Hurricane Florence Destroyed My Station

If you are like many of the fire departments throughout the Carolinas, Hurricane Florence may have caused damage to your station. For most, it was minor damage, but some stations were completely destroyed by the flood waters. We talked with multiple fire chiefs back in the fall whose stations were flooded and rendered uninhabitable by the sequence of hurricanes. Without a station, emergency services are deeply impacted, so rebuilding quickly was a priority. image

The 2018 hurricane season is over, but now is the time to plan for this year’s storms and beyond. After any natural disaster, time is of the essence, with everyone scrambling trying to figure out how to rebuild as soon as possible. The fastest delivery method to design and build a new fire station is Integrated Design-Build.

In this article, we address the key steps to take when your station has been affected by a natural disaster.

Find Temporary Space

You may be down a fire station due to a weather event, but your community still needs your services. Therefore, finding a temporary space to maintain fire and rescue operations is a critical first step. Talk to members of your community who may know of empty space for lease. Or, contact a local commercial real estate broker who can help you locate available warehouse or flex space that can serve as a temporary station.

File Insurance Claims and Seek Other Available Assistance

Next, contact your insurance company and apply for grant assistance that may be available in your area. Your insurance company will be able to guide you through the claim process and answer questions about your account and coverages. When searching for grants available to fire departments, programs like the Assistance to Fire Fighters Program with FEMA or The Golden Leaf Foundation offer disaster relief grants. These sites will give you information about how to apply for a grant, along with answering frequently asked questions.

Contact an Integrated Design Build Contractor

Once these immediate actions steps are complete, you can now start thinking about designing and building your new station. Finding a civil engineer, architect and general contractor can be a long and daunting process, which is why integrated design-build is the best choice when time is a factor. An integrated firm will have the civil engineer, architect and general contracting under one roof, giving you a single point of contact for your entire project. Using a single supplier with all resources in-house is the key ingredient to delivering a construction project quickly.

The design-build method of construction is proven to deliver projects with 6.1 percent less cost, 12 percent faster construction, 5.2 percent less cost growth and 11.4 percent less cost growth than the traditional design-bid-build method.

Considerations When Selecting an Integrated Design-Builder

In your evaluation, several factors should be considered:

Experience – Look for an integrated design-build professional who has a proven track record of successfully delivering fire station projects on time and within budget.

Financial Stability – Even as the economy improves, it is essential to work with a partner that has the financial strength to complete your project, pay their bills and fulfill their warranty.

References Ask to see their completed project experience and obtain references and contact information.

Qualified Subcontractors – A good indicator of the quality and integrity of an integrated design-build firm is the subcontractors they use. When quality subcontractors are on the job, projects will be well managed and delivered on-time.

When an emergency facility is destroyed by a natural disaster, getting a new station as quickly as possible is of the upmost importance to the community, and an integrated design-builder is the best way to make that happen.

Chris Goins is a Project Developer with Bobbitt Design Build, the Carolinas’ largest and most experienced integrated design-builder. Bobbitt has delivered more than 35 fire stations throughout the Southeast using our proven design-build process.

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