Disaster Show & Tell with Katie Daviau of Baystate Restoration Group
Disaster Show and Tell with Katie Daviau of Baystate Restoration Group
Katie Daviau – Katie
Richard Merlino – Rich
Katie: I know the idea of talking about construction and restoration probably doesn’t sound like the most exciting topic, but I promise you I’ve put together an entertaining presentation for you. Disaster Show and Tell is exactly what it’s going to be. I’ve got pictures and stories of actual losses that our company has done, so I’m going to give you some examples of things that could go wrong at your property.
Before I get into the stories, I’m going to talk a little bit about what to look for in a good restoration company in case you find yourself looking for a restoration company or needing one. We’re looking going to touch on what a priority service agreement is towards the end of my presentation and how it might be useful to you. Then, I do have a flyer in front of you along with a bunch of other goodies, and the flyer has some tips and different things you can do to help prevent losses at your properties.
To start off, what do good restoration companies do? This is a great question. Whenever people ask me where I work or what I do, I respond with, “Well, I work for Baystate Restoration.” I oftentimes get people look back at me and say, “Well, what exactly do you restore? Do you restore cars? Do you restore paintings?”
The quick answer that I give is that we rebuild homes and businesses after they suffer from devastating losses resulting from things like fire, water, smoke, mold, or storm damage, but it really goes way beyond just rebuilding a property. There are so many phases and steps that go into it and it’s important that you know kind of what these things are, so that if you do encounter a situation where you need a restoration company, you’re going to have a sense of what that promise might look you.
I’m hoping you all play along for a few minutes because I’m going to paint a little picture for you by telling you a story, okay?
Katie: I’m going to leave this slide up here. I want you to imagine that it’s the middle of the night and your smoke detectors are going off. You know something is really wrong, you’re not really sure what’s happening. Your first instinct is to get your family out of the house safely, so you manage to do that. You get out to the lawn and you realized that your worst nightmare has come true, that your house is on fire. You call the fire department. They come out. They put the fire out, and then you stand there and you look at this massive mess in front of you and you think, “Oh, my gosh! What am I going to do? Who am I going to call?”
Most likely, you probably have a number of contractors already at your door, they’re on your property, waiting to service you.
The first thing that needs to happen is you need to have your house boarded up. Once the first department releases the property, you want to secure it. You want to secure it from additional loss. You want to prevent people from getting in the property and getting hurt. You also want to prevent people from getting in and stealing from you. This might be tarping the roof, boarding up windows and doors, and in some cases, even putting up a temporary fence.
The next thing is you might need a company that helps you figure out where to go for the night. In these situations, many people are panicked and scared, and they can’t think straight. They might need some ideas on what hotel they can go to for the night if they don’t have friends or family around.
We’re now going to fast forward to the next day. The first thing, you know you’re not going to work because you got a big old mess to deal with. You got to call your insurance company. You got to get a claim filed, and you got to jump on this process.
One of the things that you want is you want your own estimator. You want to hire a company that has an estimator that can write an estimate for you because this is not your day job. You don’t know what you’re doing. You don’t want an insurance company to prepare an estimate for you and hand it off to you and say, “This is what you deserve and this is what you’re entitled to.” You don’t have an idea of what you’re entitled to, so you want somebody in your corner working for you, writing an estimate, making sure that every screw, nail, and piece of wood and every last little thing that needs to put that house back together that you have.
You also want somebody to help you negotiate your loss for you, so someone to kind of go back and forth with the insurance company on your repair estimate, so that you get what you deserve. After this is done, when you’ve settled that loss with the insurance company, you need to start digging in, so you need to hire a company that’s going to demo your project for you, get rid of all that fire garbage and scrape down to the bare bones so that you can rebuild.
You also need a company that’s going to help you with your contents. You need somebody to help you build a content’s list. Everything in your home that’s going to be tossed out, that’s now garbage, you need to get on a list so that you can get paid out for it. Anything that’s going to be salvaged, you need a company to take that from you, clean it, photo document it, pack it up nicely, and store it somewhere for you until you’re ready to move into your house.
