NEW JERSEY – In the State of New Jersey, home contractors can no longer perform a house elevation project unless they are registered with the State. This is a change that has been discussed since even before Hurricane Sandy, but only officially went into effect in October 2014.
What is home elevation? Sometimes called house lifting or house raising, it is a process that literally lifts a structure higher off the ground, setting it on a taller foundation. The intent is to get it above flood levels.
According to the New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs, “The law defines home elevation as raising an entire residential or non-commercial structure to a higher level above the ground.”
The process has grown increasingly prominent in New Jersey as homeowners look to protect their homes against flooding. With the help of a home elevation contractor NJ, some 15,000 to 30,000 homes in the state must be elevated, according to some estimates.
“Elevation will literally raise these houses out of harm’s way of potential flooding, and is an important step in preventing and mitigating damage from future storms,” Christie said in a written release.
Not just any home elevation contractor NJ can perform a house lift, however. Regulations went into effect in late 2014 that put a limit on who can perform the work by putting in place stringent requirements designed to weed out fly-by-night companies. Included in those requirements is a mandate that a home elevation contractor NJ carries $1 million in insurance specific to house lifting. Contractors performing this kind of work must also register with the State of New Jersey every year.
These new regulations went into effect October 1, 2014, though homeowners who are in the midst of a lifting project need not worry, as contracts signed before that time were grandfathered in,
Thus far, only a handful of contractors have gotten registered, meaning there are only a few companies in the Garden State that are legally recognized as being able to do home elevation projects.
Homeowners can check on a company’s registration status can be checked on the New Jersey Department of Consumer Affairs website.
The Superstorm Sandy resource center hosted by the New Jersey Builders Association can be found at http://njba.org/sandy/.
Experts in the field have said that it’s imperative that those living in flood prone areas get their homes lifted.
“This is a public safety issue. …We know if this continues, we know people are going to get hurt, and there is going to be property damage,” said John A. Miller, former legislative committee chairman for the New Jersey Association for Floodplain Management.
In part to help make that happen, in July 2013 Governor Chris Christie announced a $100 Million home elevation program that would provide money to eligible applicants to assist with their house raising costs. The program has come under criticism for allegedly not distributing money properly, though many others have praised it for providing the money needed to get their homes raised.
Eligible homeowners should apply for elevation grant assistance at www.renewjerseystronger.org or by calling 1-855-SANDYHM (1-855-726-3946).