Hurricane Ike Victims Should Be Careful when Rebuilding

Jason Morris

Hurricane Ike

Hurricane Ike

In early September 2008 Southeast Texas was hit with one of the worst hurricanes in its history.  Hurricane Ike, making landfall as a category two hurricane peaked at a 5.1 hurricane while still out in the Gulf of Mexico.   In total, Hurricane Ike was blamed for 153 deaths, 71 in the United States.  According to Wikipedia, Damages from Ike in US coastal areas are estimated at $27 billion.

At this point you are probably saying to yourself “What does this have to do with background checks?” Well, I’m glad you asked.  Marketwatch.com had an article yesterday titled; “Hurricane Ike Victims Should be Wary When Hiring to Rebuild.”  Hurricane Ike will bring many out of state builders and contractors to Texas to help rebuild the areas most damaged by the storm.  According to the Texas Association of Builders (TAB):

“Our industry understands that people want to quickly put their homes and their lives back together,” said Bill Pittman, president of the Galveston County Builders Association. “But the State sets stringent requirements for building and remodeling in Texas that are designed to protect homeowners. Using a builder or remodeler who has met these requirements will help safeguard a homeowner’s rebuilding investment.”

Under state law, home builders and remodelers must register with the Texas Residential Construction Commission (TRCC) in order to do business in Texas. Registration assures homeowners that their builder or remodeler has passed a background check and maintains a Texas business address. In addition, work performed by that builder or remodeler must meet specific building standards and be covered by a warranty.

“Using an out-of-state builder, remodeler or contractor is risky,” said Beaumont builder Bill Little, a director of both TAB and the Home Builders Association of Southeast Texas. “Neither they nor their work is held accountable to standards set by the State of Texas. Hurricane Ike victims run the risk of being re-victimized as they try and rebuild their lives.”

Homeowners or anyone looking to hire a contractor should check their registration status via the TRCC online database at www.texascc.org or by calling 1-877-651-TRCC.

We can only learn from past experiences.  August 27, 2001, Sue Weaver was brutally raped and beaten to death by a twice convicted sex-offender hired to do service work in her home. Sue had contracted with a major department store to have the air ducts in her home cleaned.  Burdine’s did not conduct criminal background checks on those workers they sent into their clients’ homes.  Sue’s life is over. Had a criminal background check been done, Sue might still be alive today.  The Sue Weaver C.A.U.S.E. was created to promote Consumer Awareness of Unsafe Service Employment.

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Jason Morris

President & Chief Operating Officer at EmployeeScreenIQ
A veteran screening and risk management professional, Jason Morris founded EmployeeScreenIQ in 1999 and acts as the company’s chief operating officer and president. Morris is a frequent speaker delivering captivating, interactive discussions on background checks, global screening, recruitment and staffing. He educates audiences in best practice initiatives as they relate to organizational employment screening programs. Morris has been quoted in numerous business and industry publications including The Wall Street Journal, MSNBC.com, USA Today, New York Times, among others. He is also a licensed private investigator in the states of Ohio, Illinois, New Jersey, Texas, Arizona and Nevada.
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