Once these things are done, it’s time to start the rebuilding process. Now most of us would hope that after a big fire in our homes, afterwards, we hope things are going to be better, so maybe you had a fireplace that you never used, that you didn’t really like that you want to get rid of and you want to use that money towards something else, or maybe you’re hoping to have an extra bathroom that you didn’t have before. Or maybe you had kind of a boxed-in home where you want to open up the floor plan. So you want some design folks to help you redesign your home, figure out how to make things better, figure out how to make things better for more modern living, so you need a company to help you with that.
Then you need somebody actually do that rebuild, so whoever is coming over to swing a hammer, you need a company to do that, to put your house back together, and during that rebuilding process, you might need a little rebuilding help. Not everyone is Pinterest friendly, not everybody knows what color goes good with what tile. Sometimes people need help going shopping and picking out things, so hopefully you have a company that can hold your hand through that process. When everything is done and pretty again, you need someone to take all those things that are packed up and stored away and move them back into your home for you.
Through this processes there is usually lots of paperwork and the passing of checks and money and calls to the mortgage company and that whole end of the paperwork side of things can be very overwhelming for people, so hopefully you’re working with a company that’s going to get you that piece of it, too.
These are all the things that make up a great restoration and in fact these are all things that our company does. A good restoration company has a strong in-house team, so the unique thing about our company is that we employ all of these people in-house. A lot of restoration companies will subcontract a lot of these aspects of the job.
Another important tip for you all is to really be cognizant of how the company you’re hiring is working. You do not want to work with a company whose project manager for your job is also your demo guy and your flooring installer and the guy writing your estimate because it’s never going to go smoothly. It’s never going to work efficiently. That individual is going to be overwhelmed, so I highly recommend that when you’re looking for a company, you find someone that has their employees segmented out, everybody has a defined role within the company to help you get through the process.
To recap, a good restoration company is going to work hand-in-hand with your insurance company to handle each loss from start to finish. They’re going to dispatch their own in-house estimator to your job to write a clean, fair, honest estimate, and you’re going to have a dedicated, qualified project manager.
Now we’re going to get into the storytelling time of my presentation. We all know that losses affect both homeowners and businessowners and believe it or not, these are actually pictures from our jobs right here.
My first one, I’m going to have to peek at these notes a little bit because I don’t have everything memorized about what happened at every job. This is a house fire in Southwick, and this fire started due to an electrical fault in their air-conditioning system. This whole house was taken down to the foundation. The fire affected the entire house here, so this turned into a new construction project. All of the building codes had to be meet, 2×6 construction, R21 insulation, R49 in the attic. The policy, which is interesting here, the insurance policy at this home, was underinsured by about $15,000, but we were lucky enough to get the homeowner some of their code. This house had $11,000 in code upgrades.
What the homeowner did here was they eliminated one of the features of their home, which was a wood fire furnace and the customer also came out-of-pocket. By eliminating that furnace, they kind of freed up some money to finish up the project. I’m going to just jump here, next slide. This is the after picture of their house and—is this how they work this little pointer?
This room over here was once four separate rooms. We worked with this homeowner to kind of blowout this whole area and do one big room, so they have a kitchen and living space all kind of in one big area, which a lot of people like now. This is another part. This is an ongoing project. This is still happening. We put in these cool barndoors in there for them, too, on there.
Brian: Can we schedule a fire with you?
Katie: We can make it happen [laughter].
Katie: Yes. We love it, so by all means. This is a good story, this one. The fire was started. This was a before and after picture. The fire started because the elderly mother-in-law living in the basement was looking for something underneath her bed with a lighter and it ignited the bed. I chuckle at this, too, because I always think to myself, “I don’t think I would do that,” but insurance companies do pay for stupidity, so if you have some tenants that you don’t think are that sharp and you’re worried, fear not because again insurance companies pay for stupidity.
Rich: Why a lighter? Why not a blowtorch?
