We recently had a friend and family member experience a fire damage in their home; we were asked the above question on our Facebook page. Below is our response. Click the Facebook post to read more.
We sometimes call the restoration process ”forced remodeling" because it is that plus a lot more. Most people take months or even years to plan for a major renovation. All of the same steps (plus more) must be taken starting the days and weeks after the fire.
The "plus more" that I mention includes: Working with the insurance company, handling damaged personal property, smoke and water mitigation among other things.
After the initial emergency response the following steps are taken:
- Meet adjuster onsite to walk the property and agree on an (generalized, verbal) initial scope of repairs
- Pay for a pre permit inspection by appropriate entity (City, County) as required
- Schedule and meet City/County inspector on site to determine what will be needed to obtain a permit
- Prepare necessary items for permitting (plans, engineering, etc) and submit for review by City/County
- Trade partner inspections and proposals as needed
- Prepare line item estimate. On a larger fire damage these estimates can be 30-60 pages or more
- Submit initial estimate to insurance adjuster for review
- Come to agreement with insurance adjuster on said estimate (there is often a lot of back and forth here, clarifying things, etc)
At this point we have come to what we call an "initial agreed upon scope and cost of repairs" with the adjuster. At Country Restoration we feel getting to this point is one of the most important pieces to a successful restoration project. Unfortunately it takes some time and it feels like a waiting game for the insured while "nothing is going on", however we feel it is always in the best interest of all parties, especially the insured, to have a very clear scope and dollar figure before moving forward.
It is not uncommon on a larger loss for the above steps (especially the last 4) to take 4-6 weeks. While those steps are taking place in many cases simultaneously we can move forward with the following:
- Inventory and pack out personal property for restoration and cleaning off-site
- Demo as necessary inside of the home (if approved by City/County before permit is issued)
- Structure cleaning
- Sealing of structure for smoke odor
At this point we have an agreed upon scope and cost of repairs to return to pre-loss condition with the insurance company and are close to ready to move forward with repairs. In some cases at this point we are still waiting for the permit.
Now we can discuss any changes the customer wants to make. We can't talk with any clarity before this point because it is unknown what the insurance company is paying. Changes are discussed, priced if needed and agreed upon.
Now we also have material selection budgets in place and can move forward with customer selections (cabinetry, flooring, plumbing and lighting, etc).
Now we can schedule repairs. Repair schedules are very project dependent but are often 3-5 months. Schedules are often weather dependent if roofing, roof framing or exterior envelope work needs to be done.
Hopefully this serves as an adequate primer. This may be something we need to add to our website, so we appreciate the question!