Follow New Guidelines for Scheduling REAC Inspections
The REAC Reverse Auction Program (RAP) published revised Guidelines for Scheduling REAC Inspections on Oct. 20, 2010, for inspections of multifamily and public housing sites that are awarded through the RAP. There are two exceptions: the Puerto Rico and New York Housing Authorities, which are governed by their own special protocols.
The Insider spoke with REAC Inspector Kay McIlmoil, who offered a summary of the guidelines along with some helpful suggestions to make the scheduling process go more smoothly for all parties involved.
Q: How does the REAC inspection process get started?
A: REAC contractors/inspectors must initiate the scheduling process by telephone and then follow up with an email to the appropriate site representative who has the authority to schedule a REAC inspection. It's important for the owner or managing agent to establish which site representative has that authority and to give the information to the site manager. If the site representative is contacted to schedule a REAC inspection, it's important that he or she respond as soon as possible to the request.
Q: Are there time limits for scheduling the inspection?
A: The REAC contractor/inspector has only 15 calendar days from the date the inspection is awarded in which to schedule a REAC inspection. If the REAC inspection is not scheduled within 15 calendar days, the REAC inspection must be recorded as “Uninspectable,” with the reason.
For example, if the site representative has not responded to telephone calls and emails, or refuses to schedule the inspection, the REAC contractor/inspector has to record this reason with the dates of unsuccessful contact. Each REAC inspection has a “drop-dead date,” which is the final date that a REAC inspection can be scheduled.
It's also important that the site representative respond as soon as possible to obtain the greatest flexibility in dates for the REAC inspection. The REAC inspector may be traveling a great distance and may be in a particular area only a short amount of time.
Inspections may not be scheduled on federal holidays or on state holidays when your office is closed. Also, inspections may be conducted only during the site's operating hours.
The REAC contractor/inspector must agree on a mutually convenient date with the authorized site representative. REAC contractors/inspectors should give the site representatives the choice of at least three unique scheduling dates. But this may not be feasible due to the REAC inspector's travel schedule. If there's a valid reason for not scheduling a REAC inspection during the time frame that the REAC inspector will be in your area, then the REAC contractor is responsible for finding an alternate REAC inspector for your site.
Q: What else has changed with the inspection guidelines?
A: REAC contractors/inspectors must now confirm the property profile—that is, the number of buildings and units—when scheduling the REAC inspection. They also must verify the vacancy status, even though this will change between the time the inspection is scheduled and the date of the inspection.
Once the date for the REAC inspection is agreed upon, a follow-up confirmation email must be sent to the authorized site representative, with a copy to the REAC RAP.
Q: What if the inspection has to be canceled or rescheduled?
A: There are times when a REAC inspection is canceled by HUD. If that occurs, the REAC contractor/inspector is responsible for notifying the authorized site representative. In addition, if there's a Severe Weather Advisory, the REAC inspection must be rescheduled. However, if there's snow, the REAC inspection will still be held.
It's important that you give the REAC inspector a cell phone number to call in the event that there's a Severe Weather Advisory, or in the event that the REAC inspector will be late due to unforeseen circumstances. It also is important that you provide directions to the site or to an alternate meeting place if the location of the site is difficult to find.
If your site is or will be undergoing rehabilitation, you may be able to obtain an extension for the REAC inspection through your HUD contract administrator or local HUD office. Note that the REAC contractor/inspector cannot give you approval for an extension.
Q: What if I disagree with the REAC inspector?
A: Keep in mind that the REAC contractor/inspector is a government contractor who's responsible for following the REAC inspection protocol. That is what he or she is hired to do. The REAC contractor/inspector does not calculate the score and never sees your final REAC inspection results. If you disagree with what's recorded by the REAC contractor/inspector at your site, you have the right to request to see the deficiency definition and to appeal the deficiency to REAC.
In addition, if you have any questions about the REAC inspection, you may call the REAC Technical Assistance Center, which is open Monday through Friday, from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. EST, except for federal holidays, at 1-888-245-4860.
Kay McIlmoil, CPM: REAC, FEMA, and FHA Certified Inspector, IMC Inspections, 4111 Lakeview Pkwy., Locust Grove, VA 22508; (540) 846-7677; firstname.lastname@example.org.
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