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State board warns about checking contractors when rebuilding after storms

Updated: Apr. 13, 2020 at 9:51 PM CDT
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MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WAFF) - The Home Builders Licensure Board is urging those rebuilding their homes after Sunday’s tornadoes to be careful when hiring contractors.

The board maintains an official list of 2020 licensed residential homebuilders. More information can be found on its website.

The state homebuilders and remodelers license is required when the cost of the job is more than $10,000. However, consumers are encouraged to seek out licensees of the board even if the scope of the work is less than $10,000.

Executive director J.R. “Chip” Carden cautions homeowners who experienced tornado damage and emphasizes the importance of the consumer awareness about the potential problems of contracting for homebuilding and remodeling with unlicensed contractors.

“Do your homework,” Carden advises. “Call any references the builder gives you and check with the Board to confirm if a builder is licensed and in good standing. Don’t be in a rush. A bad decision now can make a difficult situation even worse.”

The board outlined steps consumers should take when working with a builder:

  • Ask if they are licensed: Ask to see the card! The HBLB license is credit card-sized license – a sample is listed on HBLB’s website. You may check on a builder’s license status by calling 1-800-304-0853 or by visiting www.hblb.alabama.gov.
  • Ask for and check references, especially if the builder makes unsolicited contact with you or is from out of town.
  • Make sure quotes and contracts are in writing. Under state law, licensed homebuilders must use a written contract. Make sure it includes the contractor’s full name, address, telephone number, a description of the work to be performed, starting and estimated completion dates, and the total cost of the job.
  • Never make a full payment or substantial down payment up front. Do not make a final payment until you are satisfied and all subcontractors have been paid. If they tell you that more money is needed in advance, be wary.
  • Ask for proof of insurance, including workers compensation and general liability.

For more information, contact the Home Builders Licensure Board, 445 Herron Street, Montgomery, Alabama 36104, 334- 242-2230 or 1-800-304-0853 or www.hblb.alabama.gov.

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