Katie: Yes. I think a lighter was the only thing she had on hand at the moment. What we did here was the whole first floor flooring system had to be replaced, so just imagine that you walk on when you come on that first floor of the building had to be completely replaced. This was a total gut. The only thing that stayed was the exterior walls and the second floor flooring system remained. The homeowner came out-of-pocket $42,000 for this project. Does anybody want to know where that money came from because that’s a lot of money?
Rich: Was it black market rentals?
Katie: No, it was not.
Male Audience 1: [unintelligible 0:11:00]
Katie: Yes! You must be restoration guy. What’s your name? [unintelligible 0:11:10] Their money came out of their content and I make a little mention of this because one may not think that you can use that money for your project but most of us don’t necessarily need like $150,000 to buy new furniture, so you can utilize that money if you have some excess back into your house. What we did with this house—
[I’ll get this pointer back up. I can use this, right? The red button. Okay].
This whole area was once an open breezeway, so open to the elements, and so we closed it off, expanded the dining space, added this master’s suite up here and just made this house like way better for these guys. We also added the dormers to the top there as a thank you gesture, something that we try to do on all our projects. It’s like that one thing that the homeowners would love or would make the house a little better. That maybe is not in the budget as a little thank you to our customers, so that was something we did for them.
The other thing that we did was—I’m going to skip to the next photo—was we added this, this was the before picture over here, we added this shed dormer on the back because there was like two small bedrooms upstairs and there wasn’t a lot of living space, so by adding that shed dormer in the back, they gained a lot of living space and made those two upstairs bedrooms a whole heck a lot nicer. More pictures. This is their new first floor bathroom and their new kitchen.
Another interesting story with this one, this one, another fire, this was in East Hampton, Mass. The car that was parked in the driveway had an electrical fire, so something in the car lit up, and the car was parked next to the house and the house caught on fire. This is actually an ongoing project right now. I don’t have a ton of photos on this one, but the fire climbed up the whole back of the house, the whole roofing system. The entire house ended up being torn down to the foundation. This is another ranch home that we were completely opening up the floor plan and bolting the ceilings.
The other thing we did with this was the homeowner was an engineer, and he was really adamant that his foundation be inspected by an engineer to make sure that it was sound to rebuild the home on top of, so this is something that we’ll do from time to time as we bring an engineer to kind of give us the go ahead on the rebuild.
Another interesting one, exactly what you’ll see here. Bus hits house. This is in Grande Mass. Peter Pan Bus Lines, I’m sure a lot of you are familiar with those guys. Driver got a little sleepy, veered off the road, hit this house. This was a big old house, too, a big, big house. It was an older home on a stone foundation. The portion of the home that was hit was a newer addition, and that was on a block foundation, but that entire portion of the house was compromised.
An engineer was brought in on this one, too, to determine if the foundation could be saved. It was deemed unusable so that whole part of the house had to come down. The entire addition had to be removed and rebuilt and that’s including a new foundation being put in, so this was a huge project. This over here was a like bedroom, so you can see how those walls just totally came in. Incredible.
Male Audience 2: What happened to the bus?
Katie: That’s a good question. They towed it out of there. I know that much.
Rich: If you put captions of these photos like on the left one it should say “Captain Hook’s house.”
Katie: [laughter] This was a multifamily fire. I’m sure you guys see those out here. This fire is in Leominster. House fire started because a tenant put a motorcycle into the shed, the shed was next to the home. It must have been some sort of combustion that happened in there, so the shed caught on fire and then caught the whole right porch system on fire. All the porches needed to be rebuilt.
This was a pretty ugly one. There was damage to the roof. The three interiors were a complete gut due to the smoke damage. They needed new wiring, new plumbing. The house needed—I think this is near completion now—new sprinkler systems due to the new code. there was some framing and insulation code. Policy here had adequate coverage, which was a good thing, but the interesting thing that happened with this one was the mortgage company had lapsed the payment from the escrow account and they did not pay the insured’s insurance. Policy hadn’t been paid, but the good thing was the mortgage company ended up covering this loss.
