Moisture content in structural components must be a concern in all water damage situations. After evaluation of carpet and pad, a careful evaluation of structural materials must be done. Replacement of structural components if damaged beyond repair will be much more costly than replacement of contents such as carpet and pad. Thus, consideration and inspection of any structural component that has the remotest possibility of being wet is vital. If moisture is detected, rapid drying of the structure must be the primary concern. The use of a hygrometer to measure air space moisture in attics and crawl spaces and the use of a moisture meter to measure the extent of saturation of porous materials is considered standard procedure in all water losses. The permeance of a structural component should be considered when determining drying procedures. Vinyl-covered drywall may require holes to be drilled into and air forced through them for drying due to possible vapor barrier. Wet baseboards act as a moisture barrier and should be removed to drill holes to speed up the drying process. Since this is the molding that covers the joint between a finished wall and the floor, when it is replaced it will cover the holes.
Importance of Professional Carpet Cleaning
Many people have carpeting throughout their home. Ideally, carpets should be deep cleaned every six months to keep them looking brand new. It also helps to get the grime, dirt, and debris out of the carpets which can help reduce allergies, smells, and stains. No matter how you look at it, the professionals have better and more powerful equipment when it comes to cleaning carpets. The type of steam and deep cleaners that you can rent or buy at a local store are generally not as strong as what the professionals use. After all, they typically spend hundreds to thousands of dollars on the equipment that they have. When some people take carpet cleaning into their own hands, and they don't necessarily know what they are supposed to be doing, it leaves some real potential to cause some damage to the carpets and flooring under them. If you were to accidentally make your carpets too wet, not only can it soak your carpets and make dry time almost impossible, but it can seep through to the padding and floor underneath. It is always best to hire a professional carpet cleaner like SERVPRO of High Point to ensure that your carpet cleaning is done properly.
Navigating Commercial Building Losses
Claims involving commercial structures can present a number of challenges to the claim professional. Multiple stakeholders, unique building construction, and the financial impact of business interruption are among several issues that may add complexity to commercial building claims. Recognizing and understanding those specific issues and taking a systematic approach to loss adjusting for commercial buildings helps cut through potential issues and may ultimately control indemnity and claim expenses for insured parties. When examining commercial losses, adjusters must take into account major considerations. There are multiple stakeholders. Multiple property owners and tenants; primary leases and subleases; mortgages; and liens all impact the investigation of a building loss and are therefore essential considerations in the adjusting process. There is also major consideration to construction uniqueness. Commercial building structures are classified by commercial underwriters into occupancy categories. These occupational categories include habitational, office, institutional, mercantile, service and manufacturing. Each type of occupancy is comprised of unique construction principles and methods. In addition, buildings within each category can greatly vary in terms of size, HVAC, alarm and fire systems, interior finishes, trade fixtures, and tenant improvements.
Adjusting A Commercial Loss
Adjusters must be aware of business interruption. Because of the nature of occupancy and exposures, commercial policies may have coverage for business interruption, including business income and extra expenses. Delays in evaluation and assessment of damage to the commercial structure by the adjuster can directly impact the time element of these claims and increase indemnity costs. One of the first essential steps in adjusting any loss is confirmation of policy information. Securing a valid copy of the declaration pages and entire policy form and endorsements will establish the ensured entity and other interested concerns, policy limits, valuation approach, insurance to value requirements, and endorsements that either extend or limit coverage. The adjuster must confirm the extent of insurable interests in the commercial property. The adjuster must identify the type of property ownership and its use to ensure proper evaluation of coverage and assessment of damage covered under a commercial policy. A party who sustains a financial or monetary loss when the commercial structure is damaged or destroyed may be considered to have an insurable interest. An insurable interest in a property is required before asserting a claim. The adjuster must identify the insurable interest under the policy and access claim payments to the extent of the insurable interest.
Assessing And Evaluating A Commercial Loss
A systematic approach to accessing commercial building damage will help efficiently determine the claim settlement for the insured. Relevant floor plans or blueprints must be secured of the building areas that sustained damage. The customer may have copies of the tenant build-out, fire escape plan, or a recent sales brochure that will document the commercial building space that sustained damage. And of course, if they have an ERP, an Emergency Ready Profile from their professional SERVPRO representative, this will help during this process as well! The wall, floor, and ceiling construction must be properly documented in each damaged area of the building. Trade fixtures or improvements within the damaged areas of the building must also be identified. Items that are unique to the commercial structure must be identified such as alarm systems, fire suppression systems, and commercial kitchen and mechanical equipment. A cost estimate for the damages, including a proper accounting of all measurements, quantities, labor hours, and material allowances must also be completed. Timely completion of the estimate is always important!
