To rebuild a fire damaged home or build new?

Old 12-25-04, 06:37 AM
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Question To rebuild a fire damaged home or build new?

Our 40 year old 2500 sq ft home was 50 percent gutted inside by a 6 hour fire. One third of the exterior and the roof is gone. My big question is to allow the insurance company to rebuild it using the usable frame or just tear it down and start over?

Since the homes in the area 2500 sq ft sell for about 190,000 and it will take 190,000 to repair it, I am in a delima. Am I throwing good money after bad by rebuilding

Has anyone ever had a home rebuilt? Were you happy witht he result or do you always smell smoke?
Old 12-25-04, 01:06 PM
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I would rebuild it...start over completely. Reason being, the frame that you speak of may or may not be any good, 6 hours of intense heat can do strange things to wood. Even if it looks good on the outside(of each stud etc.) it may not be. The insurance company may URGE you to use what you can salvage(naturally they will...saves em money), but I don't think they can force you, it's still YOUR home. The framing of a building is, by comparison, a small amount of the total building cost.
Old 12-27-04, 10:39 AM
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Even though parts of jproffer is suggesting the preferable way to procede, I would suggest a couple of things first.

Of course I do not know where you are at in this process but use what I suggest as guide.

1. Before settling with the insurance company, have your home inspected by a Licensed Home Inspector and your local Building official. It will be the Local Building authority that determines what should be done. This could mean that the $190,000 would not cover total replacment. The difference could cost you in the long run and be a financial setback. This is important as what the insurance company can say may be totally different. You could be getting a poor deal from the insurance co. even though the amount may seem reasonable.

2. Consult a lawyer on your behalf to ensure that your interests are protected.

Depending on the inspections, your home can be renovated with no evidence of a fire. The issue of lumber, while it is true that some deviations can occur, the effected wood can easily be replaced. Again, what your insurance company is willing to do verus what should be done can be two different things. This is reason to seek advice from someone representing you.

The cost for repairs is another area of concern. What they (Ins. Co.) determines is replacement cost (repairs if you will) verus what an actual builder would charge could be significantly lower. This should be bid out for repairs before settling anything and accepting only what was given.

Just some added thoughts.
Old 01-04-05, 07:51 PM
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David Kriegel,

There is more to concern yourself with other than just the framing and cosmetics. The concrete foundation may or may not be compromised due to the extreme heat involved in a fully engulfed fire such as your. If the insurance company does not on their own then I would request a core test of the concrete at least in the most intensely burned area of your home.

The other factor is what type of policy. some are prorated based on the life of the different materials, some are replacement cost only, and some allow replacement cost plus code upgrades. Those items that will be needed to be upgraded to bring the house to current codes as it was so badly damaged.

Good luck.

Brian Garrison
Genral Contractor/Professional Building Designer

Last edited by Brian Garrison; 01-04-05 at 08:35 PM.

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