Appointed by the Royal Sun Alliance insurