Why is my work on hold?
At Allied Restoration, we are obsessed with providing you with an incredible experience that you will feel comfortable raving about to your friends and family. We know that one of the biggest roadblocks we face to make sure you have a great experience is how we explain and set expectations for delays due to the claims process.
We have found that jobs are forced to be paused for 4 possible reasons and wanted to present those reasons as an article for our customers. To skip to a specific section, you are welcome to click on any of these 4 reasons:
- Transition from “Mitigation” (drying, board up, mold remediation, etc.) to “Reconstruction”
- Supplements Required
- Plans, Permits and other City, County and Regulatory Delays
- Material Selection / Availability
Transition from Mitigation to Reconstruction
When a customer calls us to dry out their home as part of an insurance claim, we can often move forward with the work without obtaining approval for each and every line item that is required to be performed. In fact, your insurance policy likely has a provision inside it stating that you need to do everything within your power to mitigate your claim. Mitigating your claim is insurance language which essentially means to keep it from getting worse (or in other words costing more money to repair).
In the case of water damage, that typically means drying before the damage spreads or turns into mold. We follow the published standards that have been written by experts and scientists for our industry which dictates exactly how water damage should be treated including the following questions:
- What should be removed versus dried in place?
- How much and what kinds of equipment should be utilized to dry the property out?
- Is Air Filtration required? (this is typical for mold losses or other large demolition projects where the homeowner or commercial tenant is still in the space)
- Is any type of Certified Experts required to opine on the required scope?
All major insurance companies accept these same standards as the most credible expert source. Additionally, we utilize the same software and standard published price lists available through the Industry standard software suite (it is named “Xactimate”, which is a term you’re likely to hear at some point in your claim).
Because we all agree on the work required based on the evidence and the pricing required for that work, we can safely move forward with this work without first preparing an estimate or asking for permission every step of the way.
However, once mitigation is over…
When we move into the reconstruction phase of the claim, since the claim can no longer “get worse” if delays occur, the insurance company will require us to go onsite and prepare an estimate. Reconstruction, unlike mitigation and demolition presents wildly different material pricing (there are hundreds of different price levels for every kind of cabinet, flooring, etc). There are also questions on whether or not finishes that are left behind can be matched with existing building materials. For example, if lower cabinets in a kitchen have to be removed during a flood, can the upper cabinets left behind be stained to match the new lower cabinets? Or can the lower cabinets be made to look like the pre-existing uppers? These are the types of questions that have to be decided before work can begin.
Our commitment to you regarding your Estimate
We will have your estimate submitted to the insurance company within 72 hours of inspecting your property unless specialized bids or plans are needed. After we have submitted it, we will let you know so that you can also follow up with your adjuster. You do not have to help us follow up on approvals, but Homeowners that follow up with an adjuster typically see their estimates approved much faster so construction can start faster in turn.
Supplemental estimates are oftentimes required during an insurance reconstruction job. Some of the most common situations are the following:
- Additional damage is found during construction inside of a wall or in some other hidden area.
- Materials cost more than the estimating software allows for (many of these are caught during the estimating phase but due to variable material pricing, this often comes up on high end or custom projects).
- Secondary damage occurs during construction (i.e. a granite countertop cracks during removal).
Supplements require an approval process similar to the initial estimate. Oftentimes, a job must be paused during a supplemental approval until the insurance company confirms that the work will be paid for under the policy. We can bypass this approval delay if a client is willing to promise to pay if the insurance company does not. We do not recommend this but if time is of the essence, it can be considered.
Just as with the initial estimate process, we will notify you once the supplement has been submitted to your insurance company. Homeowners that follow up on supplement approval can count on faster approvals and therefore a quicker construction project. Just as any other part of the Allied Restoration Customer Experience, we promise to keep you updated throughout the supplement approval process.
Plans, Permits and other City, County and Regulatory Delays
When required by law, Allied Restoration must have plans drawn up and obtain city or county issued permits to complete your construction process. There are a few items we can control in this process and many that we cannot.
What we cannot control:
- How fast the city approves plans or permits.
- If the city or county will require certain changes to be made to the plans (this will happen regularly).
- The speed of your engineer/architect or the engineer/architect assigned by your insurance company.
What we can control:
- How fast items are submitted to the city once ready or prepared by the architect or engineer.
- How fast permits are attempted to be pulled.
- How often we follow up on approvals from your engineer/architect.
We will do our best to move through this stage quickly. While we understand that cities, counties and other regulatory entities provide many vital services for our community at large, we understand that they are responsible for many delays in our project. Please know that both you as the homeowner and we as the contractor would prefer not to have to be delayed but oftentimes, it is out of our control.
Material Selection / Availability
The last delay that we frequently experience is delays due to Material Selection or Availability. Unlike most remodels, disaster restoration projects are unplanned and oftentimes occur at the most inconvenient of times for homeowners. In a normal remodel project, the contractor can order items like wood flooring and cabinetry before even starting the project. In a flood or fire, it is too late: the damage has happened and already been mitigated and before we can even order cabinets and flooring, we have to come to an agreement with the insurance company and get a signed contract from you before starting.
We do a lot of work in high end properties in Southern California which can require us to secure products from around the world. Whether your wood floor is coming from Florida or from a castle in Ireland, there may be delays in getting it here.
Our superintendents will keep you informed as to when your materials will arrive. We also will do our best to give you advance warning on when material selections need to be done to minimize delays on your project.
The Last Word on Delays
At Allied Restoration, we are obsessed with your experience and making sure that we do everything we can to be the silver lining on this whole ordeal. Please know that we understand that delays are both frustrating to you and costly to you and to us as your contractor. It is in our best interest to make sure your project is completed as fast as possible to both make you happy and for us to be able to do our jobs as well.
A small percentage of homeowners ever have a flood or fire large enough to ever need our services so we realize that you likely will never need us again. But we would love to count you among our many raving fans and know that you would be willing to tell a friend or neighbor what a great job we did for you.
Do you have questions about a delay on your project? We would love to hear from you by emailing [email protected] and telling us more about your delays or issues. We’re here for you!