The insured, the homeowner lived in this home and the other two units did not have any renter’s insurance, so they were pretty cranky with their landlord, so that leaves me to make like a little public service announcement. You’re nodding your head and laughing.
Little public service announcements, the facts are that 1 in 20 renters actually have renters insurance. Now just going on some of our own situations and examples of jobs we’ve done, we’ve had two 20-unit apartment complex fires recently and only 1 in those 20 in both scenarios had renter’s insurance. It happens if anyone has been through this, the renters get their measly $700 tenant relocation check from their landlord’s insurance policy and they’re off into the sunset to replace their things and find a new house, and we all know that $700 does not really cover a whole lot. Suddenly, it’s the landlord’s fault for everything that happened and we’ve seen the struggle that these landlords go through because they’re dealing with their insurance company, they’re dealing with this massive loss and mess. They’re dealing with their contractor, and then they have tenants that are on them like crazy, mad, and angry. If I say anything tonight, if you can encourage your people to get renter’s insurance, it makes your life so much easier.
Rich: Is now a good time to take questions, Katie?
Katie: Sure. I’ll answer some questions.
Rich: All right, who has hands? I guess everybody. That’s a dumb question. Everybody has hands.
Katie: Okay, great.
Rich: Who wants to raise their hand? All right. where am I going? It was in this general area, all right.
Male Audience 3: Are you allowed to require tenants to have renter’s insurance?
Rich: That might be a great question for our next speaker, the attorney. Hold that thought.
Katie: Oh, yes.
Female Audience 1: How long did it take for that, the Great Cape, how long did it take to rebuild that house?
Katie: I believe it was four months.
Female Audience 1: Wow.
Rich: That was nice how you how you guys got rid of the snow, too.
Katie: Can I make a note I’m saying. I’m sorry.
Rich: I said that was really nice that you got rid of all the snow on that property, too.
Katie: [laughter] What I will say is in going back to what to look for when you want to hire a restoration company, being that we do all of our work in-house, for instance our company, and we don’t subcontract our losses, we can control our employees in moving them around, getting them to where they need to be on projects, so we have had a lot of success in getting projects done a lot faster than companies who are subcontracting a lot of aspects of their rebuild out because you’re waiting on those contractors to have a schedule of jobs in front of them to get to your job so that your homeowner can move back in, so just another little quick tip to think about when you’re hiring somebody.
Rich: All right, any other questions before we move on? All right. Here you go.
Female Audience 2: Yes, just want to confirm it seems like you are doing all the whole thing as a package including the architectural design. Is that what you do, too, on the damage?
Female Audience 2: And the engineering, everything?
Katie: We don’t have engineers on staff, but we do have like the design folks on staff that can—
Female Audience 2: So you have the architect to do the blueprint and everything?
Female Audience 2: Okay.
Rich: I know Brian wants a referral to the lady with the lighter. It sounds like he has a building he’d like to let her move into. Actually it’s his birthday, so he’s going to go first.
Male Audience 4: What is your basis for fees? How do you base your fees?
Katie: We do jobs for whatever we settle the loss for. With that, I should say that when I talked about how we bring an estimator out, our own estimator, to rate and prepare an estimate to compare against the insurance company’s estimate, it’s important to look out for companies that charge for that. We don’t charge to do that. We also don’t take a cut of that, so we don’t take a cut of their insurance proceeds to prepare their job, for writing that estimate, and negotiating for them. Whatever we negotiate the loss for, for the insured is what we do the job for, start to finish.
Rich: All right.
Katie: In the back again.
Rich: If you wouldn’t mind just because I don’t move that fast we’re going to break for questions again for like 8 minutes. Is that cool?
Rich: All right, thank you.
Katie: You guys want to see more stories?
Katie: This is just a quick picture of what—
Female Audience 3: [unintelligible 0:20:48] restoration to complete.
Rich: The question was long did it take to complete this particular multifamily fire, to fix it?
