Editors Blog


Floods of Opportunity for Construction Pros

August 13, 2010
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Last week I drove to Nashville for the birth of my first grandchild. While there I visited an area next to the Cumberland River, which flooded on May 2, killing 30 people and causing at $1 billion in damage.

As Newsweek magazine pointed out, this was perhaps one of the most underreported disasters in recent U.S. history. Because the flood overlapped with the Gulf Coast oil spill and the Times Square bombing attempt, it was largely ignored.

Another reason you might not have heard much about his flood is that it took place in Tennessee, which, as my Nashville-based cousin reminded me, is called The Volunteer State. According to her and my daughter and son-in-law, the residents of Nashville responded with incredible self-reliance and support for each other.

The exact location I visited was the River Glen subdivision, which is very close to the devastated Opryland Hotel if you know the area. Word is Opryland is targeted to reopen in October.

I’ve seen a number of disaster zones up close, so I was not shocked by what I saw at River Glen. But at 100+ days after the flood, I was surprised that so many homes appeared to be a long way from repair. (Note: I have since been informed as much as 90% of homes may not have had flood insurance which explains why repairs are slow).

It appeared that nearly every home in River Glen had orange or green stickers and official notices plastered to them. Storage pods, dumpsters, and overflowing trash receptacles dominated the area.

The good news was the large number of contractor work vehicles parked throughout the neighborhood. Saws were buzzing, hammers were pounding, and carpenters were measuring. Lawn signs promoted remodelers, countertop fabricators, restoration contractors, cabinet installers, and flooring, HVAC and plumbing pros.

Today’s headlines are shouting about new flooding in Iowa. I hate to see people injured or businesses and families displaced by disasters. These are hardships that no one wants to endure.

And yet, I am thankful for the pros who help them recover. 

Is disaster repair work part of your business?  Should it be?
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