Disaster Can Strike Any Builder
By Jonathan Sweet

Whether it’s a hurricane or a tornado, a fire or a flood, or even a cyberattack, any business can be hit by a disaster. But by preparing your company for the worst, you can not only survive whatever happens but recover more quickly than the competition.

More than 25 percent of businesses never reopen after a major disaster and nearly half of businesses lack a cohesive, written disaster preparedness plan, says Peter Carvajal, the Southeast Director of Risk Control at CBIZ, Inc. CBIZ delivers financial, benefits and insurance services to thousands of business and organizations. Carvajal works with companies throughout the Southeast, including Georgia.

“The good news is that there are a number of simple steps small businesses / homebuilders can take to cut disaster recovery time and associated expenses,” Carvajal says.

The first part of creating a disaster plan is to identify potential threats. Are you in a hurricane area? Are you near a river or other area that may flood? Think about your location, the type of records you keep, how much you rely on your electronics and data.

“Now would be an excellent time to contact your insurance agent for a review of policies and confirm that there is adequate coverage for all risks that can affect your business,” Carvajal says. “Be sure you understand your coverage, deductibles, limits and how to file a claim. Consider business income and extra expense insurance as well as flood coverage.”

Be sure to create a complete list of tools and other equipment including model, serial number and receipts or other information to help establish value. Photos of equipment will also help. The information should be stored off site either via the cloud or in a secure location. Some disasters are predictable, like a coming hurricane, so have a plan in place to remove equipment from the jobsite and store it in a secure location.

Record Protection Is Vital

PROTECTING YOUR BUSINESS IS ABOUT MORE THAN TAKING CARE OF THE PHYSICAL ASPECTS OF YOUR COMPANY.

“In our experience, owners of labor-based businesses tend to focus disaster preparedness efforts almost exclusively on jobsite readiness and the need to secure physical assets and workers from harm,” says Cathy Miron, president and CEO of eSilo, a Jupiter, Fla.-based provider of data backup and disaster recovery solutions. “That is important, [but] it’s not the only preparation that needs to happen. In order for builders to protect their businesses (and not just their customers or jobsites) they need to have contingency plans for their back-office IT and data protection.”

Not protecting records can result in a domino effect on productivity and cause long-term problems for a business.

“Put simply, without the relevant digital assets (e. g. blueprints, drawings, inventory sheets, customer contracts, job schedules, and other documentation) labor-based businesses can’t effectively deploy or manage their physical assets,” Miron