What Happens After a Basement Flood?

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Basement Flood Clean up
Hangout with Jason Knox
Answering questions about what happens after a flood – how noisy is the equipment, how safe is it, and what not to do.

Mark: We’re talking with BC Preferred Restoration today. Mr. Jason Knox, he’s the lead guy there and we’re going to be talking about the process of what happens after you’ve had a flood in your house, in your basement. How’re you doing today Jason?
Jason: Pretty good thanks Mark, how about you?
Mark: Good. So, during the drying process after a flood, I guess there’s a lot of things that have to go on. Can you describe what’s actually going to happen?
Jason: The name of the game is we want to get things dried as quickly and effectively as possible to prevent further damage such as mold from developing. The whole process takes somewhere between three to five days depending on the job and how much water and how much area we’re drying etc. etc.

Basically, we’re going to be using drying equipment; top of the line drying equipment is what we use; air movers, dehumidifiers, sometimes we’ll be using what we call air scrubbers or negative air machines depending on the job, and application. Basically once the drying equipment is set up, it’s meant to be left running.

You don’t want to be unplugging it, and stopping, and starting it. It really slows down the process and I understand that it gets a little bit noisy sometimes, maybe a little bit warm in the house but stopping / starting… this really slows down the process and instead of a nice three to five day dry time we’re talking a week plus sometimes. So really, really important that people let the equipment running. It gets them through it quicker that way.

Mark: Right, so is it safe to have all this equipment running in the basement with all that moist air?
Jason: Yes, it’s totally safe. That’s part of the reason we are using dehumidifiers is to control the humidity. They’re not heaters, they’re not going to pose a fire hazard or any sort of risk that way. We’re basically moving air. We’re creating evaporation. We’re collecting the evaporated moisture by using the dehumidifiers and just getting the place dry, so totally safe to do so. The equipment that we use, again, top of the line equipment.

I’ve visited the testing facility and I see what their technicians and developers put their equipment through before it hits the market and I know that these things have been tested for thousands and thousands and thousands of hours continuous without even a problem. So, no worries that way.

Mark: So, I guess some of these places are pretty hard to get to, like how do you get inside a wall, under floors, that sort of thing.
Jason: We try to preserve as much of the materials as we can, being the least invasive possible but sometimes, we’re going to have to do things like remove baseboards and drill small holes down the base of the walls to inject air into the wall cavities to make sure we get things dried up properly.

Sometimes, we’re going to have to open up the walls, maybe to remove wet insulation, for instance. A wall that’s packed tight with insulation,  isn’t going to dry properly unless you do that, unless you’re able to remove the wet insulation and again, get air inside that wall. All our technicians are trained in these areas and they know how to identify these obstacles and how to overcome them to make sure that we do our job properly.

Mark: Is part of your service, you make sure that’s all closed up after it’s all done,? Say it takes a week to dry or four or five days to dry but then, it might be a few weeks for the final redo of the place basically to be complete. Is that right?
Jason: Yes, exactly, so the first part of the job we call the emergency portion of the job and this is going to be our demolition, our cleaning, our drying. By the time we’re finished the emergency the house is clean and it’s safe.

The next part of the job is the final repairs portion of the job and depending on the size of the job and what needs to be done, yeah sometimes it can take, two to three weeks depending on how quickly the insurance company moving on approving the estimates to do the work and this sort of thing. Sometimes it is open for a little while, but you know, if there’s any hazards with regards to sharp edges or this sort of thing, we take care of that by removing nails and whatnot so that nobody’s going to be exposed. We also encourage people to avoid the area as much as possible while it’s under construction. You don’t want your kids running around bare foot down in your basement if it’s under a full on restoration project that’s for sure.

Mark: So how much, you’re running quite a bit of equipment, I guess if it’s been a full flood and there was a couple feet of water in the basement, so how much is all this going to cost me in electricity?
Jason: Yeah, it’s a good question. There’s a mathematical equation that we use to figure this out and it depends on how much you’re paying per kilowatt hour for your electricity is part of it but generally speaking, ball park, it works out to about a dollar per day, per piece of equipment in use. So if you have, ten pieces of equipment running for four days, let’s say, that’s going to add about forty bucks to your electricity bill. The good news is this will be reimbursed by your insurance company.

We just have to submit this for you and like I say, figure out this mathematical equation and we’re more than happy to do that for our customers, present this to the insurance company for them.

Mark: So I guess one of the last things, something that I’ve wondered about is, how safe is it, if there’s a flood in your basement, how smart is it to actually be going down there checking things out when there’s actual water and maybe your furnace is still running or other electrical equipment is still operating or could be operating, might turn on at some point.
Jason: Right, such a great question. I think our natural instinct as homeowners when we see a situation developing in our basement is to run down and safeguard as much as our personal effects as we can!

