Fire Damage Mitigation.

Fire Damage Mitigation

Fire events are especially devastating to a building. The complexity of damage to a building due to fire is a result of the exceptional action of smoke. Smoke can penetrate wall, ceiling and floor cavities of a structure and cause unseen damage and odour. A thorough survey of a fire damaged building is therefore vital to determine the extent to which fire, heat and smoke has penetrated into and ultimately affected various building fabric and contents.

Smoke Characteristics

When surveying a fire damaged building, to provide accurate advice, DMA considers the many different smoke characteristics which will often include;

  • Heat created by smoke will often migrate to cooler areas which generally includes the higher levels of a structure
  • Smoke will flow in and around plumbing and electrical fixtures, which can result in smoke moving from space to space as a result of penetrating wall and ceiling cavities
  • The type and expanse of the smoke will greatly affect the fire damage restoration process and the timeframe in which mitigation measures should be enacted
Fire Damage Mitigation

Smoke Damage Causes 

Typical types of fire events which will leave smoke and residue include;

  • Man-made or synthetic materials. These are hydrocarbon (HC) materials such as Poly Vinyl Chlorides (PVC), plastic, fabrics and even electronics which will cause thick black smoke and will result in smeary residues. This damage is not easy to clean and requires specialist attention including dry-chemical cleaning and vacuuming.
  • Protein rich substances which includes many food groups, will burn slow, contain minimal heat and can often result in a sticky yellowish brown residue when the organic materials evaporate. This damage is cleaned with the appropriate proportioned cleaning solutions.
  • Natural substances which includes timber, paper and some natural rubbers and leathers, will burn fast and at high temperature and often result in dry powdery residues which are often black in colour. Detailed wire brushing and sanding, dry-chemical cleaning and vacuuming are typical cleaning solutions.

In addition to the initial fire and smoke damage, significant water damage from firefighting efforts and fire suppression systems is also very common and often equally damaging. Where this occurs, DMA’s damage mitigation advice will often replicate those comparable to water and mould damage mitigation.

Fire Damage Mitigation

Trained Specialist

As fire damage claims can be a complicated process, DMA’s damage mitigation advice immediately preceding an event is critical and will therefore include specialist advice on the following key subjects;

  • Fire and smoke restoration
  • Water damage mitigation
  • Odour control
  • Building fabric cleaning
  • Building fabric protection

Fire Damage Mitigation Process

In order to prevent irreversible damage to a buildings structure and its contents, creating an appropriate action plan is very important following a fire event. Immediately following an event, DMA will promptly identify the type of smoke damage which has occurred and determine the appropriate cleaning and restoration process based on the information identified during this initial stage.

Whilst the damage mitigation process is required to be very thorough and detailed, the key steps considered includes;

Step 1.

Undertake a detailed survey to determine the extent of the fire and smoke damage and determine the scope needed to clean and restore the damaged building fabric.

Step 2.

Consider the effects of the fire and smoke on various building fabric. Understand what materials are affected by fire and smoke and consider the appropriate method to enact the cleaning and restoration scope.

Step 3.

Determine what building fabric or contents require protection or relocation away from the affected areas.

Step 4.

Consider protection solutions for the unaffected building fabric or unaffected areas of the building.

Step 5.

Record a detailed inventory of both affected and unaffected building fabric and contents and determine what can be cleaned and what should be replaced.