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Rebuilding a home after the Marshall Fire could take 12 months at minimum, architect says

On Friday, Boulder County released the schedule for its debris removal program.

BOULDER, Colo. — Boulder County anticipates crews will start removing debris in mid-April for people who lost their homes in the Marshall Fire and opted into the county's debris removal program. 

A schedule was released on Friday to show which areas are going first.

For those at the back of the line, an architect in Superior said, the rebuilding process could get even more difficult. 

"December 29th it was difficult to find an architect and to find a builder because everyone was busy," said Jason Serbu, Principal Architect for Superior Architects. "An already difficult building environment was stressed by 1,100 homes, and now people are scrambling to find professionals, quality professionals, people who can design their home well."

Serbu is helping families in his community rebuild. He said two of his clients in Original Town in Superior decided to opt out of the county's program so they could remove debris sooner.

Once crews begin to work, the county believes the project will take four months. That means crews will be working into August, at least based on the current estimates. 

"If they wait two, three, four months, it is going to take for the county with FEMA to get their lots, they could be looking at a very long line of people not only waiting to get building permits but to find architects and find contractors," Serbu said. 

Serbu encourages property owners to find a builder right away, even if they have to wait several more months for debris removal. 

"If you are fortunate enough to have building professionals already lined up and hired and contracted, the time frame for the rebuild could be anywhere -- if you are fortunate, 12 months at minimum up to 24 months or more if you are at the back of the line," he said.

RELATED: Boulder County releases which neighborhoods get debris removal priority

For its debris removal program, the county prioritized Eldorado in Louisville, Sagamore and Original Town in Superior, and Marshall in unincorporated Boulder County.

The county had to prioritize neighborhoods based on FEMA's guidelines. Population density, environmental justice issues (such as predominantly minority neighborhoods and lower income neighborhoods), and air quality are some of the criteria FEMA asks communities to consider when prioritizing which areas will be cleared first. 

The county plans to make an online map to track the progress of the project. 

RELATED: Marshall Fire survivors share their journeys toward recovery

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