Professional Water Damage Restoration

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.

IICRC Standards

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 Standards

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.

Restoration Restrictions:

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.

Restoration Capabilities:

Water Restoration:

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.

Some exam­ples:

  • 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.

Restoration Education:

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.