The damage to buildings caused by fire can affect every aspect of the property – from its structure to its contents – depending on the severity of the incident. Some restoration projects are easier to carry out than others, with aspects such as building materials and access feeding into more common problems, such as timescales and temporary accommodation for anyone displaced by the emergency.
The overview of a complete restoration process is a multi-layered operation and project managing one involves a degree of coordination of trades and technicians. Access and numbers allowed to site can mean the schedule requires careful planning and time management.
We have worked on many different restoration projects over the years, of all sizes and scopes, and here are some recent highlights of our specialists’ work:
Terraced property in Liverpool
In 2020, we succeeded in winning a tender to restore a rented 80 to 100 year-old terraced property on Derby Lane, Liverpool. The cause of the damage had been a fire on the ground floor, which had also resulted in smoke drifting upstairs, affecting the upper storey and its contents. The family that lived there had young children, and they were all safely evacuated.
The post clean-up restoration process involved removing everything on the ground floor and adding a new kitchen and bathroom. The entire property had to be rewired and redecorated, including a new staircase and the two upstairs bedrooms. The wide-ranging renovation also featured new double glazing, central heating, plumbing and replastering throughout.
It took almost 12 weeks to fully restore the property, from June to August 2020. This is one of our most pleasing restorations, as everything seemed to fall into place – the job went smoothly, our customer relations were good, and everyone was pleased with the final finish.
Apartment in St Helens
In 2020, we carried out extensive fire restoration work at an apartment in St Helens. Some aspects of this project involved us working on the mains gas supply and boiler, making this a more complex project than some restorations we have to carry out. We had to liaise with the Housing Association and notify them of what we were doing. We also had to keep other residents in the apartment block informed of our activities, such as when the building electrics had to be turned off during the restoration work, for connections to be made.
The entire project took six weeks in 2020, from July to August. It’s often harder to work in an apartment than in a self-contained property, as there are all the associated complications and issues of shared access, amenities and space, which can sometimes be a challenge.
Residential property and garage
Perhaps the most complicated and pressing problem we face when carrying out fire restoration is having to work to very tight timescales. We carried out work at one property where our project had to be complete before work in an adjacent property commenced. The resident was an elderly woman, who could stay with her daughter, but wanted the job finished quickly, so she could return home.
We liaised with the property supplier to carry out the work, which encompassed a variety of aspects – an external garage had to be replaced, as well as a new kitchen and bathroom inside. Redecoration was also needed throughout, including the bulk of downstairs and the whole of upstairs. For the internal work, we had a lead time of two weeks, but there was also additional time needed for the replacement kitchen the resident wanted installed. This resulted in a six-week project overall, from April to May 2021.
The resident has now happily moved back into the property and is very pleased with the final results of our efforts. As for the exterior, a structural engineer is coming to assess the garage, which also has a summerhouse attached to it. This will take another two-to-four weeks, depending on the replacement design. In any project, replacements don’t always have to be like-for-like and can be brand-new, as long as they are in line with the insurance policy and in keeping what has been installed before.