If everyone gets out of the house fire well, things have worked out just fine, regardless of how badly things went. Things can be fixed, construction can be repaired, and with the right insurance agent, even the cost of the repair can be largely covered. Fire is one of the most common home problems and there is no scape from it. Still, you have so much work in front of you. Here are a couple of tips to help you go about repairing damages after a house fire.
1. Contact the Insurance Company
The first thing you want to do is contact the insurance company. Your best shot is to get them there before you remove anything (to make the place look better) or wait long enough for them to accuse you of making things look worse. Ideally, even if you have to make some temporary fixes and solutions (to secure the spot), you want to make the place look better.
Make no mistake, while repairing fire damage takes a lot of effort, it’s primarily a money issue. As such, it’s essential that you figure out the best way to get as much as you can from the insurance company.
Now, a lot of people get lost in all the bureaucracy, which is why it might be a good idea to hire a restoration contractor as a guide. They are familiar with what it takes to get your insurance money and they might help you out. The same goes for your insurance agent. As always, the more you rely on specialists, the more secure your position becomes.
2. Assess the Damage
It’s quite difficult for you to assess the damage caused by the fire on your own. This is why you need a professional. Now, the state of your plumbing needs to be assessed by a plumber and it’s not safe to tamper with electricity without input from an electrician. However, your immediate concern is the construction of the place, which is why you need to consult a structural engineer.
The next thing you want to do is take a step-by-step approach to this issue. You want to examine the roof, the siding, the windows, the plumbing, the heating, the interior, and the walls. Ideally, you’ll do it in this particular order.
There are other utilities that you need to check, like your telephone, etc. Perhaps the most important thing you need to look out for is gas. A smell of propane or hissing coming from inside of the home is always a danger. No, it doesn’t have to catch fire immediately and, even though the place seems secure, you have no way of knowing if there are active embers still in the wreckage.
3. Ensure the Security of the Property
Safety on the property is a huge issue immediately after fire damage. You see, the big problem is that the building is not as secure as it may appear. A stuck door is not necessarily safe to break in, seeing as how it may carry the surrounding wall, as well. You want to be careful. Fire damage was bad on its own and the last thing you need is to get injured, as well.
Keep in mind that you want to disconnect all the appliances, and stay away from any signs of water, as well as dangling cables. It doesn’t take much for one to figure out exactly how dangerous this is in combination. In fact, staying away from any building with water around it is probably the safest thing to do.
Then, you need to ensure that no one enters the premises but you and the repairing/inspecting crew. You need to seal off the place, board the windows, etc. On the off chance that there is some debris or floor holes, you might want to make some temporary repairs, as well. Just to stay safe.
4. Start With the Structural Repairs
It’s absurd to start working on any other aspect of repair and restoration without first tending to the structural repairs. Without them, you risk an injury or a collapse that will lead to even more property damage. For instance, what’s the point of fixing the floor if it will collapse into the basement the moment you’re done?
You need to start with the basement, second floor, and attic floor joists. Then, you need to proceed with interior load-bearing walls. Now, if there’s damage on the exterior walls, as well, this should be one of your highest priorities. Other than just covering the signs of fire damage, you also might want to consider house rendering, in order to make the place more resistant to future fire damage, as well.
The restoration contractor (that we’ve previously visited) may be quite useful in helping you get in touch with licensed carpenters, plumbers, and electricians. So, if networking is your concern, you need to start out with an insurance agent and a restoration contractor (since they can take care of the rest).
5. Document Everything
Keep every receipt that you get. Make sure that you note down every meeting you have and write down everything that you did. Photographs, paperwork, and everything else can quite effortlessly be turned into a digital format and kept there for safekeeping.
Detailed records will make it a lot easier for your insurance company and restoration contractor to help you with the claim process. Moreover, it increases the security of the project. By keeping everything in your hands, you’ll get a clearer view of the big picture. It will help you negotiate more confidently and reduce the chance of someone taking advantage of you.
You see, people sense when you’re desperate and there’s no time when you’re more vulnerable than after distress (possibly caused by the fire). This way, you regain control over the issue.
While a house fire is never a good thing, the property can be fixed and inventory replaced. To get the most out of it, you need to take a systemic approach to the situation as a whole. You also need to arm yourself with patience and do your best to regain control.