Damage Assessment, Scope Development, and Cost Estimation Expertise

After a disaster, state and local governments, as well as private-nonprofit stakeholders including housing authorities, universities, utilities, religious institutions, are responsible for the development of accurate and comprehensive damage assessments, scopes of work to repair facilities, and cost estimates to complete these repairs. These assessments range from the immediate Preliminary Damage Assessments (PDA), which are critical to support a request for federal funding through an emergency declaration, to the very granular cost estimates developed by licensed professionals familiar with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Cost Estimating Format (CEF) to support a final federal grant application.

Understanding your role, responsibilities, federal program eligibility requirements, formatting, and deadlines are among the most critical aspects of federal disaster recovery reimbursement programs. 


Over the last 20 years, Hagerty professionals have responded to disasters across the nation of almost every size and type – both natural and man-made. We understand that not all communities, disasters, or federal responses are equal. As such, Hagerty customizes our approach to the specific needs of our clients.

While the recovery process is multi-faceted and often a long, winding road, one of the first steps we execute is identifying and documenting all damages resulting from the incident. This is the single most important step in receiving FEMA Public Assistance (PA) funding, which is directly based on eligible damages from the incident. Developing comprehensive damage descriptions, which include all components of both emergency and permanent work, will become the basis of all other federal funding decisions.

Once all damages are identified, we will develop a list, or “menu”, of available funding programs to support your community’s recovery operations. While FEMA PA funding can be the largest source of federal funding after a disaster, it is not the only available source. A comprehensive cost recovery operation is essential to rebuilding bigger, better, and stronger. This also allows us to identify Unmet Needs for subsequent funding requests from other federal programs.

Building from the detailed damages identified, Hagerty professionals develop comprehensive scopes of work to repair the damages. This scope development effort becomes the driving factor for all cost estimating and therefore is essential to ensure accurate and complete grant funding. Our highly experienced professionals understand local code requirements, means and methods of construction, as well as the federal recovery programs and scope eligibility considerations – a critical combination throughout recovery.

The final value of federal recovery grants for permanent work are almost always directly tied to the original cost estimates. If your cost estimate is inaccurate, non-compliant with the federal program, or missing a valid scope, your federal grant funding will be insufficient as a result. Conversely, a well-developed and comprehensive cost estimate can provide opportunities and funding for a wide variety of repair, mitigation, and reconstruction activities – especially when coupled with the FEMA Section 428 Alternative Procedures Program.

You can read about some of our experiences here and here.