Katie: This one? I want to say this one was about five months. Sometimes they get a little held up with like code like the building department and things like that. There are some things sometimes that are out of your control like you’re waiting on other people. It’s not that you’re not ready to start the job, but you’re waiting on others.
This is not tied to any specific story, but it just shows kind of interior fire damage looks like. This is from one of our jobs that we’ve done. It’s pretty nasty and ugly. I share it because there’s a whole process that goes into cleaning up fire damage, and it’s very important to consider hiring somebody that really knows and that’s certified and trained n fire damage repair because if you don’t properly remediate this, your house or property will stink like smoke forever, and so every time it rains or anything like that, you will get that scent that comes through, so be cautious. Sometimes you get people that are like, “Yes, I’m a fire restoration contractor. I can do this,” and then it doesn’t go that well, so make sure you get somebody in there that knows what they’re doing.
Female Audience 4: How long [unintelligible 0:22:10] especially in those cases that have asbestos on your pipes, so does your company deal with that or do you bring in a hazmat team?
Katie: We bring in another company to do it. Great question.
Rich: The question was if you have asbestos-wrapped pipes, how does that work and the answer was…
Katie: Yes, we work with one specific company that does that remediation for us.
Rich: All right.
Katie: So in a case like this, we’re going to remove everything in this property including the drywall, the electrical. We’re going to clean the framing. We’re going to treat it for odor and encapsulate the framing. We’re going to remove salvageable contents. We’re going to clean them, photo document them, pack and store them for the insured. Items that typically cannot be cleaned are things like plastics, anything porous, too, like particle board furniture.
Rich: Do you get a lot of request for restoration of a particle board furniture?
Katie: No. Most people are happily ready to toss that out [laughter]. Okay, so this is another multifamily fire. This is in North Hampton, Mass. Most of you are going to look at this and think this is a three-family home and it’s actually not. This is a condo association. They took, I think this is like the fashionable thing to do. They take three-family homes and turn them into induvial condo units and call it a condo association. Just looking from my notes on this one, so I can tell you the real deal of what went down here.
Rich: I imagine that you’re going to tell us the individual owners carried insurance but the association did not?
Katie: Yes, I think it’s in my notes. Here it is. It’s first page. Say it one more time.
Rich: Did the individual owners have each their own policy?
Rich: And the association did not because they didn’t think of that?
Katie: What we had here was we did the job for all three units. This is still going on. We had a master condo policy that came to play and three induvial condo insurance policies. It was a lot of moving parts on this one. What happened here was homeowner on the third floor had a cigarette on the porch and that’s what caught the fire. Oftentimes with cigarette fires, people will flick them away from the property with good intentions, but then the weather elements and wind and stuff bring them back to the property, so a little bit unsure of what really went down but it was from a cigarette.
What can I tell you? Everyone here was property insured. The amount of damage was a little different to each unit. Interestingly, all three units were underinsured on code, so a lot of them didn’t have enough code, but the master policy picked up the tab and covered the code, which had a $25,000 limit. Just something to think about. We hardly see new homes, new apartments, new condos catching on fire, so it’s always the older properties that always need tons of code upgrade. So if you own homes, check your code upgrades, make sure you’re sufficiently covered.
I have another great story to tell you about code. This was a flat roof . We do our own flat roof repair. We had to repair the rot on this roof. We had to put a whole new rivet roof down. The whole third floor was a gut. The second and first floor, those two had a lot of water damage from the fire department coming down.
I want to make a quick mention, another little public service announcement that I think is helpful for you. If you own condos, check, and make sure that your condo insurance covers the master policies deductible. When a master policy comes into play, they have their own deductible, and somebody has got to pay that, which is the people that live in the condo association. If you don’t have that coverage on your insurance policy, you’re going to come out out-of-pocket. In some cases, it could be $500 to assist all the unit owners; other times it could be thousands of dollars to assist all the unit owners. If you don’t have master policy deductible coverage on your condo insurance, you’re going to pay for that out-of-pocket. Just a little fun fact for you, guys, to help you.
