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The future of damage management

According to the BDMA, tomorrow’s damage management, like tomorrow’s cleaning will be a far cry from the industry most people would recognise from just a few years ago.

A commitment by the British Damage Management Association (BDMA) to raising the profile of this sector through collaboration and transparency at the highest levels, combined with increased incidences of flooding and the effects of other extreme weather events, has led to widespread recognition of the role of professional damage management.

Cleaning companies will of course come across problems related to water and fire damage on a regular basis. However, the importance of applying specific procedures when dealing with fire residues, contamination, escape of water, flood damage and residual damp is not always understood.

A professional approach to drying out properties affected by water ingress is essential if secondary damage and subsequent side effects are to be avoided. As a high proportion of water damage is dealt with under insurance claims, insurers are increasingly looking to ensure that contractors are properly qualified to deliver appropriate and cost effective results. They understand that recovery and restoration services, particularly in relation to water and fire damaged properties, should not be undertaken without appropriate knowledge and expertise.

There have been a number of advances in both the science and methodology of drying out buildings in recent years and many of the

traditional assumptions about the management of water damage have been replaced by highly technical solutions which are constantly being improved and updated. Targeted drying and the use of advanced drying techniques offer major bottom line benefits over procedures that were common practice until quite recently.

‘Stripping out’ is a good example of a practice that was accepted as the norm and is now acknowledged as unnecessary and inadvisable in the majority of water damage cases. It used to be argued that ripping out plaster, and the ensuing reinstatement process, was less costly than applying the latest advanced drying techniques. However, this is a misleading assumption, especially bearing in mind the insurers’ objectives of keeping overall claims cost as low as possible, while achieving increased customer satisfaction.

Significant advances have also taken place in the recovery of building contents and many items which would once have been automatically consigned to a skip can now be satisfactorily restored.

The fact is that a modern scientific approach to drying out results in overall savings, with property owners returning to their homes or businesses within a much shorter period of time. Furthermore, a preference for restoration over replacement is seen as contributing to greener and more sustainable outcomes.

DAMAGE MANAGEMENT 64 | TOMORROW’S CLEANING | The future of our cleaning industry

Traditionally a high proportion of damage management practitioners come from the cleaning sector and there is a natural synergy between the two professions, but it is important to realise it is no longer possible to simply order some kit and start taking on restoration work.


Any contractor offering this type of service should be aware of the need to acquire specialist training and professional qualifications before undertaking restoration of water or fire damaged properties. The BDMA now trains and accredits insurance and loss adjusting personnel in damage management protocols, enabling them to recognise acceptable solutions and challenge inappropriate activity. Some insurers already require proof of technicians’ qualifications in damage management disciplines and, as efforts are made to establish clear protocols for responding effectively to surge events such as major flooding, the demand for professional expertise and minimum standards will increase.

Information on gaining accreditation and access to further information can be found on the BDMA website, while the BDMA Conference at the end of the year will provide an excellent opportunity for finding out more about modern damage management, exhibiting products and services and networking with delegates from a wide range of industry sectors.

All pictures courtesy of Richfords Fire & Flood.

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