Remediation teams are often challenged by clients and insurance companies about why they adhere to certain protocols and utilize the types of techniques that they do.
What most don’t realize, however, is that many of these plans and techniques are put in place to increase efficiency and to the promote safety of everyone involved.
Without set standards in the remediation industry, the chances of risk, injury and health hazards increase. Because of this, it is the responsibility of the restorative expert to adhere to guidelines related to best practices in regards to water remediation whenever possible.
When it comes to water remediation, cutting corners isn’t an option. Sometimes building occupants and insurance companies will argue strategies that are being implemented by remediation experts that were instilled for safety. While one may not understand why a remediation expert does everything he or she does, it is important that to respect and seek to understand why the remediation team is doing what they are doing, rather than jumping to conclusions about the team or team members on the job.
Education, Training and Experience
When looking into which remediation company to hire, it is important to scout a team whose reputation is clean. Generally speaking, you’ll want to look for remediation specialists who have the education, training and experience to not only get the job done, but to do the job right.
This isn’t to say that you won’t have a few inexperienced workers on the job, or those who may be new to the field. But workers should be well-versed in the latest water remediation protocols and should work in accordance with those standards to ensure effective quality care.
Authorizations and Contracts
In order to ensure a job well-done, remediation specialists will require a signature on authorization forms before work can ensue. These forms give permission for teams to work on the affected building. Without the signature of the property owner on these documents, work on the affected structure cannot begin.
Restoration crews will likely take plenty of pictures and will document often. This is to reduce liability and to serve as proof of damages incurred. They will also serve as proof for why certain strategies were used.
Categories of Loss
When water loss events occur, they will be handled differently depending on the category of water loss they are classified as.
Categories of loss are determined by restorers on the basis of several factors. One of those factors is the contamination level. Out of the three categories of loss, a Category 1 water loss is the one that is least serious.
There is a low likelihood of any contaminants being in this water and it is typically clear. This type of water loss requires the least amount of specific protocol followed when compared to the other two categories.
It should be noted, however, that Category 1 water losses can change, depending on the environment. Though the water may look clear and clean, the environment, the amount of time the water sat and the source of the water all play a role in how “dirty” or toxic the water actually is. It is for this reason that you should always refer to the advice of the remediation specialist when it comes to contact and proper treatment of a water-impacted space.
Other categorical water losses include those that contain toxins and contaminants. These situations require personal protective gear for reasons of safety and contact with it, especially without the appropriate safety gear, isn’t advised. Never consume or utilize water that has been classified as a category 2 or 3. Wastewater and floodwaters are always denoted as Category 3 water losses. And, as previously mentioned, you should ever assume that water isn’t category 2 or 3 based on looks, alone.
Classes of Water Loss
Another consideration of remediation teams when it comes to water events is the class of water loss. Class of water loss refers to the percentage of materials affected by water, combined.
For a Class 1 water loss, wet, porous surfaces must make up no more than 5% of the combined floor, wall and ceiling space.
For Class 2, wet, porous surfaces make up between 5%-40% of the combined wall, floor and ceiling space affected.
Class 3 water losses contain 40% or more wet, porous materials affected of the wall, floor and ceiling areas combined, and will require the most equipment out of the three to mitigate the amount of water absorbed and the evaporation load within the affected structure.
Class 4 is deeply bound water that will likely take extended time to dry, along with more creative efforts to achieve drying goals.
Humidity will be controlled during these processes using machinery to ensure that secondary damages are not incurred, such as unwanted mold and mildew. Moreover, conditions outside, HVAC systems and the overall construction of the affected building will all play a major role in how the impacted home or business will be tackled by remediation teams, and what types of equipment and techniques will be used.
The Overarching Goal
Ultimately, the goal of restorers will be to reach a drying standard as determined by the guidelines set within the remedial industry. Restorers will use these drying goals to determine whether or not a structure has been dried effectively after specific measures have been taken.
Commonly Asked Questions
Though many may desire to trust their remediation technician’s decisions regarding water loss events, there may be times when genuine questions may be posed as to why certain methods or equipment are being used.
As a client, you should never be afraid to ask questions, especially when doing so in a respectful way.
The following are a few of the most commonly asked questions regarding water restoration that may prepare you for what to expect the next time you are seeking a trustworthy remediation team to rehabilitate your home or business:
1. HEPA Use
HEPA filters and other filtering equipment might seem to be odd choices when it comes to water loss events. In actuality, though, it can make sense, especially if those that occupy the building have allergies. Because HEPA filters trap extremely small particles and contaminants that infiltrate the air, they are a wise choice for trapping potentially toxic moist air in a Category 2 or 3 incident. They can also be used for a variety of other situations, including water events involving chemically-sensitive clients, at the discretion of the restorer.
2. Antimicrobial Treatments
Many fear that a water event of any sort that occurs in their home or business will automatically lead to mold growth, fungi and a whole host of health issues.
While this certainly can be true, the reality is that most antimicrobial treatments are not applied for any water situation regarded as a Category 1.
Having said that, many customers, regardless of being advised that antimicrobial treatments are not necessary for Category 1 events, may insist that they be applied anyway. If this is you, bear in mind that the cost of an antimicrobial treatment that was not necessary will most likely be an out-of-pocket expense that will not be covered by your insurance. Nevertheless, if you still want an antimicrobial treatment applied, your restorer will apply it for you, provided that you are paying the out-of-pocket expense.
After the antimicrobial treatment has been applied, you may expect your remediator to return and clean the residual product off of the surface of whatever was treated. Doing so ensures your health and safety, along with the safety of other occupants or pets within the home, business or structure.
3. Humidity Control
As previously mentioned, humidity can cause problems that are secondary in nature if not controlled once restorers arrive on the scene.
Generally speaking, a restorer will aim for 60% relative humidity at the beginning of the restoration process, and 40% once 24 hours of professional drying has passed. This goes for the entire structure, and not only for the affected areas.
4. Contaminated Water in an HVAC System
When contaminated water from a Category 2 or 3 water loss enters the HVAC system, it can pose significant problems within the structure. In these cases, the restorer or a specialized HVAC contractor will disassemble and clean the HVAC system to remove it from contaminants. This ensures that bacteria and contaminants are not distributed throughout homes and businesses through the HVAC system.
During the drying and restoration process of water events, daily monitoring is key to conserving costs and resources for all parties involved.
By monitoring the effectiveness of equipment and switching out equipment when necessary as informed by changing conditions, restoration teams ensure that homes and businesses get the effectual dry they need using only the resources, techniques and machinery that are necessary to get the job done.
Monitoring also works to stunt secondary damages, as drying goals are achieved quicker.
For these reasons, it is imperative that you allow your restorer access to your home, building or affected facility to satisfy these daily monitoring needs.
Specific Guidelines With Safety and Conservation in Mind
All in all, the guidelines followed by water remediation teams are aimed at keeping rehabilitation attempts safe and efficient for all parties involved. By allowing remediation experts to adhere to best practices as detailed above, you can ensure that your property is dried and restored in the most secure, effective and professional way possible.