Project Manager for Fire Reinstatement

Melted LightbulbRMA Surveyors Ltd have recently been instructed to act as project managers for the restoration of a fire damaged flat in West Ilsley, Berkshire.

The property has been significantly damaged by fire within a couple of rooms, while the rest of the property has been heavily damaged by residual smoke and water, where the fire was extinguished.

Our instruction required us to:

  • appoint and oversee the initial clean up and restoration – cleaning smoke residue, removing items such as white goods and furniture, cleaning surfaces and removing floor coverings and soft furnishings;
  • advise the client to have the electrical services isolated, as they had been badly damaged by the fire;
  • and draw up a specification and schedule of works to issue to tendering contractors.

Once a contractor has been selected, we will be responsible for overseeing the works through to completion. This will include regular site visits, liaison with the building contractor and the client, valuing and certifying works at key stages, liaising and reporting back to the loss adjustor and dealing with any ad hoc queries as required.

When works are completed we will certify and sign off the work. Works will be tendered and executed under the JCT Minor Works Contract. The fees for our appointment as project managers are covered by the insurance policy.

Appointing a project manager can help to reduce the stress that such potentially distressing situations can cause. As Chartered Surveyors, acting as project managers, we are able to use our professional knowledge and expertise in order to facilitate a swift and effective remediation process.

RMA Surveyors Ltd are highly experienced in insurance reinstatement work and as such we provide a service that is cost effective in regards to managing spend for the insurance claim and one that gives the client peace of mind that the project is being overseen and undertaken by professionals.

If you have been affected by fire, flood or other insured risk, please contact us on 01635 579208 or by completing the form below.

Contact Us

Fill in the below form to contact us today.
  • If you are requesting a survey quotation please provide the address and postcode of the property.
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

When Flood Water Recedes

Flood waters in residential BerkshireRMA Surveyors Ltd have visited many properties over the last few months to assess flood water damage and work with home owners to reinstate their property.

About 6,500 homes have been flooded in the UK since December, according to this interesting BBC article, which takes a look at what happens after the flood water recedes.

If you are concerned about any damage to your property, then enlist the services of a Chartered Building Surveyor.

The reinstatement process can be long and involved. Many factors can come into play that delay or frustrate the process, particularly where there are so many claims being processed concurrently.

In our experience it is better to have an experienced Chartered Building Surveyor appointed to steer you through this lengthy and sometimes frustrating process.

If you need the assistance of a qualified and experienced Chartered Building Surveyor please call on 01635 579 208 or contact us via our contact page.

For further information read Five Steps to Flood Reinstatement.

Problem with your Property? RMA Surveyors can help!

Impact damge to houseProperty investment is expensive. Remedial works for untreated defects can be costly and can affect the saleability of the property. Therefore, it’s important to keep your property in good condition.

If you notice a potential problem, don’t leave it, get a professional to make an assessment on your behalf. The cost of a Chartered Building Surveyor’s fee may save you thousands of pounds.

If you’re unsure how serious a building defect may be, seek advice from a Chartered Building Surveyor who can visit, inspect, report and advice you, provide remedial advice and put your mind at ease.

Recently RMA Surveyors Ltd has undertaken Defect Inspections to assess a variety of defects from damp, condensation, dry rot, flooding, cracking in walls, potential subsidence and concerns over construction works to extensions.

When you instruct the services of RMA Surveyors Ltd, a surveyor will attend the property and make a full assessment of the problem. Following this inspection a Defect Report will be written, detailing the specific materials, construction, implications and other associated issues regarding the building defect or defects.

If further advice regarding reinstatement is required we will also be pleased to assist.

For more information, visit the Surveys page or call 01635 579 208.

5 Steps to Flood Reinstatement

RICS Guide to floodingThe Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors has issued helpful advice in the wake of the recent flooding throughout the UK. A copy of which can be downloaded here.

Unfortunately, for many, the flood waters have far from receded. Reports of more rain this week, and the potential for rivers to rise further, is unwelcome news. Once flood waters do eventually dissipate the process of reinstatement can be a long one.

Many people have been affected and are asking themselves, “How do we get back to normal?”

