You never know what you will face as a professional home manager. In spite of preventative maintenance and everyone's best efforts, on any given day one of the mechanical systems may fail causing an unforeseen disaster. These mechanical breakdowns are costly and of course given the luxury finishes and fixtures of an estate, the damage can be thousands, if not hundreds of thousands of dollars depending on the circumstance.
One of the most devastating situations to face is water damage. Chubb is the world's largest publicly traded property and casualty insurance provider, and they have an entire initiative devoted to leak detection and water damage mitigation. According to the Insurance Information Institute instances of water damage have been rising dramatically. In the past 10 years, the frequency of sudden pipe bursts has nearly doubled. In 2015, water damage accounted for nearly half of all property damage and insurance claims, a larger risk than fire and theft combined. A new survey from Chubb finds that while on vacation, just 19% of homeowners view internal water leak damage as the most concerning home threat. While homeowners are particularly vulnerable during the summer travel season, the study finds many face year-round water exposures, and only 18% of those surveyed have installed a water leak detection device. More on this study can be found here.
Many years ago when I was a full time estate manager, I faced one of these scenarios. On a Saturday morning, I got a panicked call from the homeowners saying a pipe had burst from the master bedroom and "buckets and buckets" of water were pouring through the flooring, leaking all over the kitchen below, and the beautiful hardwood floors were covered in at least an inch of water. I raced over to my principals home to see the scene, and believe me, I was horrified and so sad for them! I immediately started calling vendors to assist and was in full emergency project management mode! The house water was shut off and the plumber was called...promising they were on their way, but we still had to deal with the water on the floor. I called our local disaster restoration services company and they suggested we rent floor rescue mats. I had never heard of these before, and they explained that it was a suction system that helped pull the water out from underneath the floorboard of the hardwood floor to try and prevent them from taking on water and buckling. We wet vacuumed all the standing water on the floors and started fans running, then I set out to the industrial supply rental company to get a rescue mat system.
There is a video on YouTube that explains how the system works, and I highly encourage you to take a quick look. Everyone working in private service (in fact, ever homeowner) should know about these! The system is simple, it is a series of plastic mats with a high powered suction tube system that extracts the water from between the floor boards, and I was amazed...even speechless as to how much water they were extracting from the floor! We let the mats run day and night for 72 hours, moving them around to different locations until the suction heads were no longer extracting any water from the floor. Ultimately, there was still a small section of flooring that had to be replaced, but this system saved 80% of the floor below and the homeowners were very thankful that something could be done to salvage their investment.
It is never easy to deal with a disaster on the estate, but knowing what can be done to help with the damage was key to saving the property from further issues. In private service it is so important to continually educate yourself to be a better facility manager, and learning what disaster cleanup techniques are necessary in the event of an emergency will save the owner's time and money. I hope this information is beneficial for someone in the future, and if you wish to have your staff trained in emergency management, and a facility resource guide created for your estate, please contact Luxury Lifestyle Logistics to schedule a complimentary consultation today.