UPDATED, June 24, 2022
In the aftermath of a fire, you’re mostly focused on a plan to recover from fire damage, minimizing the interruption to your home or business. You may hire fire restoration contractors to clean or remove items damaged by fire, smoke, and water, but have you considered what goes into fire restoration? Fires can compromise the structural integrity of your home or business, and a full restoration plan must include reconstruction based on a design from a licensed California engineering firm.
Fire Damage Restoration
After a business or house fire, the restoration process is mostly concerned with replacing and repairing property losses. A professional fire damage restoration service is equipped to completely restore affected property. A complete process includes damage assessment, removal of destroyed items, isolating damaged areas, preservation and temporary storage of unaffected items, specialty cleaning, advanced drying techniques, repair and replacement of items, and reconstruction.
Fire Damage Restoration Tips
Although reconstruction is a major element of fire damage repair, it’s an ideal time to replace what you had with something better. When you rebuild after a fire, think about the following objectives:
- Creating a safer and stronger structure
- Using fire-resistant or non-combustible building materials
- Implementing newer fire prevention and warning systems
- Making upgrades that leverage new technology, save money, or otherwise improve the function of your home or business
Now, consider the following fire damage restoration tips for a new structure that is better designed and equipped to resist fire damage.
Stability and Safety
You’ve heard the adage “safety first” before. One of the first things is to make sure that the structure is safe for entry. A licensed engineer that offers structural engineering services or inspector should first verify the stability of the structure before proceeding with any additional work.
Identify And Remove Damage
The next step is to identify parts of the structure that are damaged. Removal of damage may compromise the structure or require a contractor to demolish parts or all of your home or commercial property. Some damage may only be cosmetic.
Fire Rating And Material Analysis
When rebuilding a damaged structure, the new design needs to consider the type of materials used and the intended fire rating. An engineer may look at building materials that are better at withstanding or stopping a fire. The new design should include structural elements, such as walls, floors, ceilings, doors, etc. that can withstand fire for a longer period of time. This time frame is known as the fire rating.
Local building codes have minimum fire rating requirements, but the rebuilt structure can exceed these minimums for superior durability. The new design should also include the use of non-combustible materials, if feasible. Materials, such as concrete, steel, and cement blocks do not burn. Reconstruction and repair should include these materials, where feasible.
Fire Alarms and Sprinkler Installation
Rebuilding a better structure should also include fire suppression and prevention. This includes alarms, smoke detectors, and sprinkler systems that can help prevent a future fire. Local regulations may require commercial properties in particular to have a certain level of fire protection or suppression. Consider smart fire detection systems that can notify you or a local fire department of a problem.
Xactimate software is setting the industry standard as a powerful tool for contractors to estimate the costs for repairs and reconstruction for residential and small commercial buildings. Within the program, a user can generate sketches of plans and layouts and specify materials using the latest pricing databases to estimate the total cost to complete. With better cost estimating tools, contractors can provide realistic quotes for reconstruction to clients.
We are a licensed engineering firm in California with the knowledge, experience, and expertise to deliver structural engineering services to contractors, architects, developers, homeowners, and commercial business owners alike. We conduct a thorough evaluation of a fire-damaged property to determine its structural integrity. We support our clients as a one-stop shop of engineering services to redesign the structure. Our process looks something like this:
Post-Fire Damage Assessment
Before submitting permits to local officials, we determine the extent of fire damage and the structural integrity of your property. We leverage our knowledge of principal building services to complete an assessment.
As a civil engineering firm that provides architectural building plans and offers structural engineering services, our we will design and engineer building plans to implement corrective actions for a contractor to work with. Oftentimes on older structures, there will be a requirement for code upgrades to comply with current regulations depending on where you are.
For example, an attic fire may require a portion of the attic to be repaired so framing members would be assessed if they can be prepared or replaced. Depending on the extent of the damage to the whole house, that can require code upgrades. Therefore, insulation and windows would have to be updated. And if you’re in California, New title 24 energy calculations will need to do done.
Building Plans Submission
After careful planning and designing structure repairs, we will send the final plans to the contractor so they can continue with submission to local building officials for permitting.
After permits have been approved by building officials, we are available to answer any technical questions during the construction phase. This includes site visits to monitor construction anywhere in California as we have the ability to access different cities by plane. See our airport list for available destinations throughout California, with more locations being added throughout––including Oregon, Florida, Arizona, Nevada, and Texas.
If your business or home has experienced fire damage, it’s critical to consult a licensed engineer and contractor to get started on a plan for fire damage house repair and reconstruction. At Pasquini Engineering, Inc., we harness over 30 years of experience in engineering design and knowledge of California building codes to deliver reconstruction plans that are correct, complete, and constructible for a structure that is better than before. Contact us today to learn more about our fire damage restoration process and how you can get started.
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