Klein & Wilson

Three things contractors should know about disaster relief

After just over a month removed from the wildfires that consumed nearly 200,000 acre of land in the North Bay (in Northern California) the process of rebuilding is slowly taking place. It is believed that given the extensive damage to land and property, the process will take years to complete.

To put things in perspective, and to show why this wildfire was arguably the state’s most destructive, consider this. The Oakland Hills wildfire of 1991 charred 1,600 acres and destroyed 2,900 homes and structures. The North Bay wildfire consumed 8,400 homes and tens of thousands of additional structures.

Indeed, rebuilding efforts are a boon to contractors and construction companies, with rebuilding estimates at more than $1 billion. But the race to rebuild must be tempered with an abundance of precision. This post will highlight a few things that contractors should be aware of. 

Changes in ‘Right to Cancel’ notice – The customary three-day right to cancel notice that accompanies standard residential renovation and improvement contracts should be changed to a seven-day notice since the governor has declared several counties in the region to be disaster areas.

Be mindful of price gouging – While it may be tempting to charge substantially more for projects because of the increased need, Section 396 of the Penal Code states that it is illegal to price gouge for reconstructive services in the six months following the declaration of a state of emergency.

Seek government certification – The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has a System for Award Management (SAM) registry where contractors can be designated as specified entities in disaster relief projects.

If you have additional questions about compliance in the face of disaster relief and reconstruction projects, an experienced California construction law attorney can advise you. 

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