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Fire risk – essential prevention and preparation tips

At Cornerstone, we’ve spent years working with families and businesses whose property has been damaged by fire. Our role is to fully restore the property to its previous condition, including repairing both structural and cosmetic damage. During our time in this industry, we’ve had the opportunity to work with numerous fire safety professionals, loss adjusters and others. Here are a few of the top tips we’ve gleaned. Most of these take less than 10 minutes to implement and, can massively improve the outcome in case of fire.

Fire risk prevention tips:

  1. Fit appropriate smoke and carbon monoxide detectors and alarms – 36% of fatalities occur where there is no fire alarm present
  2. Check detectors and alarms regularly
  3. Check old or ‘at risk’ wiring regularly
  4. Replace old or damaged wiring immediately
  5. Don’t leave cooking equipment unattended
  6. Maintain and replace worn cooking equipment
  7. Maintain and replace heating equipment
  8. Sweep chimneys at least once per year
  9. Discourage smoking and ensure butts are safely disposed of – 36% of fires in the home are caused by smoking materials
  10. Make sure any fires, including BBQs, bonfires and candles, are properly built and not left unattended
  11. Stay sober when cooking or using fire – over 1,700 fires and 34 deaths were recorded in the UK in 2016/17 where alcohol or drugs were a contributing factor
  12. Don’t cut corners on recommended fire safety equipment, materials or procedures

Preparing for fire

Hopefully, you’ll live your whole life without experiencing a fire at either your home or business. However, a few minutes’ work now can make a big difference should the worst happen. Most of these tips will also give you a measure of protection from other disasters, such as flood, structural subsidence, dry rot, storm damage etc.

  1. Take photos of the current state of your property – quick snaps are a great help to ensure that any damage is properly recorded and repaired
  2. Keep essential documents in a grab-and-go box or bag – don’t go back for it, but if you have a few seconds having what you need with you is a big help
  3. Take photos of documents as a digital back up – this should include insurance policies and contact numbers, as well as passports, utility company information and any other significant documents
  4. Email important photos to yourself – email servers are typically in a different county or country, so are unlikely to be affected by anything short of a global disaster. Keep important documents safe by emailing copies to yourself or a trusted family member or use ‘cloud storage’.
  5. Ensure your property has adequate fire safety equipment – this may mean installing or updating new equipment
  6. Make sure everyone knows how to get out in case of a fire – this is as important at home as at work
  7. Obtain insurance and keep it up to date – the cost of repairing damage from a significant fire can bankrupt a family or business. Insurance may be the last item on a list but it’s certainly not the least important!

SOURCE – https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/650869/focus-trends-fires-fatalities-oct17.pdf

Fire Restoration & Cleaning Service Get in touch

19th February 2018
cornerstone-flood-reporting

Cornerstone raise the reporting standard

Cornerstone’s reports and feedback data exceed the demand for excellence in insured damage management restoration.

Our team have pioneered change within the industry by developing restorative know-how and best practice approach to both insured and uninsured losses.

Historical buildings, sensitive materials, cutting edge and innovative constructions, commercial losses and business continuity are just some of the challenges Cornerstone has overcome to ensure a deliverable solution.

cornerstone-example-report-3cornerstone-example-report-2Cornerstone-example-report-1

 

Through clear and concise factual reporting data we provide an overall assessment of the property or item and its history. We identify current and pre- existing conditions with an unambiguous conclusion and recommended restorative processes based upon up-todate and appropriate best practice. Cornerstone provides query resolutions to insurers, loss adjusters and professionals seeking advice in response to reported loss potential resulting in reduced fraudulent activity. Our service is aimed at supplying the best possible problem resolution via a myriad of investigative methods including:

  • Residue chemical analyses
  • Water chemistry
  • Detailed structural and atmospheric
  • Moisture survey
  • Thermography
  • Structural investigation

With a range of reporting formats on offer, Cornerstone tailors reports to suit our customers’ specific requirements in conjunction with the reported incident. Reports can be aligned to new or existing losses, the practices of a particular restorative company or individual, or establishing best practice for sensitive losses.

Desktop Audit:

Provided to analyse third party restoration reports and associated charges, this officebased reactive service utilises moisture calculations and industry recognised best practice to review the suitability and capacity of equipment used.

The audit will also cross-check evidence to validate charges and restorative timescales. Cornerstone will deliver a detailed report highlighting inconsistencies and an independent conclusion.

Leak Detection:

Utilising a range of technical processes including a moisture survey and mapping, chemical analyses, thermography etc, this site inspection identifies possible causes of moisture problems within structures.

Moisture Report:

Undertaken on site, these inspections aim to validate Drying Certificates supplied by third party drying companies by providing a moisture report of loss affected areas. This takes place prior to the reinstatement of moisture sensitive materials.