Storm Damage And Insurance
Water damage caused by flooding is not covered by homeowners or renters policies because it is considered a gradual event rather than sudden or accidental. As a rule of thumb, if the water first touches the ground before entering your home, it is considered flood damage. Other examples of gradual water damage include: Water seeping though the foundation. Mold, rot or corrosion. Slow plumbing leaks that cause damage over time. Leaks stemming from clear negligence (disrepair of the roof, plumbing, windows, etc.) There are some instances when your average homeowners insurance will cover flood damage. For example, if a tree falls on your home during a storm causing heavy rains to damage the inside, this may be covered because it's a "sudden" event and the flooding did not come from the ground. Damage stemming from burst or faulty pipes, water damage that occurred while extinguishing a house fire, roof leaks or a damaged HVAC system could all potentially be covered as long as willful neglect isn't found to be the initial cause. Discerning the differences between normal flood damage and hurricane damage can be confusing. During a tropical storm, waters often rise so quickly that draining systems cannot keep up. Once more than two acres are "inundated with water", FEMA considers it a flood. The only time homeowners insurance will cover hurricane damage is if the storm itself was the reason for the flooding. For instance, if the storm broke a window and caused your home to flood. Conversely, if the damage was incurred due to a gradual buildup of groundwater, you will need flood insurance.
What Causes Thunderstorms?
Thunderstorms form when an air mass becomes so unstable that it overturns violently. "Unstable" means that the air in the lowest layers in unusually warm and humid, or that the upper layers are unusually cool, or oftentimes, both. Pockets of rising near surface air in an unstable air mass expand and cool, and as some of the water vapor present condenses into a cloud it releases heat, which then makes the air parcel even warmer, forcing it to rise still higher in the atmosphere. If the lower level air is sufficiently warm and humid, and the higher altitude air is sufficiently cool, this process continues until a tall convective cloud - the thunderstorm - is formed. The result can be a storm extending as high as 40,000 to 60,000 feet (8 to 12 miles). The upper portions of the storm, even in the warm tropics, are made of ice. About 50% of the rain reaching the surface in a thunderstorm originated as ice in the upper reaches of the storm.
Fresh Water Damage Cleanup
As an industry standard, all flooding water must be surface extracted and removed from all wet content and building materials. Fresh water left beyond 24 hours should be disinfected from unwanted fungi and, when necessary, followed up with structural drying. This often involves removal and disposal of damaged pad and carpet, while attempting to salvage most carpeting. Wet floors, especially hardwood flooring and sub-floors are always extracted, air-dried and dehumidified in an attempt to salvage costly building materials. In most instances, wet drywall will dry out on its own or with drying equipment, but in some instances fungi are known to habitat inside wet drywall, studs, insulation and other wet building materials. If fungi becomes a building or occupant health concern, SERVPRO of High Point will ask the customer for written permission to open wet wall cavities in an attempt to clean, sanitize, and replace damaged building materials. Our main goal is to always keep the customer informed during every step of the process.
The restoring drying specialist may be asked from time to time to dry water damaged documents. While such procedures are not normally recommended because it is almost always impossible to produce "before loss" appearances, some situations involving irreplaceable items, such as original historical documents, items of sentimental value, original tax files, out of print books, etc. may necessitate an attempt. In some cases, simply drying out so the documents can be copied will provide a valuable service. Freezing or drying items such as books and papers saturated with Category 1 water within 24-48 hours can greatly reduce damage done by moisture. Transporting while frozen to an area where thawing and drying can be closely controlled and monitored will then give the restorer an opportunity to preserve the documents. Keep the items frozen until controlled drying can commence. If book pages are coated, wax paper is inserted between each page to alleviate pages from sticking together. When this need arises, SERVPRO of High Point has a resource within our own Corporate office in Gallatin, TN. They've restored documents for the Library of Congress!
Importance of Contents Claim Inventory Service
What most people don't realize is that there are a lot of factors that go into the proper clean up and restoration of fire jobs. For the property owner, it is a very stressful time as you can imagine, and SERVPRO of High Point takes the state of mind and feelings of the property owner very seriously. We always show extreme compassion when performing the clean up protocols. Not only is the property structure damaged, but so are their beloved contents. Part of the clean up process is what is called "contents claim inventory service". This entails detailed analysis of a property owner's treasured belongings. The process is as follows: taking photos of all household goods. Packing up all damaged contents. Transporting contents to SERVPRO of High Point facility. Sorting through all contents in determining salvageable from non salvageable contents. Photographing all non salvageable items for insurance purposes. Contacting property owner with non salvageable list. Encouraging property owners to come review, at our facility, the non salvageable items in case some of them may have sentimental value. Thoroughly clean all salvageable items, then carefully wrap them in packaging paper, putting them into new boxes. These possessions will be stored at our facility until the property is fully repaired and ready for move in. And of course lastly, SERVPRO of High Point will transport all salvageable inventory back to the property owner.