REE-Construction http://www.the-restorers.com Thu, 30 Mar 2017 20:20:20 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.7.4 Water damage restoration-The 30,000 ft view http://www.the-restorers.com/water-damage-restoration-the-30000-ft-view/ http://www.the-restorers.com/water-damage-restoration-the-30000-ft-view/#respond Tue, 20 Jan 2015 21:19:04 +0000 http://www.the-restorers.com/?p=2460 If you have suffered a water damage in in Boise, Twin Falls, Hailey or somewhere nearby in southern Idaho there are a number of considerations to make in dealing with the water damage restoration.

These include whether to turn in the  water damage claim with your insurance company.   The decision to make a water damage insurance claim will depend on factors including how severe is the water damage, whether it is a business water damage or a residential water damage and your ability or willingness to take on a DIY water damage repair. This may depend on the coverage of your water damage policy and the size of your insurance deductible.

The first step is to determine the type and the extent and of the water intrusion.

Source matters. Is the water damage from a clean water source ( e.g. broken water supply line or leaking ice maker) ? Is it a sewer backup or other sewage damage cleanup that needs to be restored? Sewage damage presents additional health risks not present in a clean water source. Is there water in the crawlspace? Is the water damage from a leaking roof or leaking foundation? All of these present more or less complicated emergency response.

Is the whole house flooded or is it a basement flood? Is it catastrophic flooding or a minor leaking toilet supply? Are there damaged ceilings? Is there only a little wet carpet, or are there water damaged hardwood floors and wet insulation? Of major concern is whether you have the ability to identify the true extent of the water migration. Is there hidden water damage in walls, water damage in the ceiling or water damage in the floor assembly?

Understanding the type and extent of a water damage  affects how to deal with the flooded carpet, damaged sheet rock and other water damage. You must decide if you have the ability to stop water damage  from getting worse. Water extraction from flooded buildings may be as simple as a mop and a shop vac or may require a professional emergency response to properly complete the flood cleanup and mitigation of water damage in addition to the need for water damage repair or water damage restoration.

A basement flood resulting in water in the basement or a basement water damage  is just as serious or may be more serious that a water damage floor upstairs or water damaged ceiling repair. If they are not addressed quickly and appropriately the danger exists that long term damage to paint, damage to sheetrock or damage to insulation can develop. Then there is always the threat of mold damage or mold growth from water damage that requires professional mold remediation to limit possible unwanted health effects from mold.

If you decide that you cannot successfully carry out a water damage emergency service, a water damage mitigation, mold remediation and a water damage repair or water damage restoration, at REE-Construction/First General Idaho we have 24/7 emergency water damage service to water damage in Idaho that you might encounter.

 

Call Us Now for immediate response if you need a professional damage restoration company to respond to your emergency water damage event.

Category of water damage
Water damage comes in various forms and the water may only be part of the problem

 

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Damage Restoration, Tricks and TPA’s http://www.the-restorers.com/damage-restoration-tricks-tpas/ http://www.the-restorers.com/damage-restoration-tricks-tpas/#respond Tue, 06 Jan 2015 23:41:27 +0000 http://www.the-restorers.com/?p=2436 As 2015 dawns, changes in the water damage and fire damage restoration industries continues to unfold.  We can chalk this up to simple maturity of a relationship between insurance companies and restoration contractors.  Some of the changes are a result of abuses by less than scrupulous contractors and some of it may be looked at as insurance companies looking for ways to  modify their business model as factors such a lower interest rates on investments, translating into lower ROI on those investment, make such a change necessary.

The damage restoration industry enjoyed a long run a loose controls and the opportunity for truly significant margins for a lot of years in the last quarter of the 20th century.  This isn’t unusual for a immature industry.  It takes time for a wide audience to identify the opportunity and competition to begin to flood into the market.  The damage restoration industry was, not that long ago, an almost secret society, with closely held secret formulas and techniques to accomplish the task if restoring damaged property.  The dawn of the internet saw the increasingly free exchange of information about “how to” work the  magic spells of removing odor and restoring damaged material.  Actually the exchange wasn’t necessarily free as aging restorers saw an opportunity to quit responding to difficult situations 24 hours a day and offered education (for a price) in the sorcerer’s ways.