Some more interior fire damage, some nasty little shots.
This is a great story. It’s great because it’s just incredible what can happen. I’ll organize my notes.
Rich: Katie, you are a lot more gracious than I am. The guy was flicking litter onto the ground with good intentions before he burned the house down. I don’t know if I would be as nice about it as you are.
Katie: This one is exactly what you see. There’s water pouring out of the ceiling, but the story behind this one is really fascinating. This home is in Sunderland, Mass. The homeowner was away at their second residence in California. The neighbor noticed water coming out of the front door and called the fire department.
Male Audience 4: [unintelligible 0:27:11]
Katie: Coming out of the front door. What happened here was the water feed for the toilet split on the second floor and it kept running and it ran for weeks. To give you an idea of like how much water—does anybody know how much water goes into your toilet once you flush it?
Katie: It’s 1.6 gallons of water. Does anybody know how fast it takes for the toilet to fill up? Like 30 seconds, right? Every 30 seconds, 40 seconds, 1.6 galloons of water was pouring into this house for weeks on end while these guys were away in their second residence in California. Horrible, horrible situation. The water went down the second story stairs, down to the basement. The only thing that filled this basement from completely filling up with water was that the sump pump was continuously running. The house did not lose electricity. It was coming down the staircase. It was coming out the windows. It was gross. Let me show you some more pictures because this is like—
Audience: [unintelligible 0:28:10]
Katie: February. That made it worse.
Rich: I love that the neighbor took a picture of the water before shutting off the water main like, “Hold on! This is a photo opportunity. This is going to look awesome on Insta.”
Katie: No. This meter is off, actually. This is what the kitchen looked like. The water was so intense, you can see those joints there buckling and the ceiling coming down like the taping joints. This is our new kitchen, by the way. they’re way happy and this house wasn’t even that old. Hey, if they had shut their water off before they left, this would not have happened. When your grandmother is like, “Shut off your water before you go away on vacation,” this is why. My parents always used to make us do that before our measly one week to the Cape every year and we always had to stop everything and shut the water off. Now I understand why people do this because if the water were shut off, then this wouldn’t have had happened.
These are more pictures. The floors are buckled. The ceiling totally came down. Everything in this house was a total loss, ruined the furniture. This home was only 10 years old, so it had a pretty good layout. The one thing that this customer really wanted was they wanted a mudroom and a custom shoe rack, so we did that for them. They have a new mudroom in the garage, we expanded their laundry area, and we put in a custom shoe rack for them.
Male Audience 5: [unintelligible 0:29:26] water bill.
Rich: Okay, I’m going to go around.
Katie: Great question. I don’t know the answer to that.
Rich: Did you cover the electric bill for the sump pump running? I’m going to go around and take some more questions because it seems like you’ve captured their attention. All right, so who has—perfect.
Male Audience 6: This is a more a comment than a question. I had a fire that covered 12 units. I was really worried about it. I talked to the insurance company. I talked to the [unintelligible 0:29:51] Dickens, and then I realized after the first month that I had rent continuation insurance. Then I met with the insurance company, we couldn’t come to terms. They took me out to lunch several times, we still couldn’t come to terms, and he said why wouldn’t you compromise. I said, “Because I had the best tenants. The building is empty. The rent is being paid. I had no complaints.” So buy rent continuation insurance.
Rich: Okay, good tip and get some free lunch out of the insurance company and don’t be in a hurry to figure it out. all right, good tip. Sandra?
Brian: We’re just trying to figure out which tenant’s car we will light on fire.
Rich: Okay, perfect.
Male Audience 7: What is your opinion of residential sprinklers? The builder’s association are adamant that they’re terrible. So—
Katie: They are. I was agreeing that they were adamant about it [laughter].
Male Audience 7: What they contend is that the water damage that would occur is far worse than the damage from the fire, and I questioned their logic.