I would definitely recommend not doing it! I mean if at all possible to stay out. I mean, use your common sense, if your basement is full, with water, I’m talking three or four feet standing water where it’s gone up past the height of your electrical receptacles and your electrical appliances are still plugged in,  you don’t want to be wading through that water! I mean not only the electrical hazard but also you don’t know what’s in that water.

You don’t know where that waters coming from, you might be wading through three feet of raw sewage and that’s never a good idea! So, bottom line it’s best to avoid these areas until one of us is there to basically walk you through what can be done, what shouldn’t be done. Not everything is going to be a write off. Obviously if your personal belongings are up off the ground and are not directly in the water, let’s say, they’re going to be all right until we get there.

Make things safe, get the water out. Then we’ll be able to deal with those contents for you.

Mark: Great, Jason, this has really been enlightening. I think there’s a lot to know and I think it’s really important to have professionals to look after a flood. It’s not something that you can just do on your own.
Jason: I agree Mark. That’s why we’re here.
Mark: Great. So we’ve been speaking with Jason Knox at BC Preferred Restoration. You can reach them at bcpreferredrestoraton.ca or you can call them if you have a flood at 604-295-8646. They’ll look after you, they’ll look after all the insurance; your house will be back new before you know it! Thanks a lot Jason.
Jason: Thank you Mark. Take care.

Flooding – Cause and Origin

Hangout with Steve Kaldis- BC Preferred Restoration
Cause and Origin are words you might hear from your insurance company if you ever have a flood. What do they mean, what are they asking for?

Mark: Hi. We’re here today with Steve Kaldis. Jason Knox was scheduled. Jason’s away dealing with a flood for a customer so we’ve got Steve Kaldis the owner of BC Preferred Restoration. How’re you doing today Steve?
Steve: I’m good, thanks Mark
Mark: So, BC Preferred Restoration, you can reach them at bcpreferredrestoration.ca and today we’re going to talk about flooding – these words cause and origin. What is that about Steve?

Steve: From the insurance point of view it’s something that’s going to be covered. They need to know what caused it and where does the problem originate. These are really, really important factors and most of the time, we don’t want to have a situation where the cause was due to negligence or something that was dripping and the homeowner was aware of it and it had been allowed to drip for a very long time. You kind of ignored it because you thought it would go away or it’s not a big deal and the next thing you know, you find out that it had been leaking behind the wall. Now your whole house has mold and so something of that nature would most probably not be covered by the insurance company.

If however, the cause was due to an unexpected, sudden and accidental crack in your pipes for example, then that would certainly be covered. So cause is one of the most important determining factors that determines liability and whether you’re going to be able to get help from the insurance company for your flood or water damage or if that’s something that you’re going to have to shell out hundreds or thousands of dollars to fix on your own.

Origin is tied to that. There are certain exclusions nowadays to do with foundation cracks that happen over time and that really could be argued that it’s a maintenance issue. Things like maintaining your drain tiles and making sure that there’s adequate damp proofing. So if water damage were to come through your foundation wall due to a slab leak then water damage that had that as an origin again would most likely be excluded; unless you’ve had certain types of upgrades to your policy called the weather guard – different companies call it different things but it’s an additional coverage that a home owner could ask for to cover them for all these types of things.

Mark: I guess a lot of that is about knowing where your house is, what’s the kind of common problems in the area; is there construction nearby, are they tearing all the trees off the hillside above you. There’s a million ways that you could have all sorts of problems. I know when we had a flood, one of the things the insurance company wanted to see a Plumbers Report. Does BC Preferred Restoration do this kind of work? Providing a Plumbers Report?
Steve: Absolutely and this is where we help. We help the homeowner to gather this paperwork and amass the paper trail so that it can help them. The Plumbers Report is really important especially when your plumber is there and it’s fresh in his mind. Plumbers always get busy and it’s a lot easier to get them to write you a quick report when it’s either fresh in his mind or before he’s gone away on holidays .

We had a situation about a couple months ago where the plumber worked in the home and then he accepted a job up in the Fort McMurray area and he was out of town for six months and unreachable. Everything was hinging on his report and unfortunately the homeowner didn’t think to ask him for one, not knowing that it’s important and it caused their entire renovation project to be delayed.

