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General Questions:

 Why do I need DSi Reports?

DSi does not possess a “Conflict of Interest” like the others involved in the project.

 Contractors are conflicted since they have the prospect of a larger invoice if they can inflate the scope of work… and / or… they can try and preserve their relationships with insurers or property owners by performing “incomplete” work.

Insurance claims representatives are conflicted in that their job description includes an effort to “control loss severity.” This can translate into pressure to minimize or ignore important elements of a complete scope of restoration work performed on the project.

Even homeowners themselves possess a conflict of interest. They stand to gain if the scope of work exceeds what is necessary.

Sometimes a competitive restoration contractor is called in to perform a “peer review” of another contractor’s work. This is the least likely to be an objective evaluation and an explanation is clearly unnecessary.

The only way to manage these obvious conflicts of interest is to involve an established expert on the subject of structural restoration so that the needs of the job can be established by a neutral party who does not stand to gain from the facts collected from the project.

 

What makes DryStandard Reports so special?

The list of unique values is very long, but here are a few highlights: Compared to conventional records of drying conditions, DryStandard Reports provide the readers with easy to understand statements. Emailed daily, only DryStandard Reports provide the following calculations:

DRYING SUMMARY AT-A-GLANCE
1. Today’s Drying Progress: 6% since the last inspection.
2. Moisture Removal Rate: 60.9 gallons per day.
3. Drying Force:
45% stronger than when first inspected.
35% stronger than the speculated normal environment.
4. Proximity to Completion: 92% completed.
5. DryStandard™ “Crystal Ball Prediction”*: 7/12/2016

For the first time – you are notified of the progress being made on the project, the “strength” of the drying processes, how far along in the drying process it is – and – based on the current rate of drying, when the drying will be done! If you are unsatisfied with the drying process that is underway, simply call your contractor to discuss your options.

Each email has a hyperlink to a pdf version of the complete formal technical report with all of the technical data. When the project is satisfactorily dry, an authentic Certificate of DryStandard™ is provided for both the insurance carrier and the property owner for legal purposes.

No other program provides this – and dozens of other – critically important functions.

Who pays for DSi Services and Products?

Any entity who engages DSi by signing our agreement is ultimately responsible for payment.

However, in an insurance claim, these services may be covered under the terms of the policy.

Ideally, DSi is retained by the property owner and we communicate directly with them. With the permission of the customer, we will also communicate with others (the contractor and / or the insurer). Once DSi’s services are completed, and invoice will be given to the property owner that they can then forward to their insurance claims representative for reimbursement. These third party expert inspector fees may be covered under the policy’s “Claims Preparation” allowances that do NOT count against policy limits.

If the contractor retains DSi for their services, an invoice will given to them that can then be included in their final invoicing as a sub contracted service.

If the insurer retains DSi for their services, an invoice will be given to them for payment directly to DSi.

Are DSi Inspections Expensive?

No! … Not for “real,” expertly prepared and interpreted reports!

The word “expensive” is a subjective to the buyer and value of the product provided. Insurance claims representatives demand (!) comprehensive documentation and drying records to substantiate the contractor’s activities and charges. The fact is that documentation services provided (and directly produced by the contractors performing the work) in many insurance claims are grossly underpaid by insurance claims representatives – or disallowed entirely. The contractor usually must produce these documents at a financial loss – and that’s far from desirable for ANY for profit business.

The end result is that rather than lose money, the contractor must somehow produce reports that control this financial hemorrhage. Any reasonable person can imagine how this might be done: 1. Send the least expensive / least qualified person to the job to collect some data. 2. Obligate the technicians to provide data on their paperwork every day – it doesn’t matter if it is real. 3. The project manager drafts data from the comfort of their office for submission to the file.

In each of these cases – there are implications for all involved. Some implications include allegations of fraud… on an insurance claim!  Not good!