Katie: I’m not sure I’m the right person to answer that question. I don’t deal with that directly. That would be a great question for like our project manager.
Rich: Well, I’m an expert in this subject because—
Male Audience 7: It saves people’s lives.
Rich: Okay, this gentleman says the sprinkler saves people’s lives. The Firefighter’s Magazine says they don’t like them because then when the firefighter gets into the building, everything is all soggy and the mortar is coming out of the bricks and stuff and the old building collapses. They say it’s very unsafe. That was one writer in The Firefighter’s Magazine. Don’t ask me why I read that one. Okay, so—
Sandra: Is that statewide?
Rich: Is that statewide?
Sandra: I mean the fire department is the one that’s pushing—
Rich: No, it’s town by town how they enforce these things. isn’t it right? Haven’t we all found different—I mean even within the same town, even within the City of Worcester, one inspector will enforce one thing and another one will—
Sandra: The Firefighter’s Magazine and the fire department itself and the code department literally pushes [unintelligible 0:32:01] renovation you have to put in the sprinkler.
Rich: Yes, you have to put in the sprinkler, yes, if there’s a certain percentage of renovation, right. There is nothing we can do about it. We can have all the opinions we want and we’re stuck with it. Right. More questions as we wrap this up? All right, that’s kind of cheating is you have a question, sir?
Jason: I don’t. I have an answer.
Katie: This is Jason, by the way. He is our content manager.
Jason: Nice to meet everybody. Somebody asked if you get paid for your water and electric bill if you have a situation like this. I actually lived through a situation like this. I had a flood in my basement, my own fault. Insurance covers stupidity, thankfully. They do. They will cover your water bill and your electric bill. If it’s over, your typical usage for that month, they require you to send them your bills for the last few months to prove it, but they will cover you.
Katie: Thank you, Jason.
Rich: Good tip, Jason. This has been all kinds of educational, and Heidi had a question.
Heidi: Actually, it seems to me to me that in case of fire and the owner hires you, they don’t even need a public adjuster, right? Because you do all the work already because the public adjuster is the one that negotiates—
Katie: I don’t know if there’s any public adjusters in the room, so I wouldn’t want to open to anyone, but there’s rarely a need for public adjusters.
Heidi: But it seems to me that you’re doing all the work like the public adjuster is doing , too. I’m sorry.
Katie: We do all the work the public adjusters do, is that what you said?
Katie: Which is why you don’t need one.
Rich: I like simple answers. All right—
Katie: Sorry if there’s any public adjusters in the room.
Rich: Are you hanging afterwards if people have additional questions?
Katie: Yes, I am hanging around. I’ll be here until the end. I’m glad to answer any questions. I got another really good story that I think you guys will like just because a lot of you manage big units I want to share with you.
Rich: What a tease! Is it quick?
Rich: Brian, are you willing to wait until afterwards to ask your question?
Brian: [unintelligible 0:34:11]
Rich: Okay, go for it, Katie
Katie: Quickly PSA, replace all the electrical panels. This one [unintelligible 0:34:20] recently in Ware, Mass. It’s a Federal Pacific panel. Has anybody seen one of these? Yes, this is why everyone is like, “You got to get rid of that thing” because this is what happens to them. I took a picture of that for you. Are we short on time?
Katie: Okay. So, I’m going to skip over this. We’ve been answering so many questions, I thought we had like tons of time. I’m going to skip over this. This was a big water loss. I want to talk to you, guys about this loss. This happened in Agawam, Mass. I want to talk about this because I thought this is pretty interesting for those of you who manage your own big places like this. This is a 120-unit complex. It’s four buildings. We rebuilt only 20 of the units. The firewall actually prevented the fire from spreading to the other 40 units in the particular building that we worked in.
The fire started from a cigarette thrown into the trash by the tenant and then the tenant left and went to the grocery store. The entire roof and truss system was replaced. It was a complete gut right down to the studs—electrical, light, plumbing, light, safety, sprinkler code. PS, sprinklers had to be not just in the 20 units that had to be replaced but the whole building, so the whole building had to get sprinklered. This policy had $1 million of code. God bless that insurance agent. Every last penny of the code was used. It was about $1.7 million lost, $1 million in code.
