IICRCS 500 water damage restoration standard and reference guide describes the task of water damage restoration through the following five principles.
Water Mitigation Principle 1
“Provide For The Health and Safety Of Workers And Occupants”
Water damage restoration is a dirty job, flooded with hazards. In a previous article I described how and why a water damage mitigation contractor differs from other non-emergency contractors. Electrocution, mold inhalation, asbestos inhalation, natural pathogens and disease are inherent to each and every water damage restoration project. So often customers are in such a panic and technicians are in such a hurry to begin that we forget about safety. However, first responsibility when arriving at water damage site is to identify and eliminate any observable safety hazards. As a responsible professional, the restoration contractor has a duty to protect the health and safety of workers and occupants during restoration procedures.
Water Damage Mitigation Principle 2
“Documentation And Inspect The Project”
Once on-site, a water damage restoration professional must assess the extent of water damage and map the moisture migration pattern. They must also be prepared to measure the amount of moisture absorbed by effected materials in order to properly scope the mitigation project. Several specialized tools such as thermal hydrometers, infrared scanners, moisture meters, and hydro-sensors will be used to gather relevant moisture content readings.
Moisture readings will be taken in both effected and non-effected areas for comparative analysis. Each room is checked and monitored individually because a water damage restoration contractor must be able to verify their decided course of action is direct and efficient. Due to the number of variables present that affect the drying of materials progress cannot be assumed frequent inspection and monitoring is therefore essential.
Drying a home or office effected by a flood or water damage is known as “restorative drying” and is a dynamic process. Each water mitigation project comes with a unique set of “moving variables” which constantly effect a mitigation contractors’ intended result.
Ultimately the goal of water mitigation is returning the structure to a clean, dry and safe living environment. The nature of these variables are changes from one mitigation to the next which compels the restorer to conduct multiple inspections of the work zone throughout the mitigation drying process, these include:
Initial inspection to identify items that were affected and to set dry goals.
Ongoing inspections to assure that expected progress is being made.
Final inspection to ensure that materials have dried to the predetermined goals.
Masters Of Mitigation
Water Damage Mitigation Principle 3
Mitigate Further Damage
Dry goals made are based upon critical information the water mitigation professional obtains during their initial assessment. The inspection not only checks the extent of moisture intrusion but also considers the potential for additional damages.
In order to dry the affected areas in the most effective and efficient way a restorer must focus on water removal and extraction. Any forms of water intrusion must be stopped, and any further moisture intrusion mitigated in order for the restorative drying effort to be successful. The goal of water damage mitigation is to return the structure and contents to an acceptable condition. A project manager will also determine whether any building materials or contents in secondary areas have the potential to suffer secondary damages.
Control The Spread Of Contaminants
One serious form of secondary damage is mold growth. Mold can cause structural components to lose their integrity and has great potential to impact indoor air quality in a negative way. Such conditions may ultimately result in compromised occupant health. In addition to mapping out moisture patterns, the water damage restoration professional will attempt to identify any health concerns, including pre-existing conditions of mold. Professional care is taken to contain contaminants and not spread them to unaffected areas of the home or office.
Water Mitigation Principle 4
Clean And Dry Effected Areas
The cleaning procedures are used during a water mitigation project vary depending on the effected material, its salvageability and value to the customer. Salvageable but contaminated materials have their own special protocols and usually require some type of cleaning both before and after the drying process. For example, effected items may be “pre-cleaned” before the drying process, while the restorative cleaning process takes place after. Sometimes a different division of a water damage restoration company is able to provide contents restoration while the water damage mitigation process is underway. Also, keep in mind contents cleaning is it own specially service and is invoiced to your insurance company separately.
Water damage restoration contractors manipulate and control as many factors as possible in their drying systems to achieve the most efficient drying conditions. After as much water as possible has been extracted, evaporation of the remaining moisture is now possible in the following ways:
Increasing air flow across wet surfaces.
Controlling temperature of air and surfaces.
Using outside air when possible.
Creating a drying chamber.
Decreasing humidity in the affected area.
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Evaporated moisture must be removed from the affected areas by dehumidification or ventilation. Additionally, a knowledgeable restoration contractors recognize that each loss site is different, and they adjust methods based on each situation including:
Adjusting or removing equipment when necessary.
Removing items that should not be dried.
Saving items that cannot be dried in place.
Using specialized tools to drive difficult areas.