For many years insurers were more than willing to trade premium and claim dollars as their ability to invest andgain substantial returns made the claim dollars a means to an end  rather than a end in and of itself.  .The despicable acts of 9/11 resulted in a rapid change of that model as insurers saw reserves dwindle as the many of costs of the damage to the economy were reimbursed by insurers as a result of coverages that had never really been exploited.

Smoke damaged House
residential Fire damage restoration Project

The trend continued well beyond the immediate affects of 9/11 had diminished as insures saw claims dollars as an opportunity to increase margins with management of those costs.  This shift lead the birth of TPA’s or third party administrators that managed the property claims process for a fee.  This “new” industry has grown by fits and starts as new players enter, each offering to lower costs and provide relief from abuses, both real and perceived, that may occur in the restoration industry.  Their share of the market has increased slowly, but steadily over the past several years and it is believed they control somewhere around 20% of the claims market at this writing.

The relationships between the insurers, the TPA’s and restoration contractors are tense at times as some restorers believe they are on the receiving end of abuses of unfair price control and improper scoping of damage.

 

These relationships will continue to mature as less efficient players are forced out of the restoration marketboth on the restorers side and the TPA side.  The ride is a little bumpy at time presently, but repairs, restoration, damage mitigation and require the ability to respond to and adjust to changing condition to be successful.  That hasn’t gone away, just the face of the industry is evolving to meet the current challenges of the market.

Water damaged commercial space
Water damages a school i Hagerman Idaho

 

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Scoping the Damage http://www.the-restorers.com/scoping-damage/ http://www.the-restorers.com/scoping-damage/#respond Wed, 31 Dec 2014 16:24:17 +0000 http://www.the-restorers.com/?p=2431 When a home or business is damaged as the result of uncontrolled release of water, a smoke damage or a damage from a fire, the first step is to control the loss.  This is typically accomplished by the intervention of a property damage restoration contracting company that will remove excess water, begin restorative drying and address smoke or fire residues before they cause irreparable damage to things like electronic components or finishes.

Roof Work after Fire
Work is completed on a fire damaged chimney by REE-Construction

Once the conditions that allow continued ill affects to property and contents are completed, a systematic and thorough appraisal of the work required to bring the property back to its pre-loss condition can be completed.

The process that is typically followed to establish the scope of work and arrive at an agreed upon price for completing that work is generally  pretty straightforward.  The insurance company assigned an adjuster to the loss, the homeowner hires a restoration contractor to help them establish what has been damaged and the degree of that damage.  The adjuster may write a preliminary scope of work and place a value on that work, but usually there is an interaction between the contractor chosen by the property owner and the insurer to verify the details of what needs to be done and exactly what the value of the work described will be.

Hiring a competent contractor to act as the trusted advisor during the claims process can help make that process go more smoothly and assure that the full extent of the damage is identified and included in the scope of work that will be undertaken to bring the property back to pre-loss condition.  This isn’t a matter of an adversarial relationship, but a combined effort to make sure that all the damage is identified and a reasonable or appropriate value is placed on the work required to complete those repairs, replacement or restoration.

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REE-Construction/First General Idaho http://www.the-restorers.com/ree-constructionfirst-general-idaho-2/ http://www.the-restorers.com/ree-constructionfirst-general-idaho-2/#respond Wed, 16 Oct 2013 20:09:12 +0000 http://www.the-restorers.com/?p=2077

