Remodelers are eager to assist within their community, but sometimes those experiences can be less than rewarding if not handled correctly.
Lack of scope of work, mishandled funds, lack of volunteers—these are just a few of the things that can turn a good thing into a drain on a remodeler’s resources and energy.
That’s why several NARI chapters have teamed with their local Rebuilding Together affiliates for charitable projects. Rebuilding Together handles the project logistics, which allows NARI chapters to handle what they know best—the skilled labor and construction process.
Workings of the NARI/Rebuilding Together partnerships
The NARI/Rebuilding Together partnership makes sense to Scott Wagner, president of Custom View LLC, based in Richmond, Va., and president of the NARI Central Virginia chapter.
“They are organized at their meetings and active in the community, and it’s easy for us to jump in and help those in need by providing our time and resources,” Wagner says.
The relationship between Wagner’s chapter and the affiliate is simple. The chapter provides the technical leads—or what Rebuilding Together calls “house captains”—for projects throughout the year. He says five to seven people from the Central Virginia chapter will donate their time as a house captain this year.
House captains are usually general contractors who understand the construction process. Their role requires them to visit the site and identify the scope of work, both in materials and technical labor. House captains also will put together a timeline and cost analysis of the project plan. Wagner says that cost analysis is especially crucial because it must come within 90% of the proposed budget. From that point until the actual build, he/she would also manage any-pre work and deliveries.
Rebuilding Together’s part includes the vetting process of the homeowners, to make sure they are who they claim to be. Also, they will usually provide and manage the unskilled volunteers during the build day.
“I was very impressed by their ability to manage the unskilled labor during the build since so many are eager to dive into the project; Rebuilding Together doesn’t let people get their hands on things that could be harmful,” he says. This was noticeable on a recent pre-1978 project that needed RRP-certified workers involved in the demolition phase.
“Rebuilding Together also does a lot of advertising and word-of-mouth marketing of the projects, and that is very beneficial to the members and chapters to be recognized as the professional contractors working on the project,” Wagner says.
New for this year, Wagner has developed an informal committee with a focus on fund-raising for Rebuilding Together. The chapter finds value in giving back to the community in more ways than one.
Rebuilding the Rebuilding Together relationship
John Puslat, president of Window & Door Designs based in Dayton, Ohio, and president of the Miami Valley NARI has placed his chapter’s involvement in Rebuilding Together projects as a top priority this year.
The relationship between the chapter and the local affiliate has been long standing but was admittedly not utilized to the best of the chapter’s capacity in recent years. “Last year we cut a lot of revenue, and charity work was not given the attention it deserved,” Puslat says.
This year things are about to change.
As president, Puslat is strengthening the relationship with the Rebuilding Together by extending a board position to Scott Bruns, program director of the Rebuilding Together affiliate.
“Scott brings a lot to the table in the people that he knows in our area and the homeowners who are in need,” Puslat says.
Puslat and Bruns worked together to develop the charitable strategy this year, which is focused on home modifications for returning military veterans who may have a handicap. Rebuilding Together’s primary focus as an organization is on military veterans and elderly homeowners in need, and this provided a perfect fit for the chapter.
Currently, Puslat and his board are still in the planning phase of this year’s goals, but he says having Bruns involved in this process will allow them to put charitable opportunities into the final plan.
“It’s all about taking the good things that we already have and making them better,” Puslat says.
One big accomplishment so far, Puslat and Bruns already have plans to sit down with the local channel 7 television station to talk about the Miami Valley’s involvement in Rebuilding Together. “It’s putting our name out there in a way that it hasn’t been,” he says. –Morgan Zenner
To get involved and find your local Rebuilding Together affiliate, visit http://rebuildingtogether.org/affiliates/.