Frequently Asked Questions

Repair Program FAQ

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What kind of repairs to my home can I expect in the Repair Program?

Only your Design Specialist and contractor will be able to tell you exactly what repairs will be made in your home when they meet with you for your Design Consultation. Build It Back will repair many parts of the home, including but not limited to:

  • Exterior building surfaces
  • Foundations and structure
  • Windows and doors
  • Roofing
  • Insulation and ventilation
  • Electric
  • Plumbing systems
  • HVAC
  • Appliances
  • Elevation for substantially damaged homes
  • Lead-based paint and asbestos abatement and mold remediation (as required by law)

You may have the option to customize certain design features in your home, such as finishes in kitchens and bathrooms. Build It Back offers a selection of cabinets, countertops, light fixtures, plumbing fixtures, flooring, roofing and siding, which can be found in the Home Design Selection Brochure. You will discuss these options with your Design Specialist and contractor.

Will you repair parts of my home that are not storm-damaged?

If a home is determined to be substantially damaged and thus requires elevation, Build It Back will bring the entire home up to NYC building code to ensure that all interior rooms, exterior components and site are in good working order and condition.

If a home is determined to be non-substantially damaged and thus does not require elevation, Build It Back will rehabilitate all legally constructed and permitted areas above grade that were storm-damaged. In addition, some other parts of the home (such as bathroom fixtures) will be upgraded to Green Building Standards if required (see below).

Build It Back will only repair pre-existing conditions in order to restore an element or system that was affected by storm damage or that may be hazardous or unsafe. The Program will not repair damage that is only the result of deferred maintenance.

Will you repair or replace my utilities and other systems?

Build It Back will attempt to repair storm-damaged components, systems and/or equipment (including electrical and plumbing) that are not in good working order or condition. When the item cannot be repaired, the contractor will replace it.

What structural work will you do inside and outside of my home?

Build It Back will repair or replace all storm-damaged interior ceilings, walls and floors, as well as all exterior walls (including foundation walls) or roofs. If there are any additional serious defects that could result in structural failure, the Program will address those as well. Build It Back will ensure that the required home exit route(s) does not create any danger or obstructions to safe exiting. If the exterior envelope of your home was storm-damaged, Build It Back will seal and secure it in order to resist damage from future weather conditions.

Will you improve my home, or repair it back to its pre-storm condition?

Depending on the level of damage and the conditions of your home, Build It Back may make some improvements to make your home greener, safer, more code compliant and/or more accessible. However, Build It Back will limit repairs in basements and cellars

Will the repairs on my home be code compliant?

In order to ensure that Build It Back leaves residents with safe, decent and sanitary housing, we will repair certain code compliance issues observed in the home. This will include addressing life safety hazards in the storm damaged AND non-storm damaged areas of the home.

Will the repairs on my home resolve any safety issues?

If Build It Back assessors, contractors or inspectors become aware of a condition in the home that involves a critical life safety issue, these repairs will be included in your scope of work. These repairs will be included regardless of whether or not the area was damaged by the storm. Examples of these issues are:

  • Building instability
  • Egress locked or blocked
  • Fire safety issues, such as smoke detectors and sprinklers systems (as required by code)
  • Gas/boiler issues, such as chimney liners, fumes, smoke, and carbon monoxide

Will the repairs on my home meet my accessibility needs?

If you are deemed eligible for Reasonable Accommodations during program intake, you may receive options for an "accessibility package" in areas being repaired, including ramps and/or lifts. Reasonable Accommodations are explained in more detail in the FAQ section on Reasonable Accommodations.

Can I do additional work if I use my own contractor?

Build It Back includes several options for you to customize your home. However, some homeowners may want even greater flexibility than what is offered. With Choose Your Own Contractor, you will be able to expand your options beyond the Program offerings for certain items in your home. However, any deviation from the Program offerings must still meet the minimum Program standards in order for your contractor to be paid by the Program. In some cases, your contractor may want to charge you more for these changes.What is NOT included in the repairs?

