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Case Study 1 Revisited

"The Hotel"

This is a sad statement of the industry. In the previous audit document I mentioned this claim. The surveyor said the building was wet and told the hoteliers they had to move out while their home and business was gutted. I surveyed the property and found it to be dry. I showed the insured who was surprised to say the least. I called the Insurance Company and told them a mistake had been made, so confident were they in their surveyor they ignored my warning. I offered to meet their loss adjuster on site and prove but they declined. On Wednesday 9th Feb the builders arrived to gut out. I saw the policy holder who was clearly concerned. I asked if he had spoken with insurers and he said yes, they had told him to accept their advice or he would not have redress or their support.

The builders had to steam off the wallpaper as it was dry, and you can see the moisture runs on the wall.

I surveyed the property again in front of the insured and two independent witnesses. The results are visual. Please note I did not use specialist equipment that I may have usually used in surveying but industry standard Protimeter, with wood calibration. Of significant importance is that a moisture reading of 23% wme in brick, is approximately 6%. The measurements were taken from brickwork exposed by plaster removal the day before and may have been wet from wallpaper stripping.



Wall paper, plaster and floors going. Unnecessary cost to insurers £100,000

Disruption and loss of business to insured?




22% wme wood moisture equivalent = approximately 6% moisture content



Different room 6% moisture content.



Dry floor boards



Joists at 13.8% Using penetrative spikes. Acceptably Dry without drying!

My survey concluded that only part of the party wall and an area below a bay window, were appreciably wet. Both areas may have been historic damage.

The surveyor provided a works specification to the builders.

The following line items would appal any professional restorer or health and safety competent person.

The following description is not an exact quote but from memory.

1. Remove plaster and disinfect brickwork
2. Sterilise floor joists.

How many builders are infection control qualified? How many know the difference between disinfection and sterilisation? Clearly the surveyor doesn’t understand either. Sterilisation is not possible outside a laboratory. What chemical was the builder expected to use, what is the method statement or indeed application or protocol. The specification had no scientific meaning, but was an authority for unqualified persons to undertake a task for which the health & safety of others including contractor employees would be placed at risk. Equally had the contractor followed what they thought was reasonable instruction the property could have been contaminated with residual chemicals with liability issues for CEOs and mortgage lenders. Disinfection is a complex operation and is best described in our glossary. Please visit for explanation.

http://www.disasteradvice.co.uk/Glossary_Search.asp

A property just a few streets away were visited by large insurers nominated contractor. They entered the home with fogging equipment, when they left they had paper masks on their heads. I asked the homeowner what they had done, she said, “They came in and sanitised my home, lovely smell”

Unfortunately that lovely smell is associated with a chemical that is a known carcinogen, the homeowner should not have been in the premises, the contractor should have been aware of their own personal danger and worn full face respirators with special filters. The chemical is banned in the country that makes it.
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