Mark: So what if I don’t know any plumbers. Can BC Preferred Restoration recommend a plumber?
Steve: Absolutely, we work very closely with a number of reputable plumbing companies. We have relationships with a lot of different professionals in plumbing and in renovations and in flooring, painting, electrical and because we have been working such a long time we do know who’s good and who would not be recommended or invited back to the job. That’s a big advantage to the homeowner to go through a company like BC Preferred where we have professionals that we’ve vetted. That’s often the biggest challenge because everybody sounds great until you first meet them and the people conversely that might not sound so great are really amazing craftsmen. It’s really tricky and the average homeowner unfortunately is under a big deficit when their trying to make this decision as opposed to people like us that manage and oversee hundreds of projects a year. Again we know the track record and it only takes one job or two jobs to know a professionals quality and how they work.

Mark: So, I remember that my adjuster, when we had the flood was saying that the cost to correct any plumbing problem was not covered by insurance. Is that the normal thing?
Steve: Yes it is, that is the norm. Let’s say, your water line is broken and you need to break up your cement, dig down to the pipe to repair it, the actual repair is not covered. However, the cost of having broken up the cement and to replace the cement may be covered. Although we have had successful coverage on parts of the job that really are the most expensive, like 80% of the cost is getting to that pipe, and breaking up the cement and replacing it, the actual cutting of the copper line and splicing it is maybe a ten minute fix. Again, it has to do with knowing the rules, it has to do with having the right relationships with the insurance professionals and this is again another big reason why people come to us for our help and our guidance and our expertise to guide them through this whole process that can be very daunting and complex.
Mark: So just to digress for a second, I mean, our situation what we had, we put in hardwood floors on the main level of the house and when they were shooting the nails in, the original contractors, plumbers had not followed the code and had installed the water line too close, and so the nail penetrated when they were putting the floor in, so a few days later we got this big sopping ceiling down in the basement and a massive mess. So I guess in that case because they hadn’t followed code the insurance covered it all but is that normal? I guess that gets into all kinds of slicing and dicing as to what’s going to be covered and what isn’t and that’s where guys like you who really now this and have done hundreds or thousands of jobs, can talk to the insurance company and really help.
Steve: Yeah, it’s an interesting point, very often things are not black and white. Very often, everything is shades and is a matter of interpretation and perception. Whenever there’s clear cut negligence of a professional, very often the insurance will cover it and then they will, what they call seek subrogation from the other persons insurance coverage. They actually pass the bill to that other professionals liability insurance due to faulty workmanship. Whenever that happens there’s a good chance the homeowner will be protected as opposed to if the homeowner had tried to do it himself you’ll still get – doesn’t mean you have an automatic exclusion but, you know the two cases could be seen differently. The adjusters are human beings and as human beings we are subject to discretion.

Mark: So, I guess if there’s, I know there’s a plumbing problem and I don’t correct it, what happens then? I guess liability wise in terms of the insurance and that it causes the flood and all that sort of stuff – what’s covered and what isn’t.
Steve: Mark, again it depends upon who you told, have you’ve been communicating that something needs to be fixed and whether you chose to negligently ignore it or was it an issue of you were aware there was a problem. But you as a lay person wasn’t fully informed or aware of the potential magnitude – that it can cause this result… so again it depends on how this information gets presented.

If this information gets presented in a way that shows negligence or omission on your part then somebody could make a case that you should not be covered. If its presented in such a way that we knew there was a problem and that you fully intended to fix it in good time but didn’t get a chance, you see the different presentation of the same example, right? At BC Preferred we strive to present the situation to help the customer, our customers in the best light as possible. Again we don’t bend the truth, we don’t bend the facts, we don’t manufacture them but utilizing the same facts, you know, one can present a certain fact in a certain way that helps the homeowner and helps our customers in the best possible light.
Mark: We’ve been talking to Steve Kaldis from bcpreferredrestoration.ca. You can reach them at 604-295-8646. If you’ve got any type of  flooding problems, these are the guys to talk to, they will get you looked after, get you back to living in your home and enjoying things and get your home safe, get rid of all the mold and water problems. Thanks a lot Steve.
Steve: It was a pleasure Mark. Thank you very much.

After a Flood – Clean Up Cost and Billing

Bursting Pipe

Mark: Hi, it’s Mark from Top Local Lead Generation here. I’m here with Jason Knox from BC Preferred Restoration. We’re going to be talking about cleanup costs after a flood. How are you doing today Jason?
Jason: I’m doing great Mark, thank you.
Mark: So let’s just jump right in. So a flood happens. How much does it cost?
Jason: Yes, that’s usually top on the list of everybody’s questions, that’s for sure. Every job’s going to be different and therefore every job cost is going to be different. Our costs will be based on the work that we have to do, and we get our costs from our labour, and also the different types of equipment that we use, whether or not this is an insurance claim or a private sale will also depend on what the customer is actually paying towards the cost of the job.

