The other week the severe wind Doris
caused all kinds of property problems. If anything is particularly loose at a property, then these weather conditions will unfortunately bring out the worst and cause all kinds of damage.
Often it’s obvious building-fabric elements like parts of the roof or cladding, but also those parts you wouldn’t automatically expect like windows and doors as they are opened or closed. In addition there are external land areas, for example boundary fences and trees and vegetation.
As with other extreme weather scenarios, there is a knack to focusing on what is needed during the event in addition to dealing with the aftermath afterwards. Therefore here are a few pointers to bear in mind for both during and after such an event, more general weather conditions as well as high winds:
1. Focus on People’s Safety
Particularly when the wind is still active, then you need to make sure people themselves are protected, and although this may sound obvious it’s something that can be missed in the heat of things happening.
Protecting people will always be more important than the building, so keeping an area out of reach and letting parts continue to literally fall apart needs to happen if needs be.
2. Notify the Insurers As Soon as Possible
The rough benchmark is that if such damage is from an unforeseen and unusual weather condition, then insurers will tend to process a fair claim. They will need of course to confirm this, but if it is a generally publicised weather condition then they will know this.
Even if a formal claim goes through afterwards, make a call or send an email to formally notify them and let them know as soon as possible.
3. Consider any Emergency Works
This can range from temporary doors and windows, to covering an area over, or cordoning an area off, to at least make safe and limit any further building damage as soon as possible. If it’s reasonable then insurers will generally cover these emergency works as part of the claim, but ideally check with them if you can do.
Sometimes though these just won’t be possible, so as an example, even though a roof covering has come off and water is then causing further damage, if the wind means it isn’t safe to access or the high-value cost with access means the insurers need to first agree it, then you’ll have to leave it alone and unfortunately let the building deteriorate further.
4. Make the Most of Final Works
So if a new door or roof area is needed as part of an insurance claim, see if you can use the opportunity to establish a better specification of works. Any additional cost could be fairly covered by the landlord or tenant rather than an insurance claim, but if you’re fair it’s a great opportunity to improve things.
5. Keep Communication Open
Remember that people will tend to panic, and if they’re not familiar with the procedure for dealing with then they can jump to worst-case scenarios. Therefore keep them updated, even if just a general update to all, and offer realistic time frames and answer all potential queries in order to reduce any further queries back.
Getting the Wind Back in Your Sails
Dealing with such freakish events can be daunting and cause panic, when in actual fact there should be procedures and insurance in place to correctly handle them. As you deal with the immediate problem at hand safely, begin steps to communicate and deal with the aftermath repairs and claims.
Of course to be really proactive, prepare for this before it even happens.