Thursday, November 7, 2013

House-elevation, other Sandy bills, advance in NJ Senate


Recognizing that many homes will need to be raised higher along the coast to protect against losses in future storms like Hurricane Sandy, the New Jersey State Legislature's Senate Environment and Energy Committee today released a bill that imposes new requirements on contractors offering home elevation services.

S-2976, was one of several bills released by the committee this morning in Trenton. Committee chairman Bob Smith said that all of the bills address needs identified during a series of public hearings that focused on the state's response to Sandy recovery efforts. Smith said that more Sandy-inspired bills will be taken up at future committee meetings.

At the hearing held in Atlantic City, an industry representative warned that the demand for home elevations after Sandy might attract inexperienced contractors who use equipment that raises the risk of accidents.

The home-raising legislation released today would require contractors to use unified jacking machine for any home elevation and mandates that the contractor have at least two years of experience in the using the machine. The bill also requires home-elevation contractors to carry liability insurance in a minimum amount of $1,000,000 per occurrence plus an additional $500,000 in insurance to cover the contents of the premises for any potential peril not covered in the homeowner’s insurance policy. The Division of Consumer Affairs would be required to promulgate rules and regulations for enforcement.

Other Sandy-related bills released by the committee today:
S-2632 (Smith/Greenstein) Provides low-interest financing to homeowners who want to undertake construction projects to make their homes more storm and hurricane resistant.
The legislation authorizes municipalities to offer the loans and to collect repayments via quarterly tax assessments over 10 years. 

SR 125 (Smith/Bateman) Urges Congress to exempt from early withdrawal penalties, money taken from an individual's 401K retirement plan for Sandy rebuilding purposes.   

A-1588 (Benson/Reilly) and S-2081 (Singer/Greenstein) Establish standards concerning exposure to and the abatement of mold hazards in residential buildings, and also creates programs to certify mold inspectors and mold hazard abatement workers.

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