Documentation is an integral part of the drying and remediation process. Not only does it protect remediation experts in the midst of performing their jobs, but it also gives you, the client, a clear view of the remediation project from start to finish, including what was achieved and how.
Because documentation is, in essence, proof of a job well done, it is safe to say then, that documentation is an important aspect of the rehabilitation process and should begin the moment restorers arrive on the scene.
Whether in the form of pictures, video, contracts or anecdotal notes, clear and concise documentation is key when it comes to restoring a structure to its pre-water loss condition.
The Purpose of Documentation
There are three overall purposes for documentation in the field of drying and restoration.
The first is to report the initial condition of the affected structure and the contents therein, including items that are, and aren’t, wet.
Because attempts at drying objects, items and structural components that have sat waterlogged for extended periods may prove irreparable over time, expedient rehabilitation of a water-affected structure is imperative for a successful dry.
While it may not seem important that remediation experts document every item that has obviously been impacted by moisture, nothing could be further from the truth.
In the end, the goal is to be able to document where the restoration project started and what goals were able to be achieved throughout the course of remediation. To do that, it is imperative that restorers document what the condition of the structure was, as well as the condition of the contents and materials within the structure, upon arrival and prior to any attempts at rehabilitation.
Neglecting this step could prove detrimental, as no proof can be obtained as to whether or not the strategies and techniques used to dry out the structures and its contents were actually successful, or even necessary.
In addition to reporting initial conditions, documentation is important for tracking how much progress was made towards the completion of the project. Although professional remedial care is crucial in the face of a water event, the reality is that a water-impacted structure would, eventually, dry out on its own with time. The task for the restorer, then, is to increase the rate at which the drying process happens, as well as to attempt to control any controllable variables, such as mold overgrowth and microbial habitation, as much as is humanly possible.
Lastly, documentation during restoration projects validates drying procedures at the end, once drying goals, as set by the remediation team, are met.
Monitoring vs. Inspecting
When it comes to water restoration, both monitoring and inspection are vital to the field.
Having said that, however, these two terms are often used interchangeably, when, in actuality, they mean two completely different things. Inspection, which comes before monitoring, can be described as the act of collecting information with intense scrutiny and analysis. Monitoring, on the other hand, is examining a situation or happening over an extended period of time, by tracking progress or quality.
Inspection is necessary because, as previously mentioned, it is necessary to provide documentation of what the original pre-existing conditions were like before the remediation process. Without this documentation, restorers become fully liable for damages, including those that weren’t their fault, which eventually may tarnish their reputation and credibility.
During the inspection process, remediators will check what is and isn’t wet and will take note of the “edge of migration” using specific tools and instruments. The “edge of migration” is a term used to describe the approximate distances by which the water in the affected building has traveled and, potentially, has caused damage.
The assumption is that, beyond that point, structures and items are not affected by water, at least not from the water event in question. This is determined, not by chance, but by using instruments and tools equipped to detect moisture in structural components such as walls, floors, cabinetry and more. By detecting the edge of migration, restorers can focus their efforts on the areas of the home, building or establishment that have been heavily impacted by water, and can also use dry areas to formulate drying goals if they see fit.
In addition to scoping for the edge of migration, remediators also will need to take into account the building components of the affected structure, including what the building is made out of and what types of layers it is composed of. Answering these questions will inform restorers of what they need to do in terms of rehabilitation and will also give them an idea of how long it may take for building components to dry.
Though the inspection process sounds long, tedious and drawn out, the truth is that taking the time to complete the task the right way will make the rest of the restoration project more efficient. By knowing exactly what was affected, how much it was affected and what it’s going to take to meet drying goals, restorers can pick the most efficient means of restoration that will save on costs, resources, time, energy and efforts for everyone involved.
Monitoring is critical for the progress of the project. It justifies the usage of certain equipment, identifies problems and validates efficacy.
The monitoring process will take place on a daily basis, and will need to happen in specific locations. The type of meter being used will be documented, and those same instruments will likely be used to monitor the same location, daily. Even if the same instruments are not used daily, restorative technicians will ensure that the settings of the device, locations, and documentation methods are all consistent from day to day. This helps to ensure that monitoring results are not being compromised.
The final inspection, unlike the monitoring process, will happen in many areas of the affected structure to ensure that all areas have, indeed, been properly dried. A proper and highly detailed inspection at the end of the remedial process allows for lesser monitoring locations, thus increasing the efficiency of the process as a whole.
To further assist in making certain that the affected structure has been restored to pre-loss conditions, restorers will cross-reference the dry standards, may use ERH evaluations when applicable and will obtain a certificate of completion and satisfaction from clients once finished
Documentation Defines Success
All in all, without proper documentation, the steps necessary for an effectual remedial attempt may be blurry and undefined. Documentation provides, not only a safety net for remedial staff in terms of liability, but also maps out a clear and concise action plan that can later be referenced by both the client and the restorer, alike.