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Fire restoration estimator

10231 Views 14 Replies 9 Participants Last post by  Jbindahouse
Going to rebuild a home for a client that burnt to the ground. 3200 sq ft of home. Insurance company's guy says he can do it for 240k, (haha).

At a reasonable $119 a sq ft my number is a tad higher.

Insurance company wants a line by line estimate from me. I am sure their guy doesn't have to do this. Problem is plans do not exist for this project as the insurance company won't release any funds yet.

This project is in Southern Indiana.

Any suggestions of what to do in terms of getting a solid estimate without plans for these jokers?
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Well, for starters, $119/sf sounds pretty steep for Southern Indiana, especially if you're able to re-use the foundation. If I was the insurance company, I'd want a line-by-line estimate from you to, since $119/sf sounds like a number you pulled out of your azz, considering you've got no estimate detail to back it up. And what makes you think that "their guy" doesn't have a detailed estimate? If he does alot of insurance work, he's probably using Xactimate, and has all the detail they want.
IF the home burnt to the ground the insurance company will pay policy limits. Some ins companies will want their adjuster to itemize if there is any structure left, even if it is exterior brick with no studs. All you need to do is send him an itemized reason as to why the remaining structure cannot be built into (if this is the case). He is the adjuster and ultimately is required to provide the itemized estimate. I do it as they leave out way too much and couldn't build there way out of a pile of debris if their life was on the line. However, in this case, burnt to the ground, automatic policy limits, no deductible applied, and depending on the ins company, a 5% of policy limits additional payment for debris removal. Your bid doesn't matter. HO is due what the house is insured for...period.
Bob, I did not pull that number out of my azz. That is what it cost me to build the last 2 homes I did. Never done a fire restoration though. The foundation is not usable. The fire compromised the concrete to the point where handfuls of concrete can just be pulled out.

Thank you though for the tip on the software that might be used. Once again, there are no plans for the building so how anyone could come up with how many square feet of tile and how many light switches are going to be used is a mystery to me.
No friggin way you can give a solid reasonable quote under these conditions.

Seriously, it can't be done. Don't walk away from this

I just can't believe that a decent hose caan be built for $119.00 per sq. ft. Here that price might get the shell, no drywall, texture, paint, int. trim, doors, cabinets, or appliances. Man, amazing the differences from place to place.

Any suggestions of what to do in terms of getting a solid estimate without plans for these jokers?
I agree, I travel for my real job and talk with people from all over the country about the cost subject. Amazing the differences, I think most of it comes from labor/cost of living. My numbers are real as I stay busy doing home improvements.

My thoughts are that the adjuster and "his" guy are in cahoots on this one. The policy limit is 350k. I know I can rebuild a home there within that and still make a fair profit. I think the rules for his guy and me are different. My client knows that in the end he can use whomever he wants. The adjuster is just dragging his feet on everything with this project. We need to start soon to be under weather before winter and this guy would make us wait till 2011 if he had his druthers. About to get my attorney involved so we can get moving.
Maybe the home manufacturer industry could give you a more accurate "estimate" given the foundation, water already exists. So, why would it be unreasonable to quote a "pre-fabricated" home of similar specs? Heck, it would be delivered to the job site. Boom it in place and have a party. Let us know what you think. In fact, for a very reasonable fee I would be willing to help you. 30 years "hands-on" carpenter / builder/ general contractor and an excellent "creative problem solver". Jeff @ brokenhammer
Did you ever get this issue resolved? I can help.
If this is still an open issue, with more information, I can help with my restoration and adjuster background. If you think the process is slow now, get an attorney involved, and it will be 2011 before you get started.
Insurance contractors write more detailed estimates than any other contractor out there. This does not include architects and engineers lol. 99% of the time, there is something left to piece a drawing/sketch together to get measurements and prepare a close comparison estimate. The insurance company needs to price something similar (like, kind and quality) with what was there. Are there pictures of the house anywhere to go from? Grandma's house, sister's house etc? The clients own statements are sometimes the only thing you have to go from as far as fixture quality and detail.

This type of digging, dancing, wiggling, working, estimating etc goes on everyday for an insurance contractor. Get a grip, the hardest part is everything prior to the new structure going back. Better make sure to have your P's and Q's inline contract wise and agreements with the adjuster. Get permission in writing fromt he client to have your name put on the insurance check. If the client hire's a Public Adjuster for their behalf, don't do any work and run! It's just as bad as them hiring a lawyer.
From your initial posting, it seems like there is some information missing.

As stated by kjm_rebuild, before anything is done, do you have a work authorization or actual contract. Even if you don't do the repairs, I would charge a minimum of $500 to do a preliminary estimate. This would satisfy the adjuster so the insured could be paid the policy limits. Percentages for debris removal and waiving the deductible also come into play.

Either the insured should have some photos, or a realtor or online photos of the roof and structure are available.

Heck, I can create an estimate to max out policy limits without even being there. It doesn't need to be exact. I would call it a preliminary estimate of repair.

I don't understand your 8/4 posting, where you say "the adjuster is dragging his feet on everything..."

Is the insured on your side?
Who is the insurance company?
Is this an ACV (actual cash value) or RCV (replacement cost value) policy?
Has the insured got any money yet?

Payouts will be Cov A-structure, Cov B-other structures, Cov C-Contents and Cov D-ALE (additional living expenses).

If the adjuster got a sub, they may want to see if they can rebuild the house for "like or similar kind" for less than policy limits. Yet, if it was leveled, they should give them their money and they could live in a tent.....doesn't matter. Their sub could come in with a low ball number on purpose, and, one day after the contract, come back with a supplement for $100,000.

Replacment costs will include all demo, too. Using Xactimate, your key categories could be General Items (dumpsters, engineer fees, permits, etc), Foundation, Roof, Elevations, Interior, Lanai, Pool.

Where are they living?
Have they received ALE (additional living expenses) from the carrier?
How much of the structure is still on site; any demo yet?
Although too much time has passed by now, who addressed the saving or salvaging of their contents, if any?

Are you only going to be involved for the structure?

More information is needed to explain the delays.

If you want, I can send you a template of a 3-BR, 2-Bth to show you the detail involved..
There is a possibility that if this is in a reasonably large city, you can go on Google Earth, and call up the address with <STREET VIEW> enabled. This will show you a fair picture from out in front of the house, as well as angled side views.
Even going to and click on maps. Type in the addy and alot of the time they have street views of the house in question. We will use it to see what we are dealing with when going to look at a roof job.

Not all have them, and some are not very good if they are off the road a ways.
I posted this under roofing already...may be useful.

While many of you roofers may be familiar with this vendor, I thought I would list the link, in case someone may find it useful.

Eagleview Technolgies. Oops, can put links on yet. Search for company on google.

I am an insurance restorer and former adjuster. This company, last Spring, teamed with Xactimate, an insurance estimating software, to provide aerial roofing photos and drawings/specs.

I hope it helps.

fire restoration

Of course, this was a year ago, so I am sure that you figured it out by now but most insurance carriers and their contractors use a line item by line item program called Xactimate. Some use PowerClaim or MSB, but they are essentially the same. Hope that you figured it out!

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