Water Damage
Winter has finally come to the Northwest after a long and mild Fall season.  The time is right to make sure your property is ready for below freezing temperatures and the possibility of frozen pipes and water damage that may follow.  Certainly water damage is a year round possibility as hot water fittings may fail, washing machine hoses may wear out and a dishwasher can lose its door seal, but winter weather is a major culprit in water damage to homes and businesses.
A simple preventative measure is to make sure that any garden hoses are disconnected from the outside water spigots.  Every year we see numerous instances where water freezes in an outside spigot, causing a connection to break or a pipe to split inside the wall of a home or business.  The thing about this type of break is that the actual shutoff is typically located about 18″ inside the wall and so when the line breaks it may not leak water right away.  Often the damage occurs in the spring after the spigot is turned back on.  A mysterious water damage occurs and it is only after some investigation that it is discovered that the leak only manifests itself when the water is turned on to the outside.
Often, especially in a second home or when people go on a winter vacation, temperatures in the house are put at a lower setting to save energy instead of heating an empty house.  When the inside temperature of a home is set at, say, 55 degrees while the outside temperature is well below freezing, it may not freeze in the finished space inside a home, but inside the walls the temperatures may drop well below freezing and low enough for a water damage to occur.  While it is tempting to try and save money by lowering inside temperatures, this can become a case of penny wise and pound foolish.  The damage from a broken pipe running water into a home during an extended time a way can run into the tens of thousands of dollars.
At the very least if someone is setting temperatures lower than typical in an unoccupied house, the doors to areas around sinks and fittings (in bathrooms or the kitchen should be left open to allow circulation of warmer air into these areas.  Even a small fan to move air into that “dead spot” can help prevent freezing and the damage that accompanies it.
Water damage will happen from time to time, but the most obvious causes can often be avoided with a little planning.
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Beaver Creek Wildfire-Cleanup and Restoration http://www.the-restorers.com/beaver-creek-wildfire-cleanup-restoration/ http://www.the-restorers.com/beaver-creek-wildfire-cleanup-restoration/#respond Wed, 21 Aug 2013 18:24:15 +0000 http://www.the-restorers.com/?p=2069 We seem to have five seasons in Idaho;  Fall, Winter, Spring, Summer and Smoke.  Whenever there is a good sized fire near homes and other occupied buildings, we get a lot of calls about cleaning up when it’s over and when do I need a professional fire damage restorer?

 

Photo By Steve Dondero

Let’s start off with some basics.  Not all fires are the same.  Often, in the case of a fire actually in a home or other building, there are  plastics, nylon, paints, coatings and other synthetic materials as well as wood and paper that are completely or partially combusted.  This can leave some pretty difficult residues to deal with as well as physical damage to walls, ceilings, furnishing and other finishes.  We like to think that this is a job for a restoration company with equipment, experience and training to successfully assess, remove, repair, replace, restore and (sometimes most importantly) deodorize a building so it can be occupied without discomfort.

 

Actually one of the most difficult smoke/fire events to successfully restore is the eggs, beans, turkey or whatever that gets left on or in the oven and ends up being deposited as a nasty smelly protein residue on everything throughout a house. It is the one of the most commonly screwed up restoration projects there are, because the damage is difficult to see and too often is not removed because it is too much labor. Instead  efforts are concentrated on covering up with sweet smelling foo-foo juice (save money on labor) and it means starting over to make it come out right.

 

When there are wildfires, there are obviously physical damages that occur to structures.  All too often the building is completely destroyed, but there are heat and fire damage to roofs, decks,exterior surfaces, windows and furnishings.  There may also be heavy ash residues on the building as well.  Again, we think this probably is a job for super restorer to put things back like they were before the fire.

 

We also see a fairly new phenomena that requires removing the foam and retardants that are either purposely or accidentally applied to exteriors of buildings to prevent actual fire damage.  Again, we suggest a call to super restorer to bring things back to normal and make sure the mess isn’t just made worse by well intentioned, but untrained responders.

 

The difference between a wildfire and a typical structure fire is the type of residues that remain when it’s over.  With wildfire, the primary (if not only) material combusted is cellulosic (e.g., trees, grass, sagebrush) and the combustion is often  complete.  The remaining residues are ash that blows in the wind.  As much as it pains me to say it, often times addressing the odor and cleanup of the remains of a wildfire in a house doesn’t really call for special powers of super restorer.  While they may be labor intensive, the trick is executing simple cleaning techniques very well.

