So you had one or more burst pipes in your home/business premises during the recent freezing temperatures, and you reported the subsequent damage, caused when the thaw occurred and water leaked from your pipes, to your insurers.

Your insurers will have appointed their loss adjusters to come to visit you to assess the damage and they may also have contacted their preferred restoration company to come and commence drying out procedures. On the other hand, many policyholders are still, two months after the damage occurred, still waiting to see a loss adjuster due to excessive volumes of work and inadequate numbers of loss adjusters.

This, however, is possibly the beginning of the problems.

The secret now is to make sure that the premises are dried properly, and that the damage is reinstated properly.

We have come across, over the years, many cases of restoration “experts” installing dehumidifiers, heaters, etc. and drying out only the surfaces and internal finishes (ceilings, partition walls) to premises.

Many restoration “experts” instructed by insurers and their loss idjusters are franchise operations and in some cases the franchisees’ do not have a great deal of experience, coupled with, sometimes, a lack of adequate education.

As loss assessors, we have been involved in many cases where water has leaked upstairs, and penetrated the lower storey.  It is not rocket science that this water has passed through the intermediate floor which, in the upstairs room, would be made of timber floorboards or water resistant chipboard laid on top of timber floor joists, to which the downstairs ceiling is attached.

Similarly partition walls are, in modern buildings, constructed of a layer of plasterboard attached to each side of a timber frame.

When water passes through the intermediate floor or runs down a partition wall, it is absolutely necessary to remove the ceiling to dry the intermediate timber floor joists, and to remove a least one side of the partition wall to ensure that the timber frame work is dried out properly.

Similarly when water penetrates a suspended timber floor at ground level, it is necessary to ensure that the sub-floor void is dried out properly and the timber is treated.

If this work is not carried out, there is every possibility that dry rot may develop in the concealed areas which should have been exposed and dried properly, and this will create a bigger problem in the future.

The insurers’ contractor networks do not always provide the policyholder with a copy of the specification for work which has been agreed, and sometimes the necessary work is not specified properly thus potentially creating future problems. The policyholder should insist upon seeing what work is to be carried out before allowing the insurance company’s contractor to do any work. And this is where an insurance assessor can make a massive difference to the claim payout and restoration work that a householder deserves.

It is absolutely necessary to ensure that concealed areas are exposed by removal of finishings, and that you received a drying out certificate from the restoration company employed by your insurers.

These problems will not occur on cases where loss assessor Cherry and Griffiths have been employed because we look after our clients’ interests by ensuring that repairs are carried out properly, so as not to cause future problems.

If you believe that you have any such problems involving your insurers or their restoration or building contractors, please do not hesitate to contact us as it is never too late to request our assistance.