Monday AM September 29th, 2008

image of AIA's logoThe American Institute of Architects is offering free assessment of hurricane-damaged structures in the Houston area beginning today. Ed Mayberry reports.

Volunteer architects will assess damaged residences and apartment buildings on specifically-created survey forms. They’re for use in determining compliance with City Codes and for insurance claims, according to AIA’s Barrie Scardino.

“The forms are being provided by the American Institute of Architects.  They’re in triplicate.  One copy will be left with the owner, one will be in our office for record-keeping purposes and the third copy will be given to the Code Enforcement office.  We really hope the homeowners will use this to negotiate with their insurance companies, but it definitely will give arm the homeowner with some information to discuss their damages with the insurance companies.” 

Many of these architects have worked with hurricane disaster assessment in the past, and many are coming in from other cities to help with this free service. 

“In fact the architects who go out are not allowed to do any follow-up work for these people, and we’re hoping to give the homeowners enough information about their property so they will know where to go.  Part of this and part of what the architects want to do is a little hand-holding, too. I mean we’ve heard a lot of sort of anecdotal information about somebody’s great aunt who doesn’t know what to do.  I mean, she’s got a little house, but she doesn’t know whether she should repair it, or…we hope that the architects will be able to help these people answer these questions and know where to go next.”    

Appointments are made by calling 713-226-7443. or the Houston office of the American Institute of Architects. 

Ed Mayberry, KUHF, Houston Public Radio News.