Friday, August 14th, 2020 by Robert Rowe
One of the first things insurance carriers require in order to make a coverage determination is the Source of Loss. Determining the source of loss is not always easy or straightforward. Sometimes you have to think outside of the box. In this particular claim, the insured was trying to complete repairs to an inherited property in order to place the house on the market. The structure was over a mold damaged finished partial basement and the rest of the structure was over a crawlspace. Previous inspections by plumbers and inspectors could not determine the source of loss.
Our team was selected to inspect and prepare an estimate for Remediation and Repairs. I went out to walk the property with our Mitigation Crew Chief. We walked the entire inside of the property and carefully documented all our material readings and findings, reviewing all the usual suspects for plumbing, appliance, roof, window, door leaks and could find nothing conclusive. The crawlspace and finished basement kitchen area exibited very high relative humidity readings, wet drywall, baseboard and toekick readings, and dripping wet condensation on cast iron plumbing fixtures in the crawlspace, but no obvious plumbing leak. The crawlspace had a moisture barrier, in fair condition, but the soil under the barrier was not obvioulsy wet nor were there any signs of puddling.
I decided we must not be seeing the entire picture and began a slow walking inspection around the exterior of the structure. What I found along the back elevation of the home which correspondes exactly to the interior kitchen area of the basement was painfully obvious upon inspection. The downspount actually drains into the soil in a corner where one of several HVAC units sit and drain condensate into the soil along the foundation wall as it transitions to basement from crawlspace, water had been intruding the structure at this point for years. The brick facade is saturated, and microbial activity is evident in the mortor and brick all the way up to the eaves.
We prepared our estimate for the interior work and recommended that the owner hire a foundation expert to address the drainage, and water intrusion aspects of the structure.
Ultimately, we were not awarded the job for coverage reasons, however this illustrates the need to look further, and hire an experienced company to evaluate the Source Of Loss for your Property Claim.
Whether you have a small loss, insurance claim, or whole house disaster needing a ground up rebuild.
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