Friday, September 2, 2016

Hire a Pro or Get a Con

“Hire a pro or get a con”
OK, I know that’s strong language and, of course, everyone who is not a professional is not a con artist but somewhere in between is a well-intentioned "handyman" who kinda, sorta knows how to fix the problem.

In times of disaster recovery, we are blessed to have so many people with a heart to serve -- faith-based organizations, neighbors and friends who want to help. The good news is that the State often suspends or relaxes licensing laws to help expedite the rebuilding of a devastated area.  The bad news is that this opens the door for schemers to take advantage of homeowners who want to put their lives back together. 
SO... what do you do when you need a pro, but there are simply not enough professional contractors to help with renting dehumidifiers, buying effective chemicals, hauling away the debris? It seems overwhelming, but with the correct resources you could become your own Project Manager - be the master of your future and know that you are investing wisely in the rehabilitation of your home.

There are TWO resources that are incredibly helpful in knowing how to do this important work.  The IICRC S-520 (which can be purchased online as an electronic book) and the NORMI DIY Mold Removal Guide (downloadable at are valuable resources and they don’t take long to learn!  YOU could know more than most about how to do this work yourself, so you can put your home and your life back together.

Get informed now.

Doug Hoffman, Executive Director of NORMI
Mr. Hoffman is considered an expert in the construction field on mold and related indoor air quality contaminants and speaks regularly on national radio programs, TV, and through NORMI's YouTube channel at

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Tips for Hiring a Contractor

As everyone gets back to their homes and begins to start the process of cleanup and restoring their home one of the first important steps is choosing the right contractor. There are many online resources to guide you through the proper way to do this many of which we have links to in posts at Here are a few additional tips which aren’t covered as much, but could be really helpful and worthy of emphasis.

The best way to find a contractor is to go to the (Louisiana Licensing Board for Contractors) and search for licensed contractors in your area. Once you have found several contractors you want to talk to it is also a good idea to see if they also belong to their local home builders association. While this is not necessary for a good licensed contractor, this is just an added measure to ensure their reliability.

Once you choose a contractor be sure to get a copy of their license certificate to keep in your files. If for any reason you run into problems with the contractor you can file a complaint with the Louisiana Licensing Board for Contractors so there is recourse for fraudulent activities.

When large flood events like this happen the supply of licensed contractors in Louisiana is overextended. There probably won’t be enough contractors to service the need. There may also be contractors from out of state who come in. Be wary of hiring out of state licensed contractors.

Once you hire a contractor and agree on an estimate, it is standard industry practice for them to require 10-20% of the estimate to cover the costs to get the job started. You may then have to agree upon a payment schedule as the work proceeds.

In regards to estimates, remodeling is very different from home building. In home building estimates can be very accurate because each aspect of the project is controlled by the builder, to a certain degree. In a remodel, things could be revealed during the remodel that the contractor could not account for during the initial estimate. Things like excessive mold or bacteria growth, rotting, original builder flaws that were covered up, damages to electrical, plumbing, a/c, etc.  any extras that a contractor wants to charge you for related to potential mold (and this is typically where the schemers do their work) can be verified by a pre or post remediation clearance inspection.  No contractor unless they are certified in mold should make a determination on potential mold remediation especially those tricky cases.  Direct any odd mold related questions to the pros and let the mold inspectors do their job.

During the process of choosing a contractor it is likely you will talk to 3 or 4 good contractors you like and you will need to look at examples of their work to see if their style and quality fits what you are looking for. Also realize you may have to concede on style and quality if because of the shortage of licensed contractors or the speed in which you want to get your house finished. This is a personal choice you have to make.

Finally, a few red flags that should raise eyebrows and make you ask questions large deposits, really quick or general pricing, aversion to getting a licensed mold professional to inspect the home before closing walls, gutting trying to close the walls within days after gutting, not talking about specific fixtures and selections before giving a specific price, unwillingness to give you specific references locally with contact info. 

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Mold Remeditation Licensing Organizations

Here is a list of several mold remediation licensing organizations that can help you find a licensed professional to clear your home.

National Organization of Remediators and Mold Inspectors

Institute  of Inspection Cleaning and Restoration Certification

National Association of Mold Inspectors

Indoor Air Quality Association

Mold Inspection Consulting and Remediation Organization

Saturday, August 20, 2016

What Does a Clean Home Certificate Look Like?

Below you will find some examples of a clean home certificate. The ones in this example are from NORMI (National Organization of Remediators and Mold Inspectors). This is just one example from one organization. There are many different types of certificates that can be given to certify that your home has correctly and successfully been remediated. We urge you to go to to search for certified mold specialists in your area. The example given here is actually for two separate jobs. One is a certificate that is a letter of clearance/documentation from NORMI that it gives the homeowner to certify that their home has been cleared. The second document is a lab report that give specific findings and detailed information on the condition of your home. Please join our facebook page tonight at 8pm central time for a live discussion with Doug Hoffman, a NORMI representative, where you can ask any questions you may have about the mold remediation process.

NOTE: In order to prevent fradulent activity we are limiting the size and watermarking these documents so they will not be used to make counterfeit certificates. We apologize if it is hard to read some of the information, but this is just an example to give you a general idea of what the certificate looks like.


What Tools to Bring When You Are Gutting a Home

Andrew discusses the differnt tools you need to have if you are volunteering to gut homes or doing it yourself.