For instance, if this is an insurance claim, the customer is not paying the total cost of the job but rather paying only the deductible that is associated with the customer’s insurance policy. Again if it’s a private sale we would be charging that customer directly and therefore an estimate would be given beforehand, we’d go that route.

Mark: What would be the different parts? I imagine that there would be the cleanup, there’s the drying, if you’ve got to replace product, if you’ve got to replace gyprock, or rugs or all those kinds of things. Is that all part of the cost? Does your service include all of that?
Jason: Yeah exactly. Everything that we do during the emergency portion of the job would be accounted for in the billing. Everything from the tear out, the labour to do it, the disposal of the materials that we have to take out, the equipment that we use to make the house dry, everything is included in the emergency portion. If it’s an insurance claim, all of these costs, everything associated with the restoration project would be billed directly to the insurance company and therefore the customer is never out of pocket, the insurance company pays our company directly.

Mark: So are your rates competitive?
Jason: Absolutely! In fact all of our rates are within the industry standards and we strive to stay within those standards on everything that we do. The industry itself regulates cost, especially emergency costs by setting out how much a dehumidifier should cost, how much your labour rates should be, and therefore every company that’s working within those same parameters per cost during the emergency. Because the emergency is just that, an emergency; insurance companies are generally not looking for you to provide an estimate prior to starting the necessary work.

It’s more a matter of get this looked after as quickly as possible to mitigate further damage therefore costing more. As such its regulated by the industry and, if something that we’re charging you is not in line, an insurance adjuster would be quick to point that out and we would have to revise our invoice in order to get paid.

Now once we get to the second half of the job things change. What we just talked about, the emergency part, getting through that initial cleaning, tear out, drying etc. is one thing. Once the house is considered to be safe – it is clean, it is dry, nobody is going to get sick because there’s sewage sitting on the floor or mold is not going to develop because the walls are left wet – at that point the insurance company says that it’s time to stop  and provide an estimate for what we call final repairs. Replacing the flooring, the drywall, the painting etc. etc. Whatever needs to be done to restore things back to a preloss condition. It needs to be estimated and the insurance company does their due diligence in usually considering two, sometimes three quotes on this portion of the job and then awards the job to the lowest bid.

Mark: So, will there be any hidden costs?
Jason: Never any hidden costs! Again it gets back to this; with the emergency especially being regulated by the industry and our costs within industry standards there’s no wiggle room. If there’s ever an issue with it the adjuster comes back to us, we work this out with the adjuster. We never have to go to the homeowner for things that are covered by insurance.

Mark: This is a bit of an odd ball question, perhaps but if it’s an emergency, if it’s a plumbing caused a flood, say a pipe is broken or the outside drainage has failed, is that included in the emergency remediation?
Jason: A great question and the answer is no. The actual repair to correct whatever has caused the damage, the plumbing repair, is not covered by insurance. The damage that results because of the problem, as long as it’s an insurable loss as in the water has come from something that can be insured, the damages are covered. Plumbing repair not covered, damages caused, covered.
Mark: O.K., so do I pay you direct, then?
Jason: No as far as the restoration goes our customers are never out of pocket. so they do not pay us, again as long as this is an insurance claim. All of our billing goes directly to the insurance company and the insurance company will pay us directly. The only thing the homeowner or the customer will be paying is their portion of their deductible which is set out by the insurance company but made payable to the contractor doing the work, so that would be us in this case.
Mark: Awesome. Thanks a lot Jason. We’ve been talking with Jason Knox at bcpreferredrestoration.ca. You can give them a call 604-295-8646 and they’ll look after you. They’re honest guys who do a great job and they’ll get it done right, the first time. Thanks a lot Jason.
Jason: Thanks Mark.

After a Flood … What Happens to All of My Personal Belongings?

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House model plastic submerged under water

Hangout with Jason Knox
– is all of my furniture destroyed?
– who handles the packing and moving of my contents?
– what if I want to get at some of my things during the project?
– are these costs covered by insurance?
– I have a tenant – are their contents covered by insurance?