What is NOT included in the repairs?

Build It Back assistance will not be used for luxury items, including but not limited to: clothes washers and/or dryers; garage door openers; security systems; swimming pools; fences; decks, landscaping; home furnishings; sheds and garages or other detached structures; special features and trims such as solar panels, sky lights, or wainscoting; television satellite dishes or cable wiring; kitchens and baths in cellars and basements, except where a basement contains a documented dwelling unit; or items not damaged by the storm.

How will the repairs on my home meet federal Green Building requirements?

Build It Back construction will comply with environmental checklists that promote energy efficiency and green building practices when repairing or replacing items. Some examples of the checklist requirements are:

  • All non-compliant toilets and/or faucets with be replaced with WaterSense certified, water conserving, program approved, fixtures as is required by the Green Building Standards
  • Appliances must be Energy Star rated
  • Interior and exterior lighting must be energy efficient
  • Paints, primers, composite woods and flooring must be environmentally friendly
  • Water heaters, bathroom and kitchen surfaces, and tubs and showers must use materials that prevent mold
  • When windows are replaced, they must be Energy Star rated

Non-substantially damaged buildings will use the CPD Green Retrofit Checklist; substantially damaged buildings will comply with Enterprise Green Communities. Please note that items that are not repaired or replaced by the program will not need to comply with the checklists.

How will the repairs make my home more resilient?

Where applicable, Build It Back will implement NYC-recommended Flood Resiliency Measures in your home. Build It Back will, when conditions permit, either elevate or otherwise protect from flood damage the following critical building equipment and utilities:

  • Electrical equipment (including panels, switch gear and transformers)
  • Heating and ventilation equipment (including boilers, furnaces and burners)
  • Plumbing equipment (including domestic water equipment and sump pump power feeds)
  • Telecommunications equipment

To comply with this goal, Build It Back will elevate utilities in non-substantially damaged homes to the best of its ability.

Note: Utilities that have been newly repaired or installed post-Sandy will only be elevated if the newly installed equipment can be reused and elevation is feasible. The equipment must be currently working. No newly installed and functioning utilities will be discarded.

There are some items listed in my scope of work that I don't want. Do I need to have those repairs?

Once you sign the Tri-Party Agreement, work items cannot be removed from the scope. However, the contractor may find that additional items need to be added to the scope during construction. The contractor will notify you if new items are added.

Can I opt-out of additional minor (non-critical/safety related) work items that were added after I signed the Tri-Party Agreement?

If the contractor finds that additional minor items need to be added to the scope during construction, you may request that Build It Back NOT complete this additional work. However, leaving that item incomplete must not prevent Build It Back from leaving your home in a "decent, safe and sanitary" condition.

Can I opt-out of additional major, life safety work items that were added after I signed the Tri-Party Agreement?

There are certain items in the original scope that may result in major items being added to the scope of work during construction. For example, an electrical test and inspection may identify a hazardous condition that needs to be repaired. If the additional work is required to leave the home in a "decent, safe and sanitary" condition, you may NOT opt out of the work.

If you refuse to allow Build It Back to complete the work, you will be in violation of the Tri-Party Agreement and the Grant Agreement. You may have to reimburse Build It Back for funds already spent on the construction and processing of the home. In addition, depending on the condition in the home, Build It Back may have to report the condition to the NYC Department of Buildings.

My pathway changed to elevation after I signed the Tri-Party Agreement and I do not want to be elevated. What can I do?

During construction, it is possible that some additional work added to the scope could cause the home to be "substantially improved" according to the NYC Department of Buildings. Substantial improvement means that the total dollar value of repairs needed in your home is greater than 50% of the pre-storm market value of your home as determined by the NYC Department of Finance.

If this occurs, the home must be elevated to be code compliant. If you refuse to allow Build It Back to complete the work, you will be in violation of the Tri-Party Agreement and the Grant Agreement. You may have to reimburse Build It Back for funds already spent on the construction and processing of the home.