Post-Hurricane Home Repairs May Experience Significant Delays

rainHurricane Matthew has been deemed responsible for dozens of deaths and billions of dollars in damages across the east coast. Unfortunately for those homeowners with badly damaged properties, they may face a long wait before their houses can be restored.

The effects of major natural disasters like Hurricane Matthew are most often seen in waves. Smaller assessments and repairs are typically made to public spaces first. As those smaller repairs are made, larger projects can be assessed and started.

However, the construction industry was experiencing a labor shortage before Hurricane Matthew hit. Not only does this mean fewer skilled workers in the industry, it means longer wait times for homeowners in need of repair.

Just last week, requests for window replacement were up 133% in Myrtle Beach, S.C. as compared to the same date one year ago.

“My expectation is that we’re going to see some major labor bottlenecks,” said Brad Hunter, chief economist at HomeAdvisor. “We were already seeing labor shortages before the storm, and when there’s a spike in demand, labor becomes a bigger problem.”

According to a recent Goldman Sachs estimate, the storm caused approximately $10 billion in damages across the state of Florida.

Fortunately, some communities have made it easier for homeowners and business owners alike to begin the repair process.

A building permit can cost anywhere from $100 to over $1,000 depending on the project, but Daytona has waived all construction permit fees for emergency storm-related repairs across the city.

Permit fees will be waived until October 21, and include roofing, exterior doors and windows, siding, mechanical, plumbing, and electrical repairs.

However, officials have stated that completed permit applications are still required in order for proper repairs to ensue.

In order to be eligible for the permit fee waiver, whoever performs the work must be the homeowner, who meets Florida Statute 481.103, or a licensed contractor.

Application and permit fees are also being waived for removal of hazardous materials and storm-damaged or storm-felled trees.

However, the length of time between filing a permit application and completing repairs may be longer than most homeowners would like.

Because of the already-present labor shortage, fees and wait times will likely see an increase.

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