Commercial Mold Loss
Disaster Kleenup (DK) was called by a property manager who had gone to check on one of their rural ranch properties. While inspecting the property, the manager noticed standing water throughout the home with a visible mold- like substance on all walls and contents throughout the home. The structure had been wet for an unknown amount of time as the property manager had not visited the home for at least two months. The property manager proceeded to call DK as well as his insurance carrier. DK responded to the request for the property manager and was on site within one hour. Disaster Kleenup began with an in-depth inspection as to the cause of the loss and to determine the extent of damage. The property manager authorized us to perform emergency services to include moving contents to a detached, onsite, storage building, water extraction and the installation of dehumidification equipment until the insurance carrier confirmed coverage in order to prevent any further damage to the property.
The property is a ranch style home. It is single story with a crawlspace, stick frame, vinyl siding, insulated exterior walls, residential construction. The home is typically only occupied for a few months out of the year. The property had not been inspected by the owners or property manager for at least a few months prior to the loss. The property had been heated throughout its vacancy. The few months prior to the discovery of the loss had been abnormally cold for the region resulting in hundreds of frozen water lines throughout the area.
Upon arrival, the property manager cut the water supply to the home. After a brief walk- through, he discovered the water softener had cracked and appeared to be the source of water as there was a hole in the drywall nearby that pressurized water had been hitting for an unknown amount of time.
After further investigation by the restoration contractor, it was confirmed that the water softener had frozen, cracked and flooded the property due to the unusually cold temperatures and the proximity of the water softener to the exterior wall in the garage closet.
The home was kept at approximately 68 degrees to keep water lines from freezing during the winter months. The combination of the temperature and the amount of water in the home allowed mold to develop in abundance throughout the home.
An indoor air quality professional was brought in to write a protocol to be followed by the restoration contractor as well as to perform clearance testing.
Disaster Kleenup inspected the property in its entirety to determine the areas of the structure affected by water and mold. Each room of the structure was inspected with the use of both penetrating and non-penetrating moisture meters. Thermo-hygrometers, infrared thermometers and boroscopes were also utilized to determine the extent of damage to the structure. After the inspection, it was determined that one hundred percent of the structure was affected, including the crawl space below the main level. DK then developed a mitigation and remediation strategy based upon these findings. The findings include; visible mold growth on porous building materials, visible mold on framing members, saturated insulation, saturated framing members, water and mold damaged cabinetry and trim work, water and mold damaged heating and cooling systems and severe water damage to flooring materials. The recommendations based on these findings were communicated to the property manager as well as the adjuster assigned to the claim. The proposed strategy is reflected in the scope of mitigation, remediation and repairs.
Scope of Repairs
During the first week of the loss the insurance carrier was determining coverage based on the policy. DK was allowed by the owner to complete emergency water extraction and install dehumidifiers and negative air machines with HEPA filtration. The number of dehumidifiers used was determined by the IICRC S500 dehumidifier sizing guide. The dehumidifiers were used to stabilize the humidity levels in the structure until full mitigation was authorized.
The insurance carrier confirmed coverage of the loss and a third party adjuster was hired by the carrier to adjust the claim. After co-scoping the project with the adjuster, it was determined due to the extent and severity of water damage to the structure, affected building materials would be removed and disposed. The affected building materials include flooring, cabinetry, finish carpentry, drywall, HVAC system, insulation and appliances. Wall coverings and flooring were also removed in order to address mold growth on the framing and sub flooring.
Following the removal of damaged building materials, exposing the framing and sub floor, dehumidifiers were reset to aid in drying the affected framing. A third party indoor air quality professional was brought in to write a protocol for mold removal. The indoor air quality professional recommended the framing be dried with the use of heaters and dehumidifiers under negative air controls prior to mold removal. The structure was confirmed dry by the use of a General Electric Protimeter Surveymaster. A dry standard was obtained from unaffected framing in the structure. Moisture readings were taken and recorded on a regular basis throughout the drying process. The mold remediation process then began; this included abrasive removal from affected framing, HEPA vacuuming, and treatment of the framing with an anti-microbial sealant as called for in the remediation protocol. The third party indoor air quality professional visited the property on multiple occasions to insure the protocol was being followed as well as to test for verification that mold level had been reduced to an acceptable level.
After successful verification the mold remediation was successful, repairs to the structure began. Upgrades to the electrical system and insulation were made to meet modern building codes. Mechanical and plumbing systems were replaced or repaired. The drywall was replaced and painted. The cabinetry, countertops, trim work, flooring and doors were then replaced.
Specifications and Price Basis
Xactimate with a Boise Idaho price list was the agreed upon price basis for the majority of the restoration project. The adjuster requested the estimate to be separated into three estimates: mitigation, mold remediation and repairs. At the request of the adjuster, water extraction, removal of water damaged materials from the floor to four feet up the wall and the drying equipment would be placed in the mitigation estimate. Demolition of the remainder of the structure, HEPA vacuuming, abrasive removal, negative air controls and use of anti-microbial solutions were placed in the mold remediation estimate. All replacements of structural material and systems were placed in the repair estimate. A subcontractors invoice was used for replacement of a geothermal furnace. Three estimates were obtained by qualified HVAC contractors, none of which fell within the Xactimate price guide line.
Taking into account the complexity of this project due to the following reasons; severity of loss, percentage of structure affected, rural location and the number of trades involved, the scope of the mitigation, remediation, repairs and associated estimates were appropriate for this project. The structure was dried to the dry standard, third party verification of the mold remediation was obtained and the structure was returned to pre-loss condition.