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Out Of Hiding

Damage management has traditionally been seen as a hidden resource, but the BDMA explain how it is emerging from the shadows and becoming a cornerstone in the industry.

There was a time when use of the term damage management resulted in a blank stare, or a response that made it clear few recognised this sector as having a distinct identity. Those who had heard of damage management assumed it was just an extension of the general cleaning functions required following a fire or flood.

In recent years, readers will have seen major advances in cleaning sciences and similarly, advances in science and technology have enabled greater understanding of what is possible in the field of recovery and restoration.

Education in incident assessment, triaging, mitigation, stabilisation and restoration following property damage have allowed damage management contractors to design solutions that offer the optimum outcome for both property owners and insurers, with decisions geared to specific needs.

The overall objective will be to deliver results that take into account the customer’s best interests in conjunction with the cost and life cycle of the claim, perhaps offsetting the cost of alternative accommodation or lengthy business interruption, against the use of advanced techniques which will allow a return to normal occupancy in a shorter space of time, with less disruption.

Alongside this period of technological development, the BDMA has provided training for insurers and loss adjusters, giving them an understanding of the practical application of damage


management and demonstrating the benefits of closer working relationships with contractors. The onset of the Winter Floods of 2013- 2014 was notable for the level of collaboration and communication between all parties, resulting in a more cohesive response to a surge situation than ever before.

Armed with greater understanding and experience of the added value professional damage management can offer, a number of insurers, loss adjusters and claims handling companies are now requiring companies in their supply chain to use BDMA accredited technicians on property claims, and recruitment for qualified damage management practitioners is higher than for many years.

The industry’s profile has become well established and growing recognition has led to its involvement in strategic arenas, providing input to wider industry thinking and contributing to research projects. Feedback and data shared with bodies such as the Association of British Insurers formed part of their briefing to the government during last winter’s floods. Furthermore, the commitment of a number of damage management companies to the ClimateWise Sustainable Claims Initiative is not only ensuring greener services at the point of delivery, but is also driving advances in technology, something that has been a feature of this sector’s increasing value.

A New Standard Now the industry is to have its own British Standard. ‘BS12999 – Damage Management’ is currently being developed by the British Standards Institution (BSI), under the chairmanship of the BDMA. The development panel includes contributors from the Cabinet Office, the Environment Agency, and bodies representing key industry sectors including insurers, emergency planners, facilities managers, the Construction Industry Research & Information Association (CIRIA), and others. This level of involvement is an acknowledgement of professional damage management as a key part of the national framework responsible for planning and responding to property damage. It is also an indication of the desire for closer working relationships and collaboration in order to deliver the best outcome as standard.

Individuals working in damage management can only benefit from this increasing recognition of their sector, and they have an important part to play in demonstrating the value they bring to the process through their professionalism and dedication to delivering best practice.

Damage management practitioners are no longer a hidden resource. They are the cornerstone of the fight to restore normality to those affected by fires, flooding and other property damage on a daily basis.

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