Building Your FORTIFIED Home: The FORTIFIED Evaluator

Carol Friedland, Kleinpeter, Shelly

One of the strengths of the FORTIFIED program is the requirement that each property be verified by a trained, independent, third-party FORTIFIED Evaluator. Every FORTIFIED Home project must have a certified FORTIFIED Evaluator involved to collect the needed data and submit the project to the Insurance Institute for Business and Home Safety (IBHS) for designation.

FORTIFIED Evaluators provide critical, mandatory compliance verification services and are the only professionals who can help a homeowner with the process to earn a FORTIFIED designation for their property.

All FORTIFIED Evaluators charge for their time, but their fee structure varies. Most evaluators have a set fee for each designation level; however, their price can be affected by factors such as the size of the property, complexity of the structure or roof, construction type, building code or extended travel requirements. It is recommended to contact two to three evaluators to obtain quotes before selecting your evaluator.

The Designation Process

  1. Choose a FORTIFIED Evaluator through the FORTIFIED website.
  2. Choose a contractor or roofer.
    • IBHS lists roofers and contractors who have been certified on their website. However, any contractor or roofer can do the work as long as they follow the FORTIFIED standards and work with an evaluator.
  3. Start construction on the property.
  4. The FORTIFIED Evaluator will work with your contractor to gather documentation and verify that all aspects of construction meet the FORTIFIED standard.
    • Documentation includes taking photographs of various phases of the construction process, as well as of materials and products used. These photographs are used to prove that FORTIFIED requirements have been met. Documentation will also include certified testing reports and/or manufacturer installation instructions, and FORTIFIED compliance forms.
  5. Once the documentation collected by the FORTIFIED Evaluator is audited by IBHS and the property passes the audit, a FORTIFIED designation certificate will be issued.

The Redesignation Process

All designations are valid for five years. Redesignating the home is a simple process, and usually the entire evaluation can be completed from outside the home. During a redesignation, a FORTIFIED Evaluator will look for changes to the exterior of the home and the condition of the roof. A redesignation is not automatic and some actions risk making the home ineligible.

An evaluator should always be consulted before any work is done to the exterior of a FORTIFIED home. Examples include building an addition, enclosing a porch, adding or modifying doors or windows, or adding a carport. Any work done to the roof, including repairs, adding solar panels and reroofing, must have an evaluator involved. FORTIFIED homeowners considering this type of work on their home should consult a FORTIFIED Evaluator.

More on FORTIFIED Certification:

1/31/2024 9:09:19 PM
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