These five steps chart the process back to normality.

STEP 1 – THE LOSS ADJUSTER

If your building is insured against flood damage and you have been seriously affected, you will usually have a loss adjuster appointed who will deal with your claim on behalf of your insurance company. They are the main point of contact in regards to the claim, and will make the decisions as to what can and can’t be allowed under the policy. A loss adjuster should undertake an initial visit between three and five days from receiving notification of a claim. This may be longer in peak levels, such as now.

STEP 2 – THE PROJECT MANAGER/SURVEYOR

In claims where the cost of reinstatement to your property is likely to be expensive, a project manager with specialist building knowledge is often appointed. The project manager is usually a surveyor, and both terms are used interchangeably. It is their role to specify the extent of the necessary remedial works, send the specification to different contractors to get the best price (often referred to as a competitive tender), appoint the contractor and oversee works through to completion. They will liaise with both you and the loss adjuster at all critical stages of the building reinstatement process.

IT’S YOUR PROPERTY – IT’S YOUR CHOICE

Some loss adjuster companies often seek to appoint their own in-house surveyors to project manage. The loss adjuster’s fee is usually set very low; profits are therefore generated through their in-house surveyor’s fees. Their in-house surveyors will only ask ‘approved’ building contractors to quote for the work. The building contractors sometimes pay these large loss adjusting companies a percentage fee for each project they successfully procure, in order to remain on the ‘approved’ list.

Because of this, we have found some loss adjusters from some large loss adjusting firms can be obstinate in approving the appointment of anyone other than their in-house surveyors. When an independent surveyor becomes involved, the loss adjuster’s company does not generate any additional fees. It is very important to know that you are free to appoint your own independent Chartered Building Surveyor to act on your behalf. You are in no way obliged to use a surveyor appointed to you by your loss adjuster. It is your property and you decide who works on your behalf.

Some in-house surveyors working for some large loss adjusting firms are overworked, juggling over forty projects at any one time, and over seventy projects in peak crisis periods; whilst covering a wide geographical area. These in-house teams are often not regulated by a professional body such as the RICS.
Flood waters in residential Berkshire

STEP 3 – ASSESSING THE DAMAGE & INITIAL RESTORATION

Flood waters can contain sewage, waste and the accompanying bacteria and disease. At the same time as appointing a surveyor your loss adjuster should appoint a restoration company to assist in the initial clean up. They will remove all soft furnishings and flood damaged contents and take an inventory of flood damaged items. These items will be covered under your contents insurance and will be treated as a separate claim from your buildings insurance. The restoration company should also install fans, dehumidifiers and heaters to assist the drying of your property.

As well as the obvious water damage to the visible elements of a property, unseen damage may also have occurred. For example, all service installations should be thoroughly checked and any voids, such as those in timber stud partitions should be exposed, to allow these areas to thoroughly dry out. Damage can also occur to other elements of the property while the property is drying out, due to the high humidity levels and differential rates of drying to timber elements, caused by dehumidifiers. Plaster often needs to be removed from walls, where it has been contaminated with bacteria, soluble minerals and salts in the ground water. A building contractor is also frequently appointed at this early stage, to strip out such items as plasterboard, kitchen units and other elements to assist the drying of the structure.

This stage can take anything between two weeks to over two months, depending on the extent of damage and the approach to drying adopted. The restoration contractor will return frequently to monitor drying and empty dehumidifiers. They will provide regular updates to your surveyor and loss adjuster.

STEP 4 – SPECIFICATION & TENDER PERIOD

While the property dries out, the surveyor will provide a schedule of works detailing the extent of the reinstatement required. They will provide a cost estimate of works to the loss adjuster. This can take a week to ten days. The schedule of works will then be issued to a few different building contractors. A two to four week period is usually required for the contractors to return a price (or tender) for works.

Once tender returns are received the surveyor will report back to the loss adjuster, making a recommendation as to which building contractor should be appointed. When the loss adjuster has agreed the costs the project manager will then appoint the building contractor on your behalf.

