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Choosing a contractor



Choosing a Contractor

Many insurers have established relationships with fire and smoke remediation contractors and can vouch for their reliability and quality of their work. Many insurers also guarantee the work of the service providers they recommend.

However you are not obligated to use a company recommended by your insurer. You can use the service provider of your choice for the necessary repairs to your property. But before signing a contract, you should speak with your insurance adjuster to find out how much of the estimate your insurer will pay.

All businesses operating in the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo require a business license. Details on the business license requirements can be found here. For tips on selecting a builder, visit the Government of Alberta's website. For information on Alberta's New Home Buyer Protection Act click here.

What are my options for debris removal?

You have two options for debris removal, and these are outlined on this worksheet.

Option 1 is to select Specialized Property Evaluation Control Services Ltd. (SPECS) to remove debris. SPECS is the project management firm coordinating the debris removal for many insurers. SPECS was also contracted to perform the project management for the demolition work after the Slave Lake fire. SPECS has selected local firm Fort McMurray #468 First Nation in partnership with Morgan Construction and Environmental Ltd. to be the primary contractor that will do the work.

Option 2 is to select your own debris removal contractor. Your insurer will reimburse you for the work, provided that your contractor's costs are competitive. If you hire a firm of your choice for debris removal, it must be properly licensed, insured to work in Alberta and obtain all required Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo (RMWB) permits.

If your property is not insured and your home requires demolition/debris removal services, visit the RMWB website at http://www.rmwb.ca or call the RMWB at 780-743-7000.

If I choose my own contractor, would they need to coordinate with SPECS?

No, there would not be any need for your contractor to coordinate with SPECS.

How does a vendor become "preferred" by the insurance companies? Do they base their choices on pricing or on quality of work?

Each insurer will have its own vetting process to decide which vendors to include on its "preferred" list. Insurers usually base their choices on a combination of several factors including reputation, experience, qualifications, quality, capabilities and size.

What should I do if I'm not satisfied with the contractor's work?

The first step is to talk to the contractor. The contractor will usually be willing to rectify any deficient work and make things right.

Many insurers guarantee the quality of work done by their preferred contractors. If you are using your insurer's contractor, and speaking to the contractor didn't rectify the problem, your next step is to speak to the adjuster assigned by your insurer to outline your concerns. Each insurer has an internal escalation process to address these types of issues.

In extreme circumstances, you may want to refer to the formal dispute resolution process outlined in the Alberta Insurance Act. The Alberta New Home Warranty Program also has a dispute resolution process.