 

First of all, the odor is much more transient and associated with that dry ash residue. We know that bringing home a sleeping bag  from a camping trip that has that campfire odor is often corrected by simply providing some ventilation on the clothesline before rolling it up and putting it away.  A dose of “out with the bad air, in with the good”.  Similarly, the majority of the smell associated with a wildfire is transient as well and while we can’t hang our house on the clothes line, other ventilation will go a long way toward curing what ails a house as well.  A few changes of the filter on the furnace, opening the windows (when the wind isn’t blowing ash around) and the passage of a few days can make many of the pungent odors that seem to be everywhere a thing of the past.

 

The next step is removing the residues.  Success typically involves simple everyday cleaning techniques like dry vacuuming, dusting and wiping down horizontal and vertical surfaces.  We all understand that when the wind blows, even without ash from a wildfire, residues (dust) end up getting things dirty again.  With all the extra  residue (ash), the effect is certainly magnified, but the result is not so much damage as just a need for stepped up housecleaning.

 

Most of us have dodged the bullet as far as actual structural damage.  We can be thankful for some heroic efforts of firefighters from all over the state and the country for making this more of a big campfire than the property damage catastrophe that it could have been.  If you need a professional super restorer or are unsure if you do or don’t, please feel free to give us a call.  We will give you the benefit of our experience in making an honest assessment of how best to address your situation.  If appropriate, we will provide our best super restorer skill to help you get back to normal.  You can also find tips  under “FAQ and Insurance Claims” at our website

 

We may be visited by some folks from out of town looking for work when this is over as well.  Its a good idea to always remember to be careful when speaking to strangers.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Principle #4-“Complete” means crossing the t’s and dotting the i’s. http://www.the-restorers.com/principle-4-complete-means-crossing-dotting-is/ http://www.the-restorers.com/principle-4-complete-means-crossing-dotting-is/#respond Mon, 03 Jun 2013 16:00:49 +0000 http://www.the-restorers.com/?p=2050 If you had to make a choice, which would be better, someone who started strong and then didn’t complete the task at hand or someone who got off to a bit of a rocky start , but finished strong and made sure the project was complete?A fire damage project after completion

 

Everyday in the property damage restoration is somewhat analogous to taking on a remodeling project without having the opportunity to plan ahead.  Seldom is there a pre-catastrophe meeting to discuss the property owner’s vision of the how catastrophic event will unfold, what the extent of the damage will be and how the finished project will look. There are almost always no plans, many times we may have not even have met the property owner before hand.  It’s is more often than not, “pleasure to meet you”, “sign here please” and the relationship starts with us re-arranging people’s personal contents, maybe pulling up floor coverings or cutting drywall and generally starting that remodel project that we will work out the details of later.  It can be a little overwhelming.  Usually, if we’ve responded in a timely manner when that first call that came in, if our crews do what they do best or bring in extra team members with special expertise when needed and if we don’t expend too many resources on lost causes or neglect items of importance to the property owner, if we can provide value during those sometimes chaotic first moments and keep the process moving along while we let everyone come up to speed and the planning for the end catchup; damage restoration projects have a good chance of turning out a success.

Actually the first part is the easy part, because if there are molehills that pop up-there is usually an opportunity to address them before they turn into mountains.  However, it is not uncommon to hear from people who have suffered through a property damage (as well as a remodel) that it took forever to get the last few details taken care of or worse yet, there is still something like a piece of trim or a bit of touch up paint that never quite got finished.

 

We believe that the goal of the project is to make sure that everything is put back to a pre-loss condition.  This means that the paint and the carpet and contents and everything else is back to normal, not “almost” back to normal.  We can’t control whether an insurance policy or the company that issued it covers all of the damage that results from a fire, flood, or other damage event. We can make it a part of our company culture that our part of the job isn’t finished until it’s finished and that everyone on our staff needs to finish their part of the process-not leave anything that was agreed to be completed, incomplete.Fire damage restoration after

So, if we succeed at being “quick”,”competent”, “appropriate” and finally “complete” in all of our interactions with our client property owners  and all of the other materially interested parties in the damage restoration process, we believe we can provide a valuable service to everyone in the process.

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Principle #3-It is always best to be “Appropriate” http://www.the-restorers.com/principle-3-it-appropriate/ http://www.the-restorers.com/principle-3-it-appropriate/#respond Tue, 28 May 2013 15:47:54 +0000 http://www.the-restorers.com/?p=2044 I’m not saying that it we don’t sometimes enjoy the joke when someone does something that others nearby may deem inappropriate (“Here, pull my finger”).  I always wonder why some people can pull off that being inappropriate thing and make it seem so cute, just a little eccentric or adorably curmudgeonly.  But that is a discussion for another blog post.  This blog is about how responding appropriately is an important principle in damage restoration.

Water damage hardwoodThis is the “give a man a fish” vs. “teaching a man to fish” moment for the damage restoration contractor and their staff.  When the question is asked “why did you do that?”, the explanation of why someone thought an action was appropriate is a good place to drill down.

 

The old joke is that all it takes to dry out a water damage is to put two fans and a dehumidifier in the place and come back in three days after it’s dry to pull the equipment out.  That’s “how” you dry a building. Unfortunately too many “professional” restoration contractors don’t understand why they should consider any other options.

The truth is that while there are certainly some common scenarios that we encounter, if all we consider is how rather than why we take the actions we take, we would deserve to get body parts in a wringer when things go awry on a project.  It is also true that what may be the appropriate action to take in a 30 year old mobile home might not be the appropriate action to take in a custom finished home which might not be appropriate in action in a medical facility which might not be the appropriate action in….and on and on. Of course the rub comes when we start making value judgements of what is appropriate.  One person’s funny story over dinner with friend may be another person’s off color joke in front of the congregation at church on Easter Sunday.  The principle is to take into consideration the circumstances and the conditions presented and then, based on one’s experience, education and training; make a judgement as to what is appropriate in this situation.

Sewage damage to hardwood floor We recently had a situation where a hardwood floor was impacted by a sewer backup, the owner was out of town, there were questions on coverage, the owner’s insurance agent was saying to do the minimal amount required and the insurance company didn’t respond to the site for five days.  Our technician at the site knew that the sewage damaged floor should come out, but was told specifically not to remove it until the adjuster had inspected it and coverage was established.  He knew that if he didn’t take some action that the water would continue to damage the floor so that even if someone was willing to live with a sewage contaminated floor it would be swollen and probably have mold growth as an additional contaminant from sitting unaddressed for several days.  He was faced with a bad choice of (1) deciding to do nothing and letting it pose additional risks to the health of the occupants,(2) setting up containment and taking steps (spend money) to start aggressively drying a contaminated floor that would probably be torn out anyway, (3) just tearing out the floor against the instructions of the agent and risk it not being covered or (4)?.  When asked why he did what he did there was obviously not a right answer that fit all of the materially interested party’s agendas in this case, but there was a wrong answer and that answer would have been “I don’t know”.

We believe that, even though second guessing has become something of an art form in damage restoration,  assessing the situation and attempting to discern, then taking the appropriate action under the circumstances is the third principle of a successful restoration project.

(If you wonder how the job ended up, send me an e-mail at reecon@the-restorers and I’ll give you the details.)

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Are you competent? http://www.the-restorers.com/competent/ http://www.the-restorers.com/competent/#respond Tue, 21 May 2013 14:29:53 +0000 http://www.the-restorers.com/?p=2039 fire damaged custom artisan tablePrinciple number two is making sure we are competent to do the task at hand.  I’m reminded of the time I went out on an after-hours water damage call to a house that we had recently finished restoring from a previous water damage just a few month before.  I was met at the door by the distressed looking owner of the house holding a butcher knife.  (Yes, think Jack Nicholson in the shining. It was a bit awkward).  When I walked in the house I saw that she had used that same butcher knife to cut the carpet (in a very ragged line) somewhat near the seam in a door way.  On the previous emergency visit, I had used a razor knife and a straightedge to cut a seam at that same doorway to allow the carpet to be moved and the saturated pad pulled out. She had seen me perform the task last time and her only explanation was that she felt she had to “do something”. Apparently she had the best of intentions, but good intentions don’t necessarily translate into qualification to do the job right.

 

Some variation of this is actually a pretty common occurrence in the damage repair business.  We often walk into a job that although they found themselves compelled to “do something”, the property owner didn’t really have the skills to successfully complete the action they took.  Unfortunately, it isn’t always the panicked homeowner that tries to do something that they don’t have the skill set to accomplish.

smoke damage braided rug

 

While we want to be “quick” in our actions to move the project along whenever we have the opportunity to do so, the second filter we want to use in taking action is to ask the ask “are we competent to do the task at hand”.

 

In dealing with property damage, there are a lot of things we do as a company on a regular basis. With proper training and repetition certain tasks requiring specific skill sets become routine and we become competent to carry out those tasks in a true journeyman like manner.  But one thing about dealing with property damage is that the project is not always about routine tasks.  Whether it is a restoring a damaged custom trim package or dealing with a unique piece of personal property like a sculpture with a patina smoked up in a fire or a pen and ink drawing in a damaged condition as a result of excess humidity, we are constantly presented with unusual scenarios that no one person or one company could be competent to handle in-house.

 

At the entry level, our newest member to the team needs to be able to give an a honest appraisal of the skills that they bring with them to the job.  Even the demolition of damaged drywall requires a certain level of skill to complete efficiently without affecting the next trade on the job.  From day one, we tell our staff that if they are put onto a project to complete a task and they do not feel they are 100% competent to complete that task, they should stop and make sure that they get the training or the supervision they need before they move ahead.

 

By the same token, when our most experienced supervisor runs a cross a situation that requires a skill set that they haven’t mastered, we need to be able to turn to our network of experts across the country for advice or hands-on expertise to make sure the project is as successful as it can be.

 

Property damage is never convenient.  There is always some level of pressure to “get it done” as quickly as possible.  It can be difficult for the egos of the new guy and the old pro to admit that they don’t  have the skills needed to address whatever set of circumstances comes up.  But at REE-Construction/First General Idaho we believe that the ability to judge our own competence is a important skill in and of itself.

 

 

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Let’s start by being “Quick” http://www.the-restorers.com/start-quick/ http://www.the-restorers.com/start-quick/#respond Mon, 13 May 2013 21:54:48 +0000 http://www.the-restorers.com/?p=2035 A couple of qualifiers before we get into a discussion of “Quick”.  First of all, it seems that looking for opportunities to be quick quick should go without saying, but it sometimes it seems like some participants in a damage restoration projects don’t have any sense of urgency in getting people’s lives back to normal.  Secondly,  quick doesn’t mean hasty or not thought out.  As Stephen Covey says in his book, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, “Always begin with the end in mind.”

 

 

 

The first time we talk about quick is when any call comes in.  We want to respond to the call as quickly as possible,  particularly in the case of a property damage emergency. Delay often translates into additional damage which may turn into additional time to assess the damage, additional time to come to agreement on the scope of restoration work and ultimately delay people from getting back into their homes and businesses.

 

With offices in the Treasure, Magic and Wood River Valleys and people working on projects in various places within that service area,  we can usually get somebody to the site of a damage emergency within an hour (or sooner) during regular business hours.  After hours and on weekends our goal is have an on-call tech on the phone in no more than 15 minutes and at the job site, equipped and ready to start work within 2 hours.

 

But the discussion of being “quick” is not something we limit to just damage emergencies.  In any decision that needs to be made during the emergency, mitigation, remediation, reconstruction or personal property restoration for a client, the first principle we want our staff to consider is will this action move the project along toward completion in a timely manner? .

 

There are typically several materially interested parties in a property damage claim.  There is a property owner and usually an insurance company. There may be one or more adjusters representing the insurer(s). The occupant may be renting the space or the insurer may be representing a third party in a liability claim situation.  Often a property manager will be representing the individual property owner or a group such as a homeowner’s association. Building officials from the city or the state are often part of the process.  We would be remiss if we didn’t acknowledge mortgage company’s increasing role in process of navigating claims.  We believe that to say that there may be competing agendas working in less than complete harmony would be a fair assessment in many, if not most, cases.

 

The nature of the work is that the project usually begins before anyone has a chance to plan it out and details are often handled on the fly. There is an inherent challenge to keep the project moving along, without fits and starts

 

If we, as a restoration contractor,  take into consideration a more holistic view of the pieces of the damage equation from the phases (emergency, mitigation, remediation, reconstruction and restoration) to the interaction of the various parties, we may be able to see what is coming up around the next curve in the road and shape our actions to adjust for bumps or roadblocks that we know are likely to come up ahead.  We may not always be successful, but we believe it is incumbent upon us to make the effort to get people back into their homes and businesses in a timely manner.

 

If we make keeping this principle in mind a priority for everyone from field staff to project managers to administrative staff as we move through the process, we believe we increase the chances for a successful restoration project.

 

 

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The Battle Cry for Principled Restoration http://www.the-restorers.com/battle-cry-principled-restoration/ http://www.the-restorers.com/battle-cry-principled-restoration/#respond Mon, 06 May 2013 15:37:05 +0000 http://www.the-restorers.com/?p=2029 It’s 2AM Saturday morning, you’re the on call technician who has been called out to a water damaged building and one of the things you’re faced with is that some of the carpet in the hall is soaking wet from a water damage that occurred a couple of hours ago.  Do you extract the water and set up air movers?  Pull up the carpet and pull out the pad?  Tear out the carpet and pad, bagging it in 6 Mil bags for disposal?

 

Cedar with water damage stains

What if the source of the water is a sewage backup, would that change your mind?  How about if the property manager had called and owner was out of town and couldn’t be reached?  What if it was in an assisted living facility with elderly residents?

 

sewage damage bathroomWhat if it looked like there was mold on the wall?  Or maybe it is an obviously high end residence with the same thick luxuriant patterned carpet thoughout both floors of the house? Or a 30 year old mobile home and the carpet is an orange shag that looks like it’s been there since the place was first set down?  Does it matter if there is insurance coverage?

 

Before the water damageEach variable requires a decision resulting in (someone’s) money being spent and/or  money saved.  Indecision may mean wet materials sustain irreparable damage  in the interim and whatever decision is made will be subject to kibbitzing by everyone that walks in on Monday or Tuesday or Wednesday to assess the situation.

Like any business providing services, we spend a lot of effort learning the ins and outs of our niche, developing skills to meet whatever contingencies we might encounter and establishing systems to do what we can to provide a consistent result to people when they call.

We have binder after binder of protocols from different insurance companies describing how to meet their reporting requirements and more binders of training materials on “how-to” deal with about any damage situation. We have dozens of certificates on the walls from seminars, certification trainings and conferences on best practices.We have books of standards documents that spell out what we shall, should, can or may do on a water or mold damage to meet the definition of a qualified restoration company.

Unfortunately, when we try to come up with a standardized “best” answer for every contingency that might arise, one variable in the scenario changes and the “best” action requires a complete change in approach to bring about that “best” result. It seem the more rigid the rules, the less likely the people that actually go out and provide services at the site of the damage are likely to try and think through the situation to problem solve the best solution.

We realized long ago that, particularly in dealing with disasters large and small,  anyone that goes into the field will regularly be faced with making decisions and taking actions at some point in time that have consequences impact the overall success of a project.  It may be a marginal decision that turns out to be relatively inconsequential or a situation might arise that requires an immediate action that colors the conduct of the entire project.  When that moment comes, we believe that if we can get the person closest to the moment to think about what we are trying to accomplish instead of just what we have “always” done in the past, we have the best chance of making the “best” decision under the circumstances.

We worked to distill what we felt were the most important decision making principles into a sort of battle cry for our employees to use in the field.

From the time a new employee comes on staff and throughout the time they are employed here, we stress that there is only one “wrong” answer if they are ever in a position where they must make a decision on the job and are later asked to explain why they took a particular action. That “wrong” answer is “I don’t know?” followed by some variation of “that’s what we’ve always done, that’s what we did last time, I didn’t think about it, etc., etc. “.  To reasonably expect people to produce positive outcomes more often than not, decision makers at every level have to be given the tools to make judgements on the fly commensurate with their responsibilities.  We think we have distilled that decision making process down to four one-word principles that, if put into the decision making process, make good  outcomes much more likely.

Those four principles are our company battle cry.  Over the next four blog postings, we’ll share those four and ask you to comment whether you agree.

 

 

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