The Critical Need for Professional Water Damage Restoration
When flooding or water leaks cause damage to your home or business, having contaminated areas professionally restored is crucial to protect health and prevent further harm. General contractors lack the specialised training, equipment, and rapid response times of certified restoration technicians.
Mould, bacteria, chemicals — the hidden dangers in floodwater
Floodwaters contain hidden toxins that require proper remediation. Category 1 clean water from broken pipes is low risk. But Category 2 greywater and Category 3 blackwater harbour dangerous contaminants:
- Bacteria and viruses that cause respiratory, gastrointestinal and other illnesses
- Mould spores that release mycotoxins leading to allergic reactions and respiratory distress
- Chemical toxins from sewage, agricultural runoff or industrial waste
Restoration technicians follow established industry standards like IICRC S500 to identify contamination levels. This determines the remediation methods needed to neutralise risks and properly restore the property.
Emergency Response: Restoration Technicians Have the Training
With training in microbial remediation and structural drying, restoration technicians are equipped to rapidly mitigate damage and health threats:
- Available 24/7 to immediately respond and prevent further exposure
- Properly trained in safe handling of hazardous floodwaters
- Certified in proven IICRC methods for contaminant removal and drying
- Specialised equipment for water extraction, industrial drying and deodorising
- Skilled at containing affected areas to prevent cross-contamination
General contractors lack credentials and equipment needed for effective emergency water removal and drying.
Benefits of Professional Restoration
Attempting contaminated water remediation as a DIY project can risk health and safety. Professional companies have commercial drying equipment, disinfectants, and proper protocols homeowners lack. Technicians are fully trained on safe hazardous materials handling that follows EPA and IICRC standards. They also manage coordination with any required contractors during reconstruction.
Protecting Health After Contaminated Flooding
Flood water containing unsanitary bacteria, chemicals, and debris requires certified professional remediation. Restoration companies have the equipment and protocols needed to fully identify contamination risks, mitigate hazards through contained removal, structural disinfection, drying, and reconstruction. This restores home and business health after hazardous water damage occurs.
The Restoration Process: Structured Mitigation from Start to Finish
Professional restoration follows a structured process to fully remediate contamination dangers and restore structural integrity:
Initial Inspection and Risk Assessment
- Identify water source and contamination levels
- Inspect for visible mould growth or chemical residues
- Consider nearby contaminant sources
Contained Removal of Water
- Install barriers and extract standing water
- Remove and dispose of porous materials with safe handling protocols
- Disinfect non-porous structural surfaces
Structural Drying and Deodorising
- Use commercial dehumidifiers and air movers
- Conduct thermal imaging to find all hidden moisture
- Eliminate musty residual smells
Reconstruction and Remediation Verification
- Coordinate repairs with qualified contractors
- Verify drying and contaminant removal via testing
- Disinfect materials before reconstruction finishes
Contained Removal of Contaminated Water
Once risks are identified, restoration technicians begin by safely containing and removing contaminated water. They install temporary barriers to prevent cross-contamination into unaffected areas of the building. Powerful submersible pumps, wet vacs, and extraction equipment remove standing water. Proper PPE and disinfection techniques keep workers safe when handling unsanitary flood water and residues.
Removal and Disinfection of Porous Materials
Any porous surfaces touched by contaminated water need disposal. This includes drywall, insulation, carpets, fabrics, furnishings, and wood products that absorb microbes and pollution. Non-porous surfaces get thoroughly disinfected using chemicals approved by the EPA for sanitising bacteria and viruses. HVAC ductwork also gets professionally cleaned.
Structural Drying and Deodorising
After removal of moisture sources, commercial dehumidifiers and air movers dry all structural cavities. Thermal imaging scans check for hidden moisture that could lead to mould growth. Ozone machines, thermal fogging, and industrial deodorisers remove musty leftover flood smells. Air scrubbers filter particulates.