Here’s the part that I think is fascinating and I want to share. The fire triggered an ADA code compliance issue, so 5 percent of the units in this building had to be ADA-accessible, and the engineer triggered this, by the way. Out of the 120 units, 5 percent of those units had to be handicap accessible, and the majority of this complex was all one-bedroom efficiencies. These guys had to build a brand-new building in order to make this happen.
Katie: Yes, and this project, by the way, if anyone is curious, took over a year and the reason why is because we had to have an engineer like design this building. This is a new building, by the way. The town had to approve it, but what got really crazy with this was that the lot was never properly zoned for like commercial, so this happens and then it triggers like, “Oh, my gosh! This property should never have been built like this!” So number of number of hearings, which we had to attend, by the way, we go to those hearings so we just don’t tell our customers, “Go to this hearing and here is some paperwork.” We go to the hearings with the zoning board to get the new building approved, so it was kind of a painful process.
Also want to mentioned one person out of those 20 units had renter’s insurance and what was really challenging, we got to get to know this property owner very well, he’s a wonderful guy, and what we dealt with through the rebuilding process from him was a lot of his stress from his tenants grabbing at him because the lady who threw the cigarette, guess what, somehow that was the landlord’s fault that that happened and everyone was cranky. This guy dealt with all kind of stuff.
Old Redding schoolhouse, 40-unit fire, big mess. Oops! I keep doing that.
Rich: It’s one disaster after another.
Katie: Yes, and I will just take the last minute here to mention. This is something on one of these pieces here is on a priority service agreement, and I want to share with you just for a moment on what this is.
Priority service agreements are great for people who own a couple of units or thousands of units. Basically what this is it’s a relationship with a restoration company, so it takes the guessing game of who to call when something bad happens at one of your apartments. You may have maintenance crew on staff that deal with general maintenance, but sometimes when there is like something like a three-unit flood that goes all the way down or big fire or something like that, the maintenance staff just doesn’t have the equipment or the knowhow to handle serious situations like this.
A PSA, priority service agreement, should never cost you any money. One thing to look for when you have one is a company that may offer you some self-pay discounts. We all know sometimes we have big deductibles, so we don’t want to file a claim, or it’s too small to file a claim. For example, we do self-pay discounts but we like to think of it as a written handshake, no cost, no obligation.
The deal is, something bad happens, you call us. We get there within the hour. We’re there for you, we’re your guy, and in turn, you cooperate with us, so you give us your information for your insurance company, you give us access to the property so we can do our job. You tell us the paint colors you want to use, the carpet you like, and we get things done for you, so something to think about.
Rich: When you said no cost, I think the right price point for this group. That’s perfect.
Katie: Well, the agreement is no cost [laughter].
Rich: Well, the insurance company pays for the rest of it, right?
Katie: In the other flyer, you have we won’t talk about it, but it’s some tips on ways to prevent losses. These are real deal things that our project managers and our owners kind of put together to give me some insight on, so this is like stuff you can actually do. Number one thing on here, one of the biggest things on here is install smoke detectors, sounds so trivial but the night I was supposed to speak back in March, some of you might remember, I was a speaker here in March, we had a snowstorm—
Rich: [crosstalk 0:39:44] anyway. Yes, that’s right. There was a snowstorm.
Katie: The interesting thing that happened and I share this with you if you remember is we responded to a fire where the homeowner didn’t have smoke detectors. They were actually on their way to Costco to get smoke detectors and their house caught on fire like what are the chances of that happening, but it happens, so it’s on your list. I know it sounds silly, but it does happen. Thank you, guys.
Rich: Let’s hear it for Katie Daviau from Baystate Restoration.
Rich: She’s going to hang around.
Katie: Yes, I will hang around.
Rich: To answer questions. There’s all kinds of extra information that she was kind enough to bring for us as well.