STEP 5 – THE CONTRACT PERIOD

You may already be in temporary alternative accommodation or need to move out of your property whilst repairs are in progress, which will be a matter of negotiation with the loss adjuster.

There is usually a mobilisation period of around four weeks from appointing the building contractor, allowing the contractor to plan resources and labour. Reinstatement works can then begin. This can take anywhere between six to eight weeks on a typical domestic claim.

The whole process can take much longer where the building is larger or more complex. For example if a building is listed, approvals will be required from the local authority, which can take eight weeks from the date the application is processed.

THE SURVEYOR’S ROLE

The surveyor will oversee the contract. Providing valuations, issuing instructions, certifying works as they proceed and agreeing works are completed satisfactorily. The surveyor will report back to the loss adjuster at key stages agreeing interim payments be made to the contractor.

The work should be undertaken under the framework of a formal building contract, such as the JCT minor works form of contract. A contract defines the duties of you (the client), the contractor and the surveyor.

The reinstatement process can be long and involved. Many factors can come into play that delay or frustrate the process, particularly where there are so many claims being processed concurrently. In our experience it is better to have an experienced Chartered Building Surveyor appointed to steer you through this lengthy and sometimes frustrating process. If you need the assistance of a qualified and experienced Chartered Building Surveyor please call on 01635 579 208 or contact us via our contact page.

Flood Waters Cause Property Damage & Threaten Thousands

Road closed due to flood water in Compton

Road closed due to flood water in Compton

After two very wet winters river levels are at bursting point. The Thames is dangerously high. Local roads are closed and road surfaces are damaged. According to the BBC news the army have been posted to critical locations on the Thames to help with sand bagging and flood defence operations. Berkshire is particularly badly affected. With the residents of Datchet feeling the brunt of the excess water. See here for the BBC news article.

Submerged wier at Goring

Submerged wier at Goring


Passing through Goring today and it is clear just how worrying the situation is. The locks and weirs that are such a prominent vista as you pass over the Goring and Streatley bridges are completely immersed in water. The Swan hotel has undertaken flood defence measures and water is literally lapping at the doors of some properties.

Flood defenses - The Swan Hotel Goring

Flood defenses – The Swan Hotel, Goring

The forecast is that water levels may get higher still as more rain is said to be on the way. We know first hand from past clients of the emotional devastation that flooding brings. We also know that in critical times like this insurance loss adjusters and their in house surveying teams are extremely overstretched. If you are unfortunate enough to suffer damage to your property from the floods you are usually entitled to appoint your own chartered surveyor to oversee the reinstatement works on your behalf at no cost to yourselves. If you do need the services of a professional chartered building surveyor with experience in flood damage reinstatement please contact us.

Risk of flooding

As the rain lashed down, it seemed rather appropriate that RMA Surveyors Ltd attended a continual professional development seminar yesterday on flood management organised by 3CPD (www.3cpd.co.uk).

Hosted by Claire Thirlwell, a chartered landscape architect, the principles and practicalities of flood management were discussed, based on her experience designing schemes to reduce floods occurring.

With another day of rain today and more parts of the country becoming flooded, it seems more important than ever that we take flooding into consideration when buying a property.

People should ensure the correct searches are carried out and get a building survey undertaken by a professional to ensure the potential new acquisition is not at risk and if it is, that it is highlighted as such.

It’s better to be prepared, so if you know your property is in an area that could flood, install appropriate protection measures well in advance to reduce the risk of flood water getting inside.

If you’re unfortunate to have suffered from flood damage to your property, we can assist you too.

Under the terms of your insurance policy you are often able to employ your own independent building surveyor to oversee the insurance reinstatement of your property, rather than relying on the overstretched surveyors appointed by loss adjusters.

Remember it is your property and you are free to appoint your own independent surveyor to specify, tender and oversee works on your behalf. An insurance policy often covers the fees of an independent surveyor, like RMA Surveyors Ltd. Providing you are adequately covered it should not cost you a penny to get impartial, qualified and quality advice and management for the duration of the insurance reinstatement works from us.

If your property has suffered from any flood damage, or you’re looking to purchase a house in a flood risk area, contact us for some professional advice.