Please note that an additional charge may be incurred if concrete slabs are to be surveyed utilising methods detailed in BS8203:2001. This will depend on the urgency of reporting required and, any additional charges would be confirmed prior to the report commencing.

Full Technical Assessment:

This site investigation looks into an array of conditions including short and longterm moisture problems, mould activity, salts development and fire contamination analyses. Failure of reinstatement materials post restorative drying, typically flooring materials, culminates in a detailed report and conclusion in which all investigative methods are clearly defined.

Project Management:

Cornerstone’s project management expertise ensures a smooth transition from contract to completion. This service includes controlling on site activity, interacting with subcontractors, programming reinstatement works and reporting to clients as requested.

Project management would normally be provided following the submission of a ‘Loss report or ‘Full technical assessment’.

Loss Report:

Cornerstone’s loss reports clearly identify and quantify commercial, complicated and high net worth restorative works including structure type & restoration features.

In addition to confirming reported loss, identifying possible policy cover inconsistencies and hazardous materials and conditions, the report also maps the extent of the loss and calculates equipment requirements taking into account loss type and material sensitivity.

 

The reports are comprehensive, the service friendly and the costs reasonable.”
Graeme Dewar – Chartered Surveyor – Director BSc (Hons) MRICS MaPS – GD Surveyors Ltd

 

Get in touch now to discuss a reliable, independent reports tailored just to you and your business.

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25th January 2018
Flood-Restoration-Cornerstone

Why it’s essential to hire a specialist company after a flood

After a flooding, some business owners decide to undertake the clear up themselves and refrain from hiring a specialist company to help. However, this can have some negative effects on the building and the company, so why is hiring a specialist company important?

Money and time costs

Undertaking the restoration yourself, taking time away from your own work and buying all the materials needed will likely cost you more than hiring a company to do the work for you. Equipment used in flood restoration is heavy duty and specialised machinery, therefore unless you know exactly what you are doing and what the equipment is capable of, it is best to hire professionals that can complete this work safely and successfully. Restoration can take a lot of time and resources to complete, hence using a company that will likely require a number of workers undertaking the process with state of the art equipment, will keep the time taken to restore your building to a minimum.

Noticing other problems

When a building has been flooded there are often a lot more problems that come along with it and with some you might not be able to notice from just looking around. Professionals will know how to spot and search for other damages such as mould. If this goes untreated it can cause health problems or further damage to your business down the line, therefore spotting these other issues is vital. A professional restoration company will have the resources to detect and eliminate these contributory problems, as well as dealing with the initial flooding.

Business can carry on as usual

With some companies, like Cornerstone false floors, walls and boxed-in drying equipment being deployed means businesses are able to get back to work as quickly as possible, reducing the potential for many weeks business disruption. This unique approach helps keep businesses on track after they have experienced a difficult time. Therefore we recognise that when your office is damaged in a flood it can be very stressful for employees and business owners and that using a specialist company can help take the pressure off and get your company back up and running as quickly as possible.

At Cornerstone we fully understand how traumatic flooding events can be and the destruction it causes, and therefore we strive to be transparent in our decision making. We ensure our seamless process incorporates front-end client or policyholder interaction to confirm loss identification and any consequential health & safety issues. And, during the restorative period, the office based team will undertake pre-agreed channels of communication to ensure the client or policyholder are kept fully informed and that expectations are met.

Our unique surveyor–led system guarantees a uniform approach to affected materials and processes in accordance with Cornerstone Method Statements, reducing restoration timescales and returning quantifiable cost savings for both our clients and customers.

Flood Restoration Service Get in touch

19th December 2017
How to determine mould in the home by Cornerstone

How to determine if your home has mould

Mould is an issue that effects many homes around the UK. Mould grows where there is moisture, so is mainly found in areas such as kitchens, bathrooms and basements. Exposure to these damp and mouldy environments can cause various health issues for some people, including nasal stuffiness, throat irritation, coughing or wheezing, eye irritation and in some cases skin irritation, so it is important that you get rid of it and prevent it. Many people however are unsure of the warning signs of mould and some of them are actually quite difficult to spot, so here are some ways to tell if your property has a problem.

Appearance of Mould

In some areas it is easy to spot the appearance of mould, with it having slimy features and a dark green, black or yellow coloration. These are often found on walls and ceilings and develop into a more hairy appearance as the mould matures. Mould also easily rubs off the surface, which might seem like good news, but actually means it is more likely to have gone airborne, so you will still need to eliminate it from the source and prevent it from happening. Mould can grow underneath your flooring or behind your walls, so you might find bubbles and cracks in your paint and wallpaper and your walls could look warped.

