairs (with help from my structural consultant, if needed).  By the time the tree was removed, the cleanup crew was completed with their remediation work, and the contractor made his “temporary repairs” it was decided (without any input from an Architect) that minor repairs would be made.  (These decisions were made by the Owner with input from the Insurance Adjuster and Contractor.)

Then, I received the “follow up call” from the client asking me to certify the job — the local inspector requires a signed and sealed letter by a registered architect or professional engineer stating that the home is suitable for human habitation — I asked the potential clients why they started the repairs without any professional input and they said that everything happened so quick and they trusted their Adjuster and Contractor.  I let them know that I was unable to certify the project because of my lack of involvement in the project.  I was never given an opportunity to assets the damage after the tree was removed and before the Contractor started his repairs — how could I?  No professional can attest to repairs that are done without his or her knowledge.

I urge readers to let their friends and loved ones know that when they are rebuilding or repairing their houses or places of business or worship that they should consult a design professional – their local AIA Architect (start by going to aia.org where you can learn about the value of an Architect, and get a listing of local Architects).

Do not trust anyone that pretends to be an Architect or give false advice about your project.  Even if their advice is accurate they are not legally qualified to give advice or certify the repairs.  It is important to trust your team — your Contractor, Adjuster, local building inspectors, etc., but make sure you don’t leave the Architect out of the mix.

An Architect is responsible to safe guard the public safety and is qualified to certify that a space is suitable for human occupancy.

 

Funny thing is that this potential client wanted me to give him an opinion on what was done and whether it was safe to move his family back in.  I replied, that I do not have X-Ray vision.  If I was given an opportunity to see the space, I would have been able, as a qualified professional, to offer recommendations, provide construction drawings, observe the repairs and/or construction process, and ultimately certify that the work met my specification requirements,

I hope that this post is circulated to those in need, so they better understand the process– don’t leave the Architect out until the end.  The Architect will work with you to ensure that you are given the most thoughtful care with your investment, not just a quick fix.  (Think: Am I being given the best care my family deserves or am I just another claim/client on a list?  Will the repairs meet code?  Will the repairs hold up in the future?  Have I missed an opportunity to make improvements to better safe guard my family from future events? Who is responsible to protect the public safety and wellbeing?)

We would love to hear from you on what you think about this post.  We sincerely appreciate all your comments.

If you like this post please share it with friends. And feel free to contact us if you would like to discuss ideas for your next project!

Sincerely,
Frank Cunha III
I Love My Architect – Facebook


FC3 ARCHITECTURE+DESIGN, LLC
P.O. Box 335, Hamburg, NJ 07419
e-mail: fcunha@fc3arch.com
mobile: 201.681.3551
direct: 973.970.3551
fax: 973.718.4641
web: http://fc3arch.com
Licensed in NJ, NY, PA, DE, CT.

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3 Comments on “For All Those Impacted by Superstorms and Hurricanes: Make sure an AIA Architect is part of your rebuild team!”

  1. Gunther M Liedl says:

    Great advise Frank! However our AIA does not broadly educate the public enough about our profession. Moreover the contractor/adjuster is called first and insurance co do pressure to settle. That’s a matter of greedy economics by the adjuster and the Insurance provider.
    If we could all start by going out to schools, events, etc. and start promoting our profession to getter a better understanding to our folks what architecture is all about. Not just fancy pictures of high-end homes and buildings.
    My firm goes to HS classrooms every year February for engineers week to educate young students about our profession.
    I would like the AIA to step forward, there are many of us willing to help and get information to the the public and to Sandy victims.


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