Mark: Hi, Mark Bossert, Top Local Lead Generation. Were here with Jason Knox from BC Preferred Restoration and we’re going to be talking about “After a Flood … What Happens to all of my Personal Belongings?” How are you doing today Jason?
Jason: I’m doing pretty good thanks, Mark, how about you?
Mark: Good, good. So, I guess if there’s a flood in my basement and it gets up a bit high, is all my furniture destroyed?
Jason: Well, no, not necessarily. But a good portion of it that is sitting on the ground is going to have to be assessed and then dealt with properly. A lot of the furniture will probably have been damaged and made non restorable at that point. But we will assess each piece individually and some of the furniture if it’s – are plastic or metal, even some finished woods, depending on how it’s finished would be able to be saved through cleaning and drying, so yeah, it’s not necessarily a complete write off and you know, we’ll take every measure we can to ensure that we restore what we can, for sure. Those items that we can’t save, we call them non restorable contents, those items basically the insurance company will give you a replacement value for, so we will handle those contents, we will make a list of those items, we will document them with pictures, highlight the damages to these items because of the flood, and like I say the insurance company will then give you a replacement value for those items.
Mark: So, who handles the packing and moving of those items but also anything else I might have had that were in the flood zone?
Jason: Well, on most jobs, your average job or smaller size jobs, BC Preferred Restoration will handle all of your contents, including all the packing, safely packing them, securing them, moving them and storing them while the work’s going on. On larger losses, like if you are talking of an entire house of contents we may enlist the services of a moving company who will come in and help with the pack out and moving of all the contents. Everything, all contents moving charges and handling charges and storage charges when working with us will be covered by the insurance company regardless of who does the actual handling of the contents.
Mark: So, I guess that brings up the next kind of obvious question. What if I want to get at some of my personal stuff while you’re still restoring the basement?
Jason: Yes, it’s a good question, it comes up quite often. You never plan for these things and in the heat of the moment you might pack something away that, you know, a couple days later you need. So, we have a couple different options. We can either pack up your stuff and have it removed to a storage facility where you will have access during business hours, and you can always get your stuff during business hours or another option is to have a safe, a secure, water tight storage container put on your property, or in front of your property, maybe on the street where we can load your things into. Give you a key to it, make sure like I say, it’s locked up, it’s safe, it’s secure and at that point you can get at your stuff any time you need to.
Mark: So, I guess the other big question is, are all these costs covered by insurance?
Jason: Yeah, again if you’re working with BC Preferred Restoration and we’re handling the contents, everything that we do will be covered by your insurance company if this is an insurance claim, like I say if we have to enlist the services of subcontractor, a moving company to do this work, same, their costs go through us and to the insurance company. So yes, short answer is yes, it is covered.
Mark: So if I have a tenant, I have a legal suite in the basement or maybe even not a legal suite, is the tenants contents covered by insurance?
Jason: Yes, it’s a great question and the answer is no. No the tenants contents are not covered by the homeowner’s policy so, this could be in a rental suite or a basement suite within your house or it could be a rental property that you have an apartment or a rental house, their contents are not covered and that pertains to anything to do with their contents including manipulation, storage, replacement of damaged items so the best measure to protect your tenants is to encourage them to purchase their own policy, their renters insurance and this will cover all of their belongings while they’re living in your house.
Mark: Awesome. Short and sweet this week but we’re down to the good stuff, I think. Thanks a lot Jason.
Jason: Thank you Mark.
Mark: Right, so we’ve been talking with Jason Knox at BC Preferred Restoration. You can reach them at 604-295-8646. Take care.

What is a Sewer Backup?

What is a "Sewer Backup" and Who is Responsible?

Sewer backups not only cause damage that is problematic and expensive to repair, but also create health hazards.

Floods are what come to mind for causing extensive water damage to homes and businesses. However, perhaps more serious is Sewage from sanitary sewer lines backing up into homes through your drain pipes.

Most homeowner and business insurance policies do not cover sewer backup unless specific sewer backup coverage is added to the policy. Obtaining a rider on a homeowners or business insurance policy will cover such damage if it occurs.

Sewer backup coverage is available from your insurer and it is affordable, perhaps $40-$50 additional on an annual insurance policy.

The pipes that carry your home's sanitary sewage to the city sewer piping – typically under the road – are called sewer laterals. The sewer lateral is owned and maintained by the property owner and include any part that may extend into the street or public right of way.

Most home and business owners don't know that they are responsible for the maintenance and repair of their house sewer and the sewer lateral.

A cracked or deteriorated lateral or one filled with tree roots can allow groundwater to seep into the system, contributing to sewer backup problems. There are other issues with cracked pipes like soil supersaturation which can possibly contribute to foundation issues in your home.

This includes the pipeline between the city sanitary sewer main which is usually located under the street, and your building.

Sewer Inspection

BC Preferred Sewer Camera Inspection

Video camera in-line inspection shows problems and your sewer pipe condition. Camera Inspections are an excellent way to detect obstructions including roots, sludge buildup, broken pipe, tile or connections, negative grade slope, pipe sag, offset joints, and cracks.