WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. – If your home or business was damaged during Hurricane Sandy or the nor’easter, the City of White Plains Building Department announced Friday it will fast track your permit-approval process.
The Building Department has been expediting permit requests from homeowners and businesses with storm-related damage since Hurricane Sandy because, “they know how important it is that this work move forward as quickly and smoothly as possible,” according to a news release.
Residents should receive a certificate of compliance from the Building Department when work on their home or business is complete to ensure it was done properly and to code. The department issues the certificate to the contractor after a final inspection.
General tips for homeowners when dealing with home improvement contractors:
- If you haven't done so, call your insurance company as soon as you can. Many insurance companies have existing relationships with home-repair contractors.
- Watch out for contractors who are suddenly in the area. Fly-by-night contractors will take advantage of homeowners in need. Don't get rushed into signing a contract or agreeing to repairs.
- Avoid contractors who demand payment in cash or want more than one-third of the total payment before work has begun.
- Do not agree to an oral contract. Get everything you can in writing. Insist on a written contract that sets forth all the important details of the job. That includes a detailed scope of work, a start date, a completion date, cancellation clause, warranty information and a schedule of payments.
- Get at least three estimates. In reviewing the estimates, don't always go with the lowest bidder. A higher bid may be worth it if the contractor is the most experienced, uses better materials and keeps to a timeline.
- Consumers who need to purchase essential goods and services need to take notice of what they are paying for these items and should contact the Building Department if prices seem to be much higher than normal.
- Make sure that the electrical and plumbing contractors (if required) are licensed by the County of Westchester.
- Make sure all contractors are insured.
For more tips on finding a contractor, visit the Westchester County Consumer Department website.