FLOOD DAMAGE – What to Do Next…

With the recent flooding events in Edgecumbe, Auckland, and Wellington in the after math of Cyclone Cook, Cyclone Debbie, and the Kaikoura earthquakes and similar events in the South Island and Franz Josef last year, it seems we might be better building arks not houses! For those who have to deal with a flooded property however, cleaning up and getting things back to normal can be a dirty and daunting task. Registered Building Surveyor Heather Crilly explains…

At Prendos we work with insurance companies, loss adjusters, business and homeowners to assist in assessing and managing this stressful process – to speed the remediation and reduce the amount of time businesses are out of operation or homeowners are out of their houses, and minimise the extent of the damage as far as possible.

When a flooding event happens it is important to act quickly in order to reduce the extent of the remediation required. That is when it may be of benefit to bring in an expert who can advise on what needs to be done, both immediate temporary works and those remediation works required in order to fully make good the damage, and to project manage the process. In our experience if action is not taken immediately buildings can end up beyond economic repair, due to toxigenic mould growth and timber decay where water is trapped within floor and wall voids.

We strongly recommend that access is gained to the building as soon as possible once flood waters have receded and an expert team are brought in quickly to provide advice and start stripping out the damaged building to allow the drying process to begin as soon as possible. This would ideally be led by an experienced professional accompanied by a team of workers who can remove waterlogged internal finishes, including carpets, etc., strip out water damaged wall linings, fittings and fixtures, and carry out all other necessary emergency work to allow the drying process to start and the building to be made safe. This may also include decontamination if sewage systems have been compromised as a result of the flooding. Failure to allow the building to dry out properly can result in water being trapped in voids creating the potential for timber decay and toxigenic mould growth to establish unseen.

This damage may only become apparent years after the flood occurred.

Prendos can respond rapidly to any requests to attend site and can complete a detailed building fabric damage assessment and, if required, assess compromised structural elements. Once on site, our building surveyors can instruct contractors in the process of temporary works, including stripping out and decontamination and make a full and complete photographic record of the damage.

While temporary works are ongoing we will prepare a full repair scope for remediation to make good all flood damaged elements for pricing by a contractor or costing by our Quantity Surveyors, to allow the true cost of the flood damage repairs to be valued and agreed with the loss adjuster or insurance company. If required we can also prepare rebuild estimates if the property is beyond economic repair.

To assist in handling your claim we can act as technical experts and provide forensic advice to the insurance company as required. We can also prepare claim settlement proposal reports for the purpose of settling insurance claims, and assist in negotiation of the claims as required.

Once the extent and costs of repair works have been agreed, Prendos can assist in appointing a suitably qualified contractor to carry out the works, negotiating a contract sum as required, and project manage the remediation from start to end. This allows us to ensure works are completed in compliance with relevant statutory legislation and best practice.

As experienced building surveyors we can also ensure the correct procedures are followed to avoid any potential for future damage and works are signed off by the Territorial Authority or qualified professionals as required.

During this process we can manage delivery of the works on behalf of our clients within the agreed time and budget constraints, and liaise with all stakeholders, including insurance companies, business owners, homeowners, tenants, etc. to ensure the best value for money, taking into account ancillary costs such as out-of-business expenses, provide peace of mind and minimise stress and disruption as far as possible.


BY HEATHER CRILLY, REGISTERED BUILDING SURVEYOR, CHRISTCHURCH

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