Just over a year after Hurricane Sandy washed through his Long Island, N.Y., home, I sat down to talk with Rich Sangiorgi, a contractor with 30 years in commercial exteriors. In addition to his thriving commercial business, Rich runs a modular house building company. And he is now teaming up with Joe DeNicholas, the sixth-generation house mover who successfully raised Sangiorgi's waterfront home 11 feet higher than it stood a year ago.

We sat on the unheated second floor while a vibrating plate compacted fresh fill beneath the house. It was the final phase of elevating the home, yet the project was far from finished. Sangiorgi's crew had only just started renovating the gutted first floor, and formwork for new retaining walls surrounded the house like a fortress. Hundreds of...

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