The solution is found by subcontracting the documentation services out to highly qualified subcontracting experts from DSi. The documentation is real – verifiable with photo documentation. The meters are of highest quality, and verified to be calibrated. The data is expertly interpreted and reported daily in formal documentation to all authorized parties. The prices charged for these third party services reflect a fair price for the value of the services rendered by the third party expert!

We encourage contractors to simply inform their customers and insurance claims representatives that they simply do not provide documentation services on their projects. They are insufficiently compensated by insurers when the contractor is asked to produce them – and therefore, not a component of their catalogue. Rather… they subcontract the service to DSi – and the subcontractor’s charges will be reflected in the final billing.

My Policy Has a Mold and Bacteria Policy Limit or Exclusion. Do Categorization Services Prompt This Policy Coverage Limitation?

While we cannot interpret policy coverage; (only an attorney or an adjuster can do that), this is a very important question!

The industry standard defines Category of Water as:

Category of Water: the categories of water, as defined by this document, refer to the range of contamination in water, considering both its originating source and quality after it contacts materials present on the job site. Time and temperature can affect or retard the amplification of contaminants, thereby affecting its category. Restorers should consider potential contamination, defined as the presence of undesired substances; the identity, location and quantity of which are not reflective of a normal indoor environment; and can produce adverse health effects, cause damage to structure and contents or adversely affect the operation or function of building systems. (Highlighted text added for emphasis)

At no point does the definition of Category limit the identification of contamination to either mold or bacteria. In fact, on the subject of the presence of mold on the project, the standard states in Section 10.4.2:

“For situations involving visible or suspected mold, refer to the current version of ANSI/IICRC S520 Standard and Reference Guide for Professional Mold Remediation. The presence of any of these substances does not constitute a change in category; but qualified persons shall abate regulated materials, or should remediate mold prior to drying. (Highlighted text added for emphasis)

When DSi tests for biological load, we are not solely seeking evidence of the presence of mold or bacteria. We are usually testing for the presence of both viable and non-viable biological organisms. Mold (fungi) and bacteria are two completely different kingdoms of biology. They are not the same. Other biological kingdoms that may be present and influence the determination of category include viruses and parasites. (Berry et al, 1994).

It may also be possible that your policy may cover the decontamination of the structure if the elevated contamination is introduced as a result of a covered peril or due to delays imposed by the insurance carrier. (Research the expression “proximate causation.”) The mold / bacteria policy limitation may be specific to a certain set of conditions that are different from your situation. You may find value in seeking professional and / or legal counsel if your insurer suggests you are not covered due to this alleged policy limitation.

What is DSi’s Position on “Moisture Maps?”

DSi’s answer may annoy some – but let’s think about it for a bit.

Moisture maps are stated to be “required documentation” according to the industry’s Standard called the ANSI / IICRC S500-2015 Standard and Reference Guide for Professional Water Damage Restoration. It states in section: “§9.2.4 Required Documentation The documents and records obtained and maintained by the restorer shall include documents required by applicable laws, rules and regulations promulgated by federal, state, provincial, and local governmental authorities. This includes appropriate safety and health documentation.

While this is not an exhaustive list, to the extent these documents exist, documents and records should be obtained and maintained by the restorer to include the following:

  • moisture map;”

The S500 does not define a “moisture map,” other than in section 10.6.8: “The extent of moisture migration should be documented using one or more appropriate methods including at a minimum a moisture map (i.e., a diagram of the structure indicating the areas affected by migrating water).”

Definitions:

Map: a diagram or other visual representation that shows the relative position of the parts of something.” https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/map

Diagram:A diagram is a symbolic representation of information according to some visualization technique.”

Picture: 1 : a design or representation made by various means (such as painting, drawing, or photography)

2  : a description so vivid or graphic as to suggest a mental image or give an accurate idea of something

DSi’s Position: When carefully composed, photographs can be a “vivid description / graphic that can be used to give an accurate idea of something,” especially as it relates to water damage reporting.

