I have recently been involved with a criminal liability and negligence claim in which a restoration contractor - through several breaches of legislation and negligence - caused both harm to a policyholder and damage to their property.
Unfortunately for the contractor, it was quite easy to prove liability against them.
The contractor failed in their statutory obligations and failed in their general duties of care - in short they couldn’t demonstrate or prove due-diligence.
In damage management it is important that organisations and practitioners understand risk, liability and due-diligence - general principles taught on all Dewpoint courses.
The responsibility is for organisations and practitioners to put them into practice…
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Following the major flooding events over the last winter (2015/16), the government were to hold an enquiry into strategies to prevent future occurrences. The report - due to be published late July has been postponed - ‘for a few more weeks’.
It is estimated that 5 million homes in England alone at risk of flooding, with potential restoration and repair costs in the hundreds of millions to several billion.
There used to be talks of ‘1 in a hundred years floods’ and ‘1 in fifty years’, now those have become 1 in 10, 1 in 5 and if you’re unlucky to live in some parts of the country - it is typically every year!
So what causes a flood?
Global warming? Building on flood-plains? Concreting large surface areas? Cutting Environment Agency and local authority budgets? Or water?
There are proactive flood prevention programmes strategically designed to protect certain areas and many ‘domestic-focused’ protection products - but for the most part - up to now, measures seem to be more reactive - trying to mitigate and reduce negative impacts to as low as possible.
Given the past history of damage management responses over the years, in general, practices have improved - although, from my personal opinion, there is still room for improvement - of which I’m sure there will be agreement.
Unfortunately, there still seems to be a lack of communication and coordination between insurers, adjusters, surveyors and contractors. Perhaps it’s time - while the government focuses on prevention - we can all focus on designing a more ethical, sustainable, integrated and consistent approach to help those unfortunate homes and business’s…
So, will we ever prevent flooding? Not unless we can stop rain. But we can help to reduce the impact, burden, misery and costs - surely that’s something to aim for!
A final thought. Whilst some parts of the world experience disastrous weather-related flooding - other parts experience devastating drought and famine. What irony…
I was recently made aware of a news article relating to a single-parent and her young family living in unhealthy social housing. The property suffers from “damp”, mould and “mite” infestation.
The result of these conditions is ill-health. Although the article mentions attempts to remedy the situation - the unhealthy conditions continue.
Quote: ” The council has had letters from doctors and health visitors but it says we are in the right bandwidth for council homes and won’t move us.”
Upon reflection, this is not an isolated case. I myself have been involved in numerous “mould-related” incidents - and it is important to point out that in the majority of cases - mould was just one of many problems.
In my experience there seems to be a lot of misunderstanding, conflicting information and common misconceptions.
In all of these situations - as well as mould and Ill-health being evident, there seems to be a lack of investigation.
Money is always a key element - everyone wants the problem to “go away” but no-one wants to pay for it!
Another issue is responsibility - “no-one wants to accept any responsibility” and “everyone else is to blame.”
Mould remediation - often needs collaboration and a joint responsibility to identify all the causes - primary and contributory - without that - there will always be a problem…
Laurence Mitchell - Dewpoint Trainer
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