Like the rest of our Disaster Consultancy Services, we understand fire damage and have years of experience in helping home owners and landlords return their properties back to the condition they were in prior to the fire. It is an important distinction from an insurance perspective that reinstatement to pre loss condition is the priority. This does not mean the property owner cannot consider improvements during the works but these must be clearly separated from any reinstatement activity. We have the experience to help define and clearly differentiate any requested ‘betterment’ in our detailed report and ensure that these are priced separately by the invited contractors.
Having carried out numerous fire damage surveys in and around Surrey, we are used to explaining to home owners just how invasive even a small domestic fire can be on the structure of a building. Government statistics show that over 6,000 house fires a year are caused by faulty electrical appliances and wiring. The obvious damage can be clearly seen in this example;
However, there are many areas throughout the property that need careful investigation to satisfy an insurance claim and the appointed Loss Adjuster. Gaining access to these often hidden parts of damaged structure, for instance, behind plastered walls and under floors is critical in delivering a comprehensive reinstatement specification and accurate Schedule of Works. For example;
Smoke damage will carry an array of carcinogenics throughout the property which in turn damage many items including staining of uPVC window frames. These in particular might need a specialist plastic repair firm to assess if they can be chemically cleaned or require replacing.
Laminate flooring can suffer from staining and it can prove difficult to match a replacement section and may need complete replacement.
Concrete structures suffer particularly badly when exposed to heat. A pink staining on the surface of the concrete may indicate a lose of structural integrity and a real danger.
Structural timber beams may appear superficially charred but any loss of strength needs professional assessment and consideration for replacement.
We stress to clients the importance of speed in surveying fire damage then a carefully managed surveying process using our ISO 9001:2008 certification. Once declared safe, it is important to inspect the building right away. Any delay can increase the changes of further damage such as that caused by soot and the above ‘smoke web’ phenomenon. Interestingly we had read about ‘smoke webs’ before but had not actually seen any in a fire damaged property until quite recently.
Smoke particles are often ionised, meaning they possess an electrical charge that attracts them to certain surfaces. These cobweb-like shapes in corners of a room are caused by the smoke from burning plastic carrying a stronger charge than when wood, cotton or burning paper. Sometimes, this causes smoke residue to form “smoke webs” in low temperatures and high water content situations forming predominantly where the walls and ceiling come together.
If you have been unfortunate enough to experience a property fire in Surrey, we at Chawton Hill Associates offer an understanding and efficient service that can help relieve some of the stress of dealing with insurance claims. Our detailed survey includes a fully costed Schedule of Works, where each element will be described and will be tendered to a minimum of three contractors, so you can be confident the costs are competitive and from a checked, professional and reliable source.
Our aim is always to help you return your property to its pre loss condition with the minimal of fuss. Please Contact Us here for an initial discussion.