Some contractors draw a floor plan “free hand” or acquire a computer generated floor plan and indicate with colored pencil or pen “where the water was found on the project.” How ACCURATE do you think this artist’s rendition of where the water was found on the project?! The contractor would then also indicate with a symbol – where the equipment was placed on that floor plan. How accurate do you think that is?

These ad hoc “moisture maps” are completely inadequate for the purpose of answering any questions posed by a critic. Moisture Maps are very tedious and expensive (time consuming) to produce – and fail to provide compelling evidence for those seeking answers to questions! … Questions like what did the water affect, and where was the equipment placed on the project? (Seriously – crayons on paper… or colored lines on a floor plan??! That’s “professional reporting??”)

DSi has found a better solution:

Comprehensive optical and thermal images are far more truthful and meaningful when presented in an interpretable fashion and is FAR MORE economical than tedious drawings. DSi effectively uses technology – like photographs – to answer the questions being posed by those seeking to justify the needs of the project. Photos are FAR more compelling than someone’s artistic renditions and drawing(s).

What is DSi’s guarantee?

In answer to this question, part of the statement of limitations and conditions of use of these reports include:

Categorization and Clearance Reports: “Data within this report is provided with the full knowledge that it does not necessarily represent all potential contaminants in all areas of the building. Other surfaces and substances may possess a greater or lesser degree of contamination. The readings and interpretation represent only the locations tested and the moment in time in which the tests were performed. Data collected and the interpretation provided in this report in no way guarantees the structure will remain in this condition as sources of contaminants can be introduced through known and unknown sources. Readers are encouraged to use this report in conjunction with their own best judgment in the protocols employed on their project. This report does not imply a shared risk in the restoration efforts employed. Warranties and guarantees are limited to the monetary value issued in payment for the services in preparation of this report.”

IDSO DryStandard™ Report: “…The IDSO DryStandard™ Report does not guarantee, nor make any inferred claim that the structure is protected from, or even less likely to suffer damage from future moisture intrusions. The findings mentioned in this report are reflective of the moment in time that the inspector conducted the tests, and by the very nature of hygroscopic materials, are constantly changing according to the environmental conditions. …”

I have questions about my report(s). May I speak to someone?

Usually, yes! However – please be very aware that in some cases, confidentiality must be honored when demanded by the customer. It is not uncommon for a customer to stipulate who the consultant is permitted to speak to. Please, do not take it personally if the consultant informs you that they are not permitted to speak to you. If that happens, you should direct your questions to the entity who hired DSi.

If you are permitted to speak to DSi / the consultant, we respectfully ask:

Please (!)… have your question(s) clearly articulated so that the consultant can provide you with the best possible answer as quickly as possible. Ideally, such communications are kept to just a few minutes.

How do “I” become an RTPE or a DSi Inspector?

DSi is growing and is recognized to provide a real solution to the insurance industry’s very intense challenges.

If you wish to be recognized by your peers as an industry expert with the Registered Third Party Evaluator® (RTPE) designation, we encourage you to visit www.registeredtpe.com . In short, IICRC designations are good stepping stones toward your advanced education (RIA, ACAC etc.), but in itself do not qualify an individual to be awarded the RTPE.

If you wish to participate as a DSi inspector, you are encouraged to contact DSi for an application. DSi inspectors are expected to have several years of field experience working on actual restoration projects. They should have multiple IICRC courses under their belt. Importantly, they should be fascinated with technical subjects (physics, meters, chemistry, mechanics etc.) and love the documentation side of the business. This is not a “desk job” although there will likely be some office work from time to time. Good customer skills and a strength in communication is necessary.  Contact DSi for an application – and we will hopefully work together soon!

Insurance Company Questions:

 Other contractors provide their own drying reports. Why should anyone pay for a third party inspection and documentation service?

 The conflict of interest carried by a contractor who declares “what is wet” and “when it is dry” is obvious. They frequently have several thousands of dollars at stake in such a determination. Properly configured, a third party will have absolutely no financial interest in the drying equipment revenue. Just like environmental (mold) inspections, it is only prudent to have a third party document such conditions.