Reconstruction and Verified Remediation
Before reconstruction finishes, restoration technicians verify through moisture scans and microbial testing that all areas are fully dry and free of contaminants. They coordinate repairs with preferred contractors, monitoring the process until complete structural integrity is restored. All appliances and materials are properly disinfected before the property is handed back over.
Overview of IICRC standards and ANSI for a blog post on water damage restoration:
The IICRC and ANSI Standards for Water Damage Restoration
When it comes to properly handling water damage in homes and businesses, it’s important for restoration companies to follow established industry standards. Two of the most widely recognized standards come from the IICRC and ANSI.
The IICRC (Institute of Inspection, Cleaning and Restoration Certification) is a nonprofit group that develops comprehensive standards for the inspection, cleaning, and restoration industries. Several IICRC standards pertain to water damage restoration:
IICRC S500 — Standard and Reference Guide for Professional Water Damage Restoration: Provides a complete protocol for water damage assessment, mitigation, drying, cleaning, and restoration.
IICRC S520 — Standard for Professional Mold Remediation: Sets guidelines for effectively and safely remediating mold damaged caused by water intrusion.
IICRC S100 — Standard for Professional Cleaning of Textile Materials: Contains methods for properly cleaning or discarding water-damaged carpets, fabrics, clothing, and other textiles.
The IICRC standards represent consensus best practices from leading experts in the restoration industry. Technicians, inspectors, and firms can receive IICRC certifications by completing coursework and exams on these methods.
ANSI is the American National Standards Institute, which oversees the development of voluntary consensus standards for a wide range of industries. Two ANSI standards apply to water damage restoration:
ANSI/IICRC S500 — Water Damage Restoration: The ANSI version of the IICRC consensus standard. ANSI designates S500 as the national standard for properly restoring water-damaged structures and contents to pre-loss condition.
ANSI/IICRC S520 — Standard and Reference Guide for Professional Mold Remediation: The ANSI version of the IICRC mold remediation standard. Provides a detailed protocol for safely and effectively removing mold caused by moisture intrusion.
Having technicians certified in the latest IICRC and ANSI standards for water damage, mold remediation, and textile cleaning shows a restoration company’s commitment to proper handling of water losses. Certification indicates they stay current with the latest evidence-based methods.
The Restoration Role:
Restoration Services: 24/7 Emergency Assistance to Protect Your Property and Health
When disaster strikes, you need a reliable service to prevent further damage. Just like a plumber is called upon to fix a leak, “Restoration Services” is here to help. We offer round-the-clock assistance to safeguard your building materials, belongings, and well-being.
Initially, restoration services were primarily focused on removing water from flooded properties or after a burst pipe. Carpet cleaners were commonly used by insurance companies and builders to extract water and prevent additional harm.
In 1999, the industry took a big step forward by creating formal standards for the cleaning and restoration industry. Over the years, these standards have been revised multiple times as more scientific data became available.
When it comes to insurance claims, many people think they can get anything fixed or replaced. But restoration contractors often find themselves caught in the middle, trying to prevent further damage and ensure the claim is legitimate. Our initial call is to assess the cause of the incident and make sure it aligns with the claim. We look at multiple incidents and damages on their own merits. Payment for our services will be in separate contracts, which can sometimes be unclear.
Essential First Steps for Inspection
- When it comes to water restoration, it’s crucial to start with a thorough initial inspection. This step serves multiple purposes: identifying the source of the problem, assessing damage to the property and its contents, and ensuring the safety of those involved.
- Whether the incident is covered by an insurance claim or not, a detailed assessment is necessary. This includes evaluating potential contamination and airborne hazards and considering the medical needs of all occupants.
- Once the inspection is complete, a comprehensive scope of the incident is provided to the insurance carrier, along with an estimate of costs. This helps establish the available funds for restoration.
- To carry out the restoration process effectively, industry best practices are followed, and any additional works required for the specific claim are identified.
- If necessary, water is extracted and areas are cleared, ensuring proper demarcation lines. Once the remediation is done, a scope for future works is created, involving various professionals like builders, electricians, plumbers, and more.