Smell of Mould

Mould has a very strong smell, especially when it is confined to one area of your property. Even if you can’t see the mould itself it could be confiding in your walls or behind your wallpaper, so if you have a musty smell that you can’t quite pinpoint it could well be a sign that your property has mould.

Health Symptoms caused by mould

Are the residents in your home starting to have health issues, such as coughing or breathing issues, that don’t appear to be because of a cold or flu? Do these symptoms subside when they leave the house and come back when they return? This could be a good indicator that your house has mould, which is causing these problems.

Condensation and water issues

If you have excessive moisture on your windows or condensation in your building from your pipes, it will indicate there is a lot of moisture in your home, making it a great breeding ground for mould, so can indicate that mould is already present in your property. If you have had problems such a leak you are at more risk of having mould. Basements are very susceptible to getting mould as they often don’t have a lot of ventilation and often very cold, so if your house has a basement it is important to check this out for damp and mould.

Call in a professional

If you need help diagnosing whether your home has mould, Cornerstone have years of experience in diagnosing condensation, mould and fugal growth. Along with their experienced expertise, Cornerstone use a Remote Monitoring service of internal atmospheric conditions and give a detailed structural moisture survey that help clearly identify the existence of mould and where it is coming from.

Damp & Mould Services Get in touch

11th December 2017
FIRE-RESTORATION-CORNERSTONE

What to do when your building has been damaged in a fire

Fires can be devastating even when no one is hurt. Seeing a building damaged, whether it be from minor smoke damage or complete destruction, can be very distressing for the owners, especially when it is a company’s office and is affecting their business. The primary objective for most people is to return the damaged property to its pre-incident condition without compromising the environment and health and safety, resultant secondary damage and within a pre-specified timescale and costs. Here are our 5 recommend steps you should consider to achieve this:

1. Insurance

If you are a tenant in the building you will need to make sure that the owner is aware of the fire and damage. If you are the owner the first thing to do after your property has been involved in a fire is to contact your insurance company, to commence the insurance claim as quickly as possible. The buildings insurance should cover the costs of repairing the property and if you have contents insurance this will cover the cost of replacing and repairing any furniture or appliances in the building within the specific policy cover.

2. Call a Restoration Company

With acknowledgement from the insurer the next thing to do is to call a fire restoration company to give you an assessment of the property and any affected contents. It is important to do this as quickly as possible, so that the prevailing damage doesn’t lead to further deterioration. Do not enter the building unless you have been told that it is ok to do so by the emergency services or a professional company. After the professionals have assessed the situation they will be able to derive a plan of how to best restore the building and/or contents, determine how long it will take and how much it will cost. Any possessions that you want to keep will likely need to be removed and put into safe storage, with some companies offering this in their restoration services.

3. Restoration begins

The first thing the restoration company will do will be to make sure anything that could be causing further damage is a priority and dealt with quickly. This willalso ensure the building is completely secure before they continue with the works. For example, if the fire has resulted in a hole in the roof, they will make sure this is sealed in order to prevent any further damage, by inclement weather but also, any residual soot particles can lead to secondary deterioration of surfaces they reside upon.

4. The clean up

Once the initial decontamination has taken place to arrest any further deterioration, an assessment and drying of any water damage from busrt or leaking pipes or from extinguishing the fire will be undertaken. These areas will be dried and sanitised to minimise any potential heath issues and will include the eradication of residual odours as a result of the fire. This could include  dealing with fabrics and/or hard surfaces. The clean up process will include noting, listing and disposing of  any items are deemed beyomg economical repair.

5. Repairs

The next stage is to repair and restore the affected contents. Most restoration companies will take care of any dry cleaning and washing of fabrics around the home. If possessions are damaged beyond economical repair, the restoration company will advise your insurer so that any replacements can be secured. There are occasions where the damage restoration company can undertake timely structural repairs also and this will be in line with instructions from your insurance company.

Cornerstone can provide a professional evaluation and report for restoration or replacement with associated costs for damaged structural and contents materials typically based on the resultant surfaces conditions, post-fire conditions and any pre-existing conditions.

Our reliable service delivery encompasses:

  •  Emergency call out – electrics assessments / boarding up
  •  Structural cleaning – preventing secondary damage
  •  Structural drying – dealing with the extinguishing of a fire and the reactive outcome with soot particulate
  •  Fabrics and general contents – dry cleaning to off-site storage
  •  Specialist assessments of contents – fine art / document retrieval and storage / period furniture
  •  Full reinstatement (reconstruction) – where requested

For general enquiries about Fire Restoration or for a quote, call our expert team today 0344 846 0955.

Fire Restoration & Cleaning Service Get in touch

6th December 2017
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