Storm rebuild is big job boost for weak construction industry - | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Storm rebuild is big job boost for weak construction industry

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RINGGOLD, CATOOSA COUNTY, GA (WRCB) -- Five weeks to the day that Ringgold's EF-4 tornado tore it off, Billy Ware is getting his new roof.

"Cause I didn't have no insurance you know," he says. "Common sense say: no money, no honey!"

Money and honey are flowing in North Georgia and Southeast Tennessee. Ringgold's R& B Roofing was into its fourth job since the storm, when Eyewitness News caught up with a work crew Wednesday morning. It has ten more jobs booked.

"I'm six to eight weeks out myself," Chattanooga home remodeler Tim Swafford says.

"The bottom line is, you've got an influx of cash and it's coming from insurance companies," builder and remodeler Ethan Collier says.

Collier is replacing an entire bedroom wing for a home in Lookout Lake Road in Lookout Valley.

"My framer didn't have any other work going on," Collier says. "And had this not happened, as unfortunate as this is: he wouldn't have had this to look forward to in the next week or so. I have no doubt this will have a positive effect on the whole housing industry here."

Collier says Southeast Tennessee and North Georgia have a deep pool of idle talent thanks to almost three years of an economic recession and weak recovery.

But some supplies are growing scarce; particularly roofing shingles.

"I've had some issues with replacement costs from insurance companies," Swafford says. "The homeowners may not get the money they need to put their houses back together."

For Collier's client, insurance will cover only half the $100,000 cost for the master suite that will replace the two lost bedrooms.

"Some people will build anew, but a settlement on the old loan doesn't buy you a new mortgage," Collier says. "You have blueprints, inspections, code issues to consider. I do think, we're looking at three months before we really see the new construction side benefit."

Contractors also expect another wave of work--fixing other's fixes; those of the so-called 'fly-by-nights.'

But Ware is keeping the faith.

"You've got a lot of freegrabbers out here, people trying to trick you," says Ware. "But everybody around here pretty much has got common sense, so they can't pull nothing like that with us."

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