With our expert approach, we guarantee a thorough and efficient water restoration process.
The first task of the Restoration Contractor is to determine the scope of work needed for future projects involving other trades. In many cases, an insurance assessor may not be assigned to handle the claims due to the high volume of claims for the insurance company. Therefore, it is often the responsibility of the restoration contractor to conduct a thorough investigation, develop a detailed plan, and provide remediation options.
Builders are typically scheduled several months in advance because they are not considered an “Emergency” service provider. They will work your project into their schedule accordingly. This also allows time for ordering materials necessary to complete the repairs. Consequently, the builders are waiting for suppliers to provide the necessary materials.
Builders are now recognizing the importance of including “Restoration” in their “Business Plan” and treating restoration projects with the same level of professionalism as their construction projects. Unlike other trades, restoration requires a significant amount of equipment, materials, and a dedicated staff who can provide emergency services. Insurance companies are attempting to eliminate “Restoration Contractors” in favor of using “Building Restoration Contractors” to save on administrative costs. However, it is important to understand that the building industry and restoration services have different approaches and come with significant costs. Over the past 5 years, we have witnessed a significant increase in the cost of claims due to various factors.
- Time blowouts: Using inadequate remediation methods to accommodate extra construction work, leading to delays in building contracts.
- Mould spread: Ineffective drying techniques leading to contamination spreading into unaffected areas.
- Lack of communication between the Restoration and Building departments resulting in longer gaps between trades.
- Improper use of restoration equipment leads to overloading properties and causing additional damage, requiring more extensive building repairs.
The restoration industry has evolved into a specialised field focused on producing measurable results rather than just quantity. With the emergence of Indoor Environmental Science (IES), the industry now addresses the impact of water, fire, mold, and other hazardous events on indoor environments in residential, commercial, and industrial settings. Unfortunately, insurance administrative staff who handle claims often overlook the importance of working with scientific research and following current standards. As a result, the responsibility of restoration is often entrusted to contractors with limited knowledge and experience.
Science, chemistry, and mathematics have become essential in Restoration Projects. However, attracting individuals to the “Cleaning and Restoration” industry is challenging since it is not a commonly pursued career pathway through designated schools, Tafe, or universities. To become a Master Certified Technician, training will typically require at least 3 years. It is common for restoration technicians to only last around 3–6 months in the industry. Rest assured, the experienced and qualified Restoration Technicians who have their own Restoration Company offer the greatest understanding of the industry.
Over the past 5 years, there has been a growing demand for specialised Remediation Training. CARSI, the Cleaning and Restoration Science Institute, is a company that specialises in offering training for various roles in the industry. They cater to restoration technicians, business owners, management teams, administrators, and marketers of small businesses. To enhance the effectiveness of their training programs, CARSI now offers Continual Education Credits (CECs) to provide practical, real-world training experiences.
The truth of the current Restoration Industry:
Some Building Restoration Companies have hired experienced technicians from smaller family-owned companies and put them in management positions. These managers may have only 1–1.5 years of experience and are now training new technicians. As Building Companies expand further into the Restoration field, it is likely that more highly qualified and experienced Restorers will prefer to avoid direct involvement with insurance carriers. This means consumers will have to find, qualify, and pay for restoration services upfront, and then seek reimbursement from their insurance. The cost of restoration carried out so far has been reduced due to the large number of claims the company receives. One advantage of this approach is that there are no advertising costs and limited payment risk.
The Way Forward:
The Restoration Industry Association (RIA) is dedicated to representing and promoting the Restoration Industry. We work to educate and inform government officials and insurance council members about the significance of remediation and its role in our society. While we have made progress, there is still work to be done to gain full recognition from these entities. It is important to remember that change takes time, especially when dealing with government and large corporations.
Welcome to the page that highlights the significance and expertise of Restoration Technicians. Their role is complex, with each job presenting unique challenges. From the scope of work to the client and carrier involved, no two jobs are the same. This document aims to dispel any misunderstandings and shed light on the high level of skill required to deliver measurable restoration services.