After a disaster hits, the recovery process is often a blur as many people push toward rebuilding immediately. While rebuilding is usually the obvious choice, it is important to take a moment to assess how you want to move your business forward. Do you take this opportunity to renovate exactly as you were or update to a newer system? Do you tear down your building and downsize (or upsize)? Do you move to a new site? Don’t let stress make your decisions for you. Try to keep these things in mind:
- The market is going to change dramatically. Many businesses and many residents will move out. New businesses will take off. Will your business be right for the area moving forward? Will you need to adapt?
- This – as horrible as it is – could be an opportunity for your business to rethink its space. Several upgrades to technology and furniture systems have changed how we do business and how we interact with space. You do not need to build back your space the way you left it. You may be able to create a more efficient, workable space than what you had before the flood.
- It may take longer than you think, and cost more. The unfortunate truth is that we went from a market where supply and demand gave great prices for construction and labor into a market where everyone needs the same things to rebuild. Materials and labor are very suddenly in short supply and companies are rushing in to fill that void. While prices will rise, it is important to get more than one price to avoid price gouging, but you need a realistic view of the circumstances as well to know that things will not cost the same or be as available as they were pre-flood.
- Do not trust someone who says you need to have a large up-front deposit before they will do work. Many agencies are putting this advice out there right now, but it cannot be said too many times.
- Flood-proof as you rebuild where, and if, you can. If you decide to tear down and rebuild, make sure your new building is in a better position to withstand the next disaster. This can include looking at things such as building better drainage, raising your building, and raising your site. Or may include solutions as simple as wall mounting and raising your IT servers, storing important documents up high with off-site backup, and raising any outdoor equipment. Regardless of what you do or don’t do, keep in mind that no building is 100% flood proof.
- Check your contractor. Check that they’re licensed, check their prices against competitors (too high and too low are both red flags), check their references, check their certificate of insurance, and get a signed contract. If the contractor balks at any of these requests, move on to someone else.
- Don’t rush it. It may seem like it’s urgent to get back on your feet and “get back to normal”, but in major disasters that is not always the case. If you build back before your customer base is ready to go back to using your business, then you could’ve used that time to make better decisions that could save you money upfront and over time. Have a plan in place before you move ahead.
With Architecture, Construction, Facilities, and Real Estate divisions, we can help with planning and rebuilding. Let us help you do the right thing for your business before someone tries to use you to do the right thing for their business.