  1. Moisture meters wear out and easily go out of calibration. A third party expert keeps their sensitive instruments in good repair and regularly calibrated. You are likely to have heard the phrase “garbage in… garbage out.” Drying record value and interpretation is sensitive to the accuracy of the data.
  2. When desired, the third party documentation expert can be a restorative drying expert consultant and can be used in expert witness testimony. This can validate that the process employed a strategy that was usual, customary and only what was needed.
  3. When possible, every moisture meter reading is photo-documented and included in the formal technical report. You are assured that the readings are not fictitious numbers that are conjured up by an unqualified technician sitting in the seat of their vehicle.
  4. A qualified third party documentation expert typically arrives at a project with more than $25,000 of moisture detection technology. The result is a qualified inspection product with conclusive reports.

Furthermore, let’s be honest… many contractors and their technicians simply do not possess strengths in the paperwork side of things. The data is frequently non-interpretable, confusing, conflicting or simply wrong. It’s presented in a fashion that produces more questions than it does answers. Dare we say it:… many are very hard working, blue-collar workers driven to get the job done far more than they are “analytical and technical types who love the paperwork side of things.”

 

Other contractors do their own documentation rather than subcontract it out. Does this obligate all contractors to do their own?

 No. By definition, a general contractor contracts specialty work to sub-contractors. There is nothing “unskilled” about producing quality drying documentation and skillfully deploying drying equipment according to a drying plan. This is particularly true as it relates to the latest edition of the S500-2015 that describes the need to modify equipment quantities and placement throughout the drying process. At no time does the S500 declare the equipment formulas within it to be capable of drying… anything. That’s not how they are to be used. A third party expert understands this truth and knows how to manage the equipment so that they produce the best possible drying results.

 

Isn’t drying documentation a “cost of doing business?”

Yes! There is no question that there is a cost to producing quality drying documentation. But this is not to be confused with “business overhead” costs. Even Xactimate states, “The building cost data published by Xactware is not designed to be inclusive of sales tax, General O&P, or Job-Related O&P within the unit prices.”   Overhead are business expenses that are not directly related to the project – like vehicle insurances, warehouse rental and office telephones. The drying documentation is a specific task related to each individual project performed on the structures being restored. They are a justifiable expense to the job and an important component of the standard of care to be followed (S500-2015) – but they are by no means an element of “business overhead.” The costs associated with the documentation are chargeable to the customer. The contractor would not have the expenses of producing these reports if it were not for being the contractor on this project. It’s an expense to the job – not the contractor.

Is drying documentation included in the rental costs of the drying equipment?

 No! Popular estimating software programs clearly describe the rental equipment to NOT include daily monitoring.

Third party documentation services seem expensive. Will this inflate the cost of the project?

 It is unlikely. A qualified third party documentation service identifies the equipment that is no longer necessary on the project and informs the contractor that it is no longer needed. A verification that the equipment is operating according to expectations is also conducted. The result: structures dry efficiently and only with the equipment that is deemed necessary.

Rather than misusing the S500 equipment recommendations (that are not a component of the standard of care to be followed), and leaving them there for 3 or 4 days (regardless of necessity) and then producing documentation that is essentially meaningless, a third party expert can manage the drying equipment according to a plan. That usually nets a savings in costs on a project.

Industry (S500) Standard Questions: 

Does the industry standard (ANSI / IICRC S500-2015) speak of the use of third party drying consultation services?

 Yes!

Formal Technical Report by RTPE (IEP); Preliminary Determination (§ 1.2.2, 10, 10.6.7, 12.1, 12.2, 12.3, ) and / or Post Remediation Verification Report (§ 13.4.4) Water Categorization Report and / or “Clearance” Report. Photographic validation of meter data assembly and presentation included per IICRC S500-2015 (§ 9.2.5).

The 2015 version of the S500 and S520 heavily emphasize the use of independent third party “specialized experts” on restoration projects. This is in response to prudent practices leading to a responsible restoration protocol reflecting usual and customary practices as demonstrated by competent restoration professionals.

 

Will adherence to the equipment formulas mentioned in the industry standards (ANSI/IICRC S500) result in competently dried structures?

 This idea is perhaps the greatest disservice facing the restorative drying industry today. At no time does the industry standard(s) claim these equipment formulas possess the capability of drying … anything. The air mover formulas are carefully worded prompts for the restorer to address the specific needs of the project (presence of contents, room shape irregularities, varying affected gypsum areas etc.). It is not a mandatory equipment count necessary for a competent drying plan. The dehumidifier formulas are not a component of the “standard of care” to be followed. They are casual suggestions, friendly advice for the “initial” (start, beginning) of the drying process when an anticipated humidity spike can result from turning on the air movers. The standard carefully states that the restorer can use any formula they wish – even their own. Further, for all equipment formulas mentioned in the ANSI / IICRC S500 standard, “technician discretion is advised.” A competent restorer deviates from these formulas.

Is a competent drying strategy accomplished within a “3-day” time period?

At no time does the ANSI / IICRC S500 reference any timeframe expectations for drying materials. In fact, the British Damage Management Association (BDMA) Standards 2011; Guidelines Relating to the Protocols and Procedures for Dealing with Incidents or Perils that Damage Properties describes the simplest of water intrusions taking 3 to 7 days to dry and more complicated water intrusions taking 21 to 45 days to dry. Many have concluded that the 3-day drying idea started with a corporate marketing campaign. The Laws of physics are not obligated to comply with a marketing campaign. In fact, some materials that are dried in a 3-day timeframe can be permanently damaged (hardwood, plasters, paint finishes, cementitious materials etc.) A competent drying strategy will manage these potential risks with care and attention to the preservation of the appearance and function of the structural elements addressed.

Contractor Questions:

Why doesn’t DryStandard Report Software produce “floor plans” that can indicate where the inspection sites are as well as where the equipment was placed?

Some drying record software programs include a floorplan, an item that is usually included in popular estimating programs. Duplicating the tedious and time-consuming process of redrawing floorplans is redundant. Further, a floorplan provides no legitimate value to a drying documentation record since it fails to accurately show the actual conditions within the drying chamber. On the other hand, a comprehensive photographic record indicates a much more compelling record of the equipment type and placement within the specific drying chamber(s). A “moisture map” in the industry’s standard (ANSI / IICRC S500-2015 §9.2.4, 9.2.5, 10.6.8) is an element of documentation necessary in performing the initial moisture inspection to determine … the extent of moisture migration…” By definition, a map is “a picture or chart that shows the different parts of something.” (Mirriam Webster). A photograph accommodates this objective. The Standard does not describe moisture maps as describing the locations of the inspection sites nor placement of equipment on a daily basis. DryStandard™ Report Software relies upon photographic records to indicate the information relevant to the drying process rather than an “artist’s rendition” of claimed equipment placement or inspection site locations.

I would LOVE to use DSi Services! How do I begin the process?

It’s easy! Call us and arrange to meet with your local DSi Representative. There will be no pressure, very low risk, – and in fact, you will wonder why you haven’t started sooner.

We all know that the drying documentation part of the process is big pain to produce – and the fees suggested by “estimate software programs” for this “monitoring” service don’t even come close to covering your costs. The meters you provide to your field technicians are VERY expensive – and they lose or break them all the time. Furthermore, the reviewers of your records use the data AGAINST you rather than validate your processes. Why would you continue to provide that service?!

We encourage you to simply inform your customers (and claims adjusters) that you do not provide this documentation service any more. You are not obligated to perform that service – and in fact, when you DO perform the service in house, it presents many business problems for you. When you choose to subcontract that service out to a qualified expert found at DryStandard Inspections, all parties involved can rest assured that the data is real, collected competently, interpreted expertly… and truly non-conflicted.

Call us today!