Dealing with Water Damage: Our Personal Experience with Commercial Property Claims
At about 7 p.m. on Sunday, January 9, 2022, I got the call on my cell phone that no business owner wants: it was our property manager informing me that our office unit had significant water damage.
The drive to our office was filled with mixed emotions — nerves from not knowing what to expect and irritation from my interrupted Sunday night. After a 15 minute ride that felt like forever, I met the property management team and opened the door to six inches of water on the floor and humidity that indicated the water had been there for the better part of the weekend. As it turned out, a sink from the dentist office above had malfunctioned sometime between Friday afternoon and Sunday, leaking water into our space.
Filing a major claim
Fast forward to April 1st: we are back in our own space and firing on all cylinders. Having been through a major claim, I wanted to take a moment and share the details with you.
The claim broke down into three parts:
- Cleaning up the water
- Assessing the damaged business property
- Getting the physical space back together
Step 1: water remediation
We were lucky enough to schedule Region Construction Group in our office on the same day we discovered the damage to begin the water mitigation. They worked well into the night, setting up equipment and starting the process of drying the office. With the amount of water (and time it had been sitting), it took a good three or four days to dry out the space entirely.
Step 2: assessing the damage
We called Acuity, our insurance carrier, and the adjuster met us at the space. Upon their arrival, we went through the business property, carpeting, and shell of the office to determine the scope of the damage. Because of the volume of water, it turned out that the space needed to be gutted and redone.
As the drying process continued, we sent a list of all of the equipment and fixtures that were damaged beyond repair. Office cubicles, desks, computers, office supplies, copy and fax machine, and many other things all turned out to be totaled (or wet enough that it was determined that functionality might be compromised). The drywall, carpet, and ceiling were also total losses.
Step 3: renovations
Once this was determined, Region built an estimate for the repairs of the walls, ceiling and carpet and sent it to Acuity for approval. It is critical to make sure the scope of work matches the repairs to ensure the insurance carrier and restoration company are on the same page. Upon approval, Region went to work getting the office shell back together. In the meantime, we were tasked with confirming a list of damaged business property to send to Acuity. Once we got approval, the task of replacing all of the business property went into motion.
The other piece of the puzzle was where to set up while our space was being renovated. We were lucky to find space in our building only two doors down from the office. Firstech, our IT partner, got us new computers right away; TSR Solutions, who takes care of our phone equipment, got us new phone hardware and a temporary switch to move the phone service; and Region moved the warped desks as a temporary solution in the other space. We resumed operations the following Monday, January 17th.
The reconstruction process involved many moving parts, including:
- Ordering partitions and desks, a new copy machine, and office supplies
- City of Waukesha building permits
- Replacing drywall, cabling, and ceilings
- Painting the fresh walls
- Installing new carpet
After what seemed like a never-ending list, we moved back into the Lindow office space on April 1st.
As I have told many — and now can confirm having lived through one of these — we can help with the monetary parts of the claim (ours went about as smoothly as it could), but one should not underestimate the stress and additional hours of work that come into play when everything is gone and you have to replace it all.
Our agency was very fortunate to have the team rise to the challenge; everyone pitched in and got things moving. I am especially grateful to Samantha from our office for managing all of the moving parts and keeping the project heading towards completion. We had great partners along the way — and in the end, we survived.
The importance of support
It is never easy, but with the right support — it is possible. Thanks to all who made it happen. We don’t wish these things on anyone, but when they happen, we are not only here for you — we’re proud to be able to help.