SUPERIOR, Colo. — More than two weeks after the Marshall Fire destroyed more than 1,000 homes Superior and Louisville neighborhoods, the process of rebuilding is beginning to ramp up.
Hundreds of contractors from Colorado and across the country have made their way to Boulder County looking to sign with clients in need of everything from vent cleaning to designs for new homes. The city of Louisville will allow demolition projects to begin on Feb. 1.
But rebuilding could take years.
"After being involved on some Zoom calls with the city, it appears that there's a lot of confused homeowners," said Darin Kraft, a contractor with Home Test LLC responsible for checking damaged homes for asbestos. "In the next few weeks, we'll be reaching out, leaving our name and number with these people and having frank conversations with them."
There are many pitfalls that will likely impact homeowners in the disaster area as the work begins. Authorities in Boulder County have told residents that the cost to rebuild from the ground will likely cost at least $320 per square foot, much more than many residents have set in their insurance plans.
The cost could go up from there. A lack of available trade workers and new net-zero regulations impacting Boulder County could make a new build home cost hundreds of dollars more per square foot.
"Boulder has been pushing pretty hard toward a net-zero home trying to make them more efficient," Kraft said. "These houses weren't all new homes, and, hopefully, they can be grandfathered"
Another concern is scams. The Boulder County District Attorney Michael Dougherty said scammers could potentially steal from victims in a variety of ways, including insurance agents and companies reaching out unexpectedly to provide "too good to be true" options, charities reaching out requesting monetary donations in support of the victims and contractors unlicensed to work in a particular field.
The Denver Home Builders Association has put together a page to assist homeowners in navigating the hiring process. Kraft, a member of HBA, says trade organizations like his, which covers the Superior and Louisville areas, can be held more accountable than online review websites and cold calls.
"We're all being watched by the the watchful eye of the Home Builders Association," Kraft said. "They have builders at the ready who are willing to come out and help."
Though there are contractors available now, it may dry up soon as more people seek work for damaged or destroyed homes.
"Do your due diligence through getting the things done now, so you're not waiting in line for contractors," Kraft said. "Utilize their resources because they're going to have more information for you than any one place that you could possibly go to."
A virtual meeting to discuss rebuilding for unincorporated Boulder County residents impacted by the fire will be held on Jan. 19 from 6-8 p.m. Register to attend here.