Housing Inspection Services Program (CONUS/OCONUS)

Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)

HomeHousing Inspection Services Program (CONUS/OCONUS)

About the project

FEMA awarded the $163M Housing Inspection Services (HIS) contract in 2013 to provide emergency aid grants to survivors whose homes were affected by presidentially declared emergencies or natural disasters. 

Vanguard provides FEMA with a nationwide cadre of trained and disaster-ready independent inspectors who mobilize on short notice to examine housing situations and provide immediate relief to affected homeowners. Providing housing inspections for over 50% of HIS task orders, the team handled concurrent disasters in Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Florida, Texas, California, and the Midwest. Vanguard successfully coordinated with FEMA and other agencies to deploy inspectors and set up control and adjudication centers in challenging environments. 

Key takeaways

  • Prime Contractor: Vanguard (Joint Venture of Tidal Basin and Atkins) 
  • Project Dates:  2013 to Present
  • Project Funded Value: $1B+ NTE to date


Vanguard responded to multiple declared disasters, including Hurricane Harvey – Texas (DR-4332), Hurricane Irma – Florida (DR-4337), and Hurricanes Irma and María – Puerto Rico (DR-4339). Challenges varied based on the complexity of each disaster but included the following:

  • Register 200,000 in the inspection queue 
  • Develop and staff an adjudication and training center within ten days of receiving a task order 
  • Accurately forecast, quantify, and map rainfall and massive flooding across Texas, including scope of damages, loss of functionality of essential facilities, population impacts, field office requirements, and key actions to take within 24 hours for operational planning and TOPR preparation 
  • Health and safety issues that immediately surfaced across Texas as a result of extensive flooding 
  • Provide surge staff support for operations and field staff
  • Provide field training and orientation to 450 new inspectors 
  • Process large numbers of inspectors  
  • Provide logistics support to three concurrent field offices, including tech support for tablets 
  • Accurately assess, document, and disseminate Situation Reports or daily decision-making on mission planning and task order response
  • Provide highly qualified, bilingual managers for the adjudication center  
  • Develop and staff a field-based process to receive and adjudicate (badge) and train incoming, newly recruited inspectors
  • Find lodging for inspectors in an area of operations that sustained major damage, with shortfalls in available lodging 


Vanguard developed customized applications to support program management and data transfer from the field, seamlessly connecting to FEMA systems. All processes are tested and support just-in-time (JIT) delivery. 

The team completed the first HIS contract term and, in October 2019, was awarded a five-year, $943 million recompete contract. During a 60-day period, we badged more than 9,000 inspectors for Hurricanes Irma, Harvey, and María in Florida, Texas, and Puerto Rico. Vanguard staff took the lead, closely coordinating with FEMA Security, to develop an expedited badging process in the adjudication centers. Using bilingual training and management, we recruited, trained, and badged nearly 6,000 local inspectors.

Fully executing sweep inspections for Hurricanes Irma and Harvey, we employed an accelerated, simplified approach, resulting in more completed inspections and cost savings. Vanguard achieved a major contract milestone by performing 20,000 inspections in a single day on three separate occasions.

Resilience Delivered

Vanguard developed specific solutions to address the services required to complete the inspections throughout the aforementioned disasters. Our successes include: 

  • Access Standby/Deployment Database with automated callouts to inspectors that streamlined the deployment process. We deployed 2,590 inspectors to Texas and met all production requirements. 
  • Developed an adjudication and training center to register, brief, train, fingerprint, badge, and deploy 9,000 inspectors.  
  • Planned and prepared situation reports to capture/map damages utilizing data for mission planning and task order execution. We also prepared Incident Action Plans for daily meetings to coordinate field operations teams. 
  • Vanguard’s health, safety, and security manager coordinated with our planning team to identify and report on health-, safety-, and hazard-related issues that could impact field and support staff. 
  • Recruited, trained, badged, and deployed 12 full-time surge staff to disaster field offices across Florida. 
  • Developed a more efficient and streamlined process to activate and deploy inspectors by fully implementing a scanner check-in process, enabling Vanguard to increase the number of inspectors with work. 
  • Vanguard’s field training team provided logistics support and all training through an expedited approach that focused on Tablet Time training instead of traditional classroom training. 
  • Vanguard’s logistics/systems manager prepared and shipped all tablets to the lead field office, and our team provided remote and field tech support for all inspectors and operations staff. 
  • Vanguard’s planning team coordinated pre- and post-landfall disaster impacts, including data and maps showing María impacts on population, housing, infrastructure, lodging options, and power availability. Situation reports and daily incident action plans were used to disseminate these decision-support tools widely.  
  • Deployed a task order manager to oversee the adjudication center and field training manager.  
  • Stood up an adjudication and training center for Puerto Rico and streamlined the process for receiving, briefing, fingerprinting, badging, and training 5,860 inspector candidates in 60 days. This involved hiring Spanish-speaking staff, installing badging and processing equipment, and providing Vanguard staff support. 
  • High priority was given to hiring local inspectors and setting up base camps to ensure housing for inspectors.  

Your knowledge of the complex governmental regulations and equally complex insurance and adjusting issues really helped the county maximize the public assistance that was available after all of these disasters. You delivered what you promised, and we are confident in your ability and the ability of your firm to provide these services fully on a technical and professional level yet be able to translate clearly and concisely the intricate and sometimes subjective FEMA regulations which we could not have done without you.

The State of Alaska…[has] a significant investment in the disaster recovery process for both state and federally declared events…. The collaboration with Tidal Basin in these efforts has been so successful and seamless that in most instances applicants and FEMA staff don’t even realize we have contractors on board unless we tell them. Our interaction with Tidal Basin staff and managers works and feels like true teammates and the result is a faster, more comprehensive delivery of disaster recovery resources to survivors.

Months after the storm passed, the County was still faced with tremendous burdens related to the insurance coverage issues and FEMA and MEMA eligibility issues. Jackson County hired your organization to provide professional services for disaster assistance, remediation, restoration and recovery efforts….Their expertise with governmental regulations, the complex FEMA process and insurance adjustments resulted in our successful claim for over $2 million in additional FEMA Public Assistance funding specifically; in our successful negotiations with our insurance carrier; and in numerous other increases in the values FEMA and MEMA initially designated for County projects. Jackson County will always be mindful of the help we received from you when we needed it most.