The other Friday night I joined a band of waterproofing specialists, damp proofing specialists and drying companies at a CPD on this subject. As I looked around at a mix of guys, who ought to be at home with their families, I had to halt growing derision , what on earth was I doing there on Friday night too?
Anyway, there’s no doubt that flooding is growing in importance, what with the impending glacial melt and greenhouse gas malarkey. Plus the CPD was by Steve Hodgson, of the Property Care Association and Steve knows his stuff and wont offer a CPD, unless he knows it will be well received – no waste of time this.
It seems that the flooding problems, over the past few years have been dealt with in something of a shambolic way. Problems include, excessively long remediation times, with families left homeless or living in caravans for months – even years. Huge costs for insurance companies, who it seems have been happy to throw money at the problem, but have had little control over the mechanics of the repairs. Loss adjusters have naturally been keen to save money for the insurance companies, but with advice to them being sometimes a little biased, they’ve sometimes failed in this and costs have spiralled.
Also, a problem known as ‘secondary flooding’ has appeared, costing even more money and causing disruptions and much gnashing of teeth.
All this has happened without the influence of PCA members like me; despite the fact that damp is running in our blood and members have a deep understanding of remedial repairs – we’ve never been asked to help – this may be changing.
Okay, I have some experience of flood remediation, but that is because I have been directly contacted by flooded householders, who have reached a cash settlement with their insurance companies and sought out there own specialist. The vast majority of victims of flooding just leave it to the insurance company and their loss adjusters – so not much changes and the cycle goes on.
So – what to do? Well, the insurance company must be involved of course, when any building floods. But – if you’re the insured, it pays to get your own specialist as soon as possible. That way, a full and proper survey can be done, revealing any latent defects and using the best methods to restore the property quickly and where possible reduce it’s susceptibility to flood damage in future.
The insured may say “why bother with latent defects; it’s not my responsibility to tell the insurer that a wall was damp before the flood”? But that is why so much so called ‘secondary flooding’ problems have occurred – if there are defects already and the loss adjuster does not know about them, then the problem will just reoccur, months after the repairs. More expense – more disruption and more waste. Correct inspection, by an experience specialist can make sure that the finished job fits the building – so ‘secondary flooding’ becomes a none-issue.
It’s time for the real damp specialists to get on board and help out. Could be some profit in this – for the remedial industry, for the insurance companies and for homeowners too. Perhaps not for the drying companies though…….