Rebuild Assessment Guide

Purpose of this Document
This document has two purposes.  First to provide a present guide to those responding to the needs of those affected by disaster.  The second, as a foundation for a reference document that will be available to future responders.

The scope of this document is specific to the home assessment process.  Those tasks that are necessary for an organization to assess the rebuild viability of a particular home and make a decision with respect to supporting the rebuild. There will be a companion document for the second phase which is accomplishing the actual rebuild.

Because of the very nature of natural disasters, they occur randomly taking on various forms; flooding, hurricanes, tornados, fires, and earthquakes, with varying intensities. They occur in various places, geographically at various times.  The intervals of each disaster can be weeks, months, or years. The people involved in the response to a particular disaster will most probably not be the same people responding to the next one, particularly if years have passed in between.
Spiritual Context
It is a great temptation, in the midst of a relief effort to lose sight of who we are and Whose we are.  Why we do what we do.  What our motivation is to come along side those who are in desperate straits in the aftermath of a natural disaster. 

Construction or reconstruction is a business process that is accomplished by thousands of workers every day. What makes what we do as the Church different from what others do? By serving others, we are serving the Lord. By its nature, the spiritual aspect is transparent.  There may be prayer.  There may even be the sharing of the Gospel. But in large measure, it is the Spirit of God who is at work behind the scenes.  The workers are merely a physical manifestation of the Spiritual presence. 

That is something no business or secular non-profit can do.  As faith-based non-profits, we come alongside the local churches in the midst of a disaster and the confusion and pressure it brings.  We do what they cannot do but are careful not to overstep. We don’t supplant the local church, but rather stand in the gap for them. 

Ours is a Godly calling and we must be careful to not abandon our dependence upon God as the Source and Provider in favor of man’s schemes and processes. Those schemes and processes must always be applied in the context of the sovereignty of God.

Men make plans in their hearts, but God orders their steps.” – Proverbs 16:9

The Assessment Process

The twofold purpose of the assessment is first, determine if the home falls within the scope of the coalition’s rebuild parameters. Second, to determine the extent of the rebuilding. The specific work, materials, labor, and costs associated with the rebuild.

After the coalition has accepted the case from a case manager or other means, the construction manager will visit the home for a cursory walk through. The purpose of the site visit is to meet the homeowner to understand the events associated with the disaster as they relate to the home. The construction manager will provide a go – no go recommendation to the Coalition director as to whether the coalition should proceed with a more formal assessment and rebuild or decline the home as out of scope.

Every homeowner wants this to be over.  For their home to be what it was before the disaster. When the assessor arrives, the homeowner’s hopes are rekindled.  It is very important that the homeowner understands that the assessor’s role is to identify what must be repaired.  The decision on what will be repaired rests with the director and is dependent upon labor availability and funding.

Once the case manager has provided the information about the home or the coalition vetting process is completed, a determination should be made on the flood zone in which the home is located and the current valuation of the property. Conduct a map survey of the home using Google Maps or Google Earth, or another mapping tool.


  • Meet homeowner with case manager/client services representative.
  • Ask questions about the impact of the storm – flood depth, length of time water was in the home, other damage incurred such as wind damage, trees, and debris.
  • Determine if there has been previous work performed by other NGO’s or contractors since the storm.
  • Determine if utilities are operational – water, sewer, electrical.
  • Visually inspect the foundation for obvious signs of settling or shifting, cracks in the slab, or the exterior brick or drywall, doors out of plumb, deterioration of the pier and beam framing.
  • Visually inspect the roof for obvious signs of exterior damage and condition of shingles. Inspect ceilings for signs of water damage.
  • Identify indications of additions and remodeling such as garage conversions.
  • Indications of mold – untreated walls and voids. (under stairs, showers, and tubs not removed, base cabinets not removed)
  • Determine if there are any open building permits on the home.
  • Ask about previous insect infestations
  • Make a written recommendation to the Director with respect to proceeding with a formal assessment and assistance in the rebuild.

Formal Assessment

The formal assessment may be conducted at the same time the site visit occurs, but typically, it will be scheduled on another day.  Each Coalition/organization has a form used to record assessment findings and measurements. The extent of the assessment will be determined by the repairs yet to be accomplished. 


  • Identify repairs – Disaster and Deferred Maintenance
  • Determine labor source – Volunteers vs Contract Labor
  • Identify skills required for volunteers
  • Determine the materials required and their cost.
  • Develop a cost estimate that includes materials, services (construction dumpster, rented equipment and contractor labor.
  • Determine if repairs are economically feasible – if the repair cost is greater than 50% of the home’s valuation, the house cannot be repaired without being elevated.
  • Make a repair decision recommendation to the Coalition Leader.
  • The following assessment process is inclusive and should be tailored to meet the specific requirements of each home assessed.



  • Tape measure, circuit/outlet tester, moister meter, camera, flash light, and ladder
  • Look for signs of mold, water damage, foundation settling, quality of workmanship if previously repaired by contractor or volunteers.
  • Make a determination for each area if there is a need to repair or replace.

The assessment results in the following documents

  • Assessment Report
  • Rebuild Scope Recommendation
  • Floor Plan
  • Home Elevation Recommendation
  • Materials Estimate
  • Cost Estimate
  • Contractor Recommendation

Exterior Assessment

  • Begin at the ground and work up.
  • Foundation
    – slab, pier and beam (height above ground)
  • Exterior
    – brick, veneer, siding, hardie board, vinyl, shiplap, or other.
  • Windows
    – aluminum, wood, vinyl.
    – single pane or double pane
  • Doors
    – wood or metal
  • Locate Water shutoff
  • Locate Natural Gas or Propane shutoff
  • Locate Service Panel location and condition (if located outside)
  • Locate condenser if central air and condition.
  • Roof repair
    – shingles, decking
  • Measure the circumference of home.

Interior Assessment

Water Supply
-Galvanized, PEX, PVC

Water Heater
–Electric,Gas (Installed to code)
Service Panel
– Location
– Manufacturer
– Location
– Type Wiring: Aluminum, Copper
Air Conditioning
– Central, windows, none


– Termite Damage
– Wood Rot

Wall & Ceiling 
– Type: drywall, plaster, and lathe – ship lap

– Ceiling
– Outside walls
– Damage

– Ceramic, tongue in groove, linoleum, or laminate
– Damage

– Type: wood, solid, hollow core
– Operation
– Size
– Swing

– Damage
– Size
Rooms, cont.
– Washer: electric
– Dryer: electric, gas
– Refrigerator
– Freezer
– Stove: electric, gas
– Wall Oven: electric, gas
– Cook Top: electric, gas

Electric: Check Operation
– Switches
– Outlets CGFI110-220
– Lights
– Ceiling Fans
– Exhaust Fans

Plumbing: Check Operation
– Sinks, drain, fixtures
– Toilets – Flush
Tubs, drain, fixtures
– Showers, drain, fixtures

– Size
– Type
– Condition

Counter Tops
– Size
– Type
– Condition

Download the Rebuild Assessment Guide PDF – Printable

Other Key Documents for Assessment

Updated on October 16, 2020

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