Water damage can be a significant problem. If you do not act fast enough, you may incur a huge loss. Even if you do take prompt action, you will probably need the services of an experienced and certified water damage remediation company like DRY EXPRESS RESTORATION. However, a lot of property owners and property managers are very disappointed after a professional remediation company completes its tasks, leaving walls, ceilings and floors exposed, with furniture stored and appliances uninstalled. They feel like the job is only half done. That is because they do not understand what job a remediation company is undertaking. In this article, we will attempt to explain the difference between what a water damage remediation company does, virus what a reconstruction company, like A&A CONTRACTING SERVICES, does.
If you are experiencing an active water intrusion, the first and foremost step is to cut off any source of water and electricity. Do not restore either until the cause of the intrusion is fully repaired. It will keep you and your repairmen safe from the danger that could occur in the event of water and electricity meeting. You may need to consult with an experienced and certified plumber to determine the source of the leak and have it fixed. This should be completed promptly and before the remediation company is engaged.
Chances are that if you own the property, you have insurance for it. However, filing an insurance claim after suffering any kind of damage can be difficult. To help with this, an experienced and certified remediation specialist (like DRY EXPRESS RESTORATION) will have a lot of experience dealing with claims adjusters. Coverage for water damage claims can be tricky depending on the type of insurance policy. Such experienced remediation specialists will know what to look for, and how to present it to the insurance carrier to give you the best opportunity to secure coverage. Coverage means less money for you to spend out of pocket on getting back on track after suffering this type of damage.
There are limits to your insurance coverage. First, there may not be coverage. Second, there may be some coverage for some aspects of your loss, but not other aspects. Third, there may be limits to your coverage, such as a deductible or depreciation. It is important to note that in hiring a remediation company, you are primarily responsible for paying their bill. So if you do not have insurance coverage, or if your coverage is not sufficient, you will be responsible for paying the company out of your pocket.
Different insurance companies handle your deductible differently. They may require you to pay them the deducible, and agree that they will pay the remediation company directly. However, if you have a deducible, you may have to pay that to the remediation company promptly to get them to start their work.
Scope of Work
Once you contact the remediation company, they will send out a (hopefully) certified technician to inspect the damage. The technician will probably request that you sign a Service Authorization or other contract authorizing them to become engaged in this process. That technician will subsequently generate what is referred to as a Scope of Work or a very detailed estimate with photographs. The technician will likely forward that directly to the adjuster assigned to the claim. The insurance company may have a representative go to the property and do their own inspection. The adjuster and the technician may engage in some negotiations with regard to the Scope of Work, and they usually always work things out and get final approval to start work. If there is no insurance coverage, then the technician will likely forward the Scope of Work to you and request authorization to proceed with the remediation.
The remediation company will also determine what property and appliances will need to be moved. If the leak is in the kitchen, even installed appliances like a dishwasher or trash compactor may need to be uninstalled and moved to expose the moisture. If the washroom is flooded, the washer and dryer may need to be moved. In addition, all of the personal property, like furniture, may need to be moved and possibly treated. The remediation company will likely create a second Scope of Work, that relates to the Pack Up and Pack Back, that covers the costs associated with moving and if necessary storing this property. You may have insurance coverage for this cost, but it may be very limited. Again, you will be responsible for this cost whether or not you have insurance for it.
To better understand the work that is involved in repairing your property, there are several factors you should be aware of.
Differentiate between the Different kinds of Water Causing the Damage
There are different types of water that may damage your property. One type of water is “pure and clean” water. This may come from different mediums, such as condensation, rain, and leaking pipes, etc. So, if your area is flooded with this type of water, it is not especially difficult to soak it up. Plus, if you act quickly, you may not have to worry about disinfection.
A second type of water is called “grey water” which is like contaminated water from dish-washing, laundry, toilet, etc. Grey water is a form of waste water, which means that just drying the place won’t do the full job. Rather, it may be necessary to scrub and disinfect the area.
The third type of water is called “black water” which is water with a link from sewage disposal or sudden overflow from other sources like a river. Keep in mind that this type of water is likely highly contaminated with bacteria and other hazards. Insects may have eggs int the water which can multiply quickly. Black water can cause complex health problems and should be treated on an immediate basis as a hazard. It is important that whoever is involved in cleaning this take all due safety precautions while repairing your residence and helping you recover.
Understand the Need for Testing and Utilizing Specialists
There may be a need to engage in various environmental tests in your property. For example, if it is an older structure, they may need to test for asbestos. If asbestos is present, then the remediation company will likely need to employ a company that specializes in removing asbestos. Also, they will likely need to test for lead based paint. If the paint in your residence is lead based, they will likely need to employ specialized process to remove the paint.
Remediation First Steps
After determining all the affected areas, the remediation company will likely promptly soak up all the excessive water. This can be done by using appropriate pumps, vacuums and hand tools. After the excessive water is soaked up, your cleaning team may place portable fans in strategic areas to aid in the drying process. In some cases, it may be beneficial to employ commercial dehumidifiers. Dehumidifiers not only dry out the floor and affected walls, but also get rid of any moisture in the wood or carpet.
Usually, your experienced remediation team will open up damaged walls and ceilings, and they may remove floors, including the carpet, tile or wood floors, and if necessary, the sub-floor. This allows access to all of the affected areas of the house so that it can be properly dried and treated.
Promptly drying out the water slows the moisture from transferring to other areas and causing more extensive damage.
Look for and Test for Mold
After getting the flooded area exposed, the remediation company will look for and may test for the presence of mold. Mold is a type of fungus that grows on anything that is moist. Temperature and humidity will affect the rate of the growth. It is frequently found growing in dark areas like an attic, closet, or enclosed space. It can also be found in hidden regions, like under the carpet or inside bumps on the wall. However, mold can cover other regions of a home in the event of water damage.
Mold cannot be properly treated fully by inexperienced homeowners. It is advised to throw away anything that has mold growth that will come into contact with children, pets, or other people with compromised or sensitive respiratory systems. Additionally, if the mold has taken over one of your walls by the time you notice it, then shut down the place so no air particles can reach it. This is because some mold can be easily transferred through the air. Air flow throughout the house will likely increase the damage you and your family will have to recover from.
Keep in mind that the best way to treat mold is by an experienced and certified remediation company. They will ensure that mold is removed from every area that has even slight mold growth. They may recommend the use of an environmental hygienist to test air samples and ensure that the mold and other hazardous environmental factors are properly addressed.
Treat or Get Rid of all Porous Products
Porous products include carpets, unsealed cement, drywall, wood, etc. If any of these products are damaged from water, the only way to get rid of any further damage is to throw these materials out, cut off the part that was soaked with water, or properly treat the property.
All porous products, after being submerged in water, can experience a fungal infestation. One such fungal infestation is mildew, which grows at a higher speed than mold and can cause extensive damage. This can infect property that is expensive or has a sentimental value. If you’re not ready to throw such property out, then you should rely on an experienced and certified expert to ensure that it is properly cleaned. Remember that even after porous property dries, unless it is properly treated, it won’t be in the same condition as it was before. Bacteria and fungi may remain after it is dried and can cause damage unless it is properly treated.
Conclusion of the Remediation Process and Start of the Reconstruction
After the property is dried out and properly treated, the remediation process is completed. However, the ceiling and walls may be torn up and exposed, and the floors and subfloors may have been removed. Further, all of the personal property and appliances might still be stored. The property may be completely untenable. Nonetheless, the mediation company is done with their tasks. Many property owners and property managers assume that the remediation is responsible for repairing the walls and ceiling, and repairing the floors. They may also expect that the remediation company will re-install the appliances and move the personal property that had been stored back into the residence. That is not usually what the remediation contracts to do. Usually, the expectation is that a reconstruction company, like A&A Contracting Services, will perform these services.
When the remediation process is completed, there is the possibility that your insurance company will tender payment directly to you for the remediation services. You need to understand that this money will need to be paid to the remediation company. You should be aware of the fact that by accepting this money from the insurance company, you are agreeing that the services provided by the remediation company were reasonable and should be paid. If you have concerns about the work the remediation company did, you need to deal with that before you accept money from the insurance company.
There are good reasons why construction companies, like A&A Contracting Services, do the reconstruction following water damage to a property rather than remediation companies. Because the walls, ceiling and floors may be exposed, it is a perfect time to have remodeling work done. In addition, the property owner may want to have changes or improvements made to the property at this time. An experienced construction company, like A&A CONTRACTING SERVICES, is in a much better position to provide these types of services than a remediation company.
As the remediation company completes its work, you will need to meet with the construction company representative who will generate another Scope of Work. Again, if there is insurance coverage, the representative will probably be working with the adjuster to get an agreed Scope of Work. That may be modified depending in what changes, improvements, or additions you want to have done at this time. Usually, payment arrangements are made throughout the progression of the construction work. There is usually a deposit prior to any work getting started, with periodic payments becoming due upon certain work being completed like any other construction projects.
Coping with water damage, and dealing with the resulting insurance claim, can be a haunting experience. This process can be exacerbated if you do not understand the roles of the parties involved in remediating and then repairing the damage. Qualified and experienced companies like DRY EXPRESS RESTORATION and A&A CONSTRACTING SERVICES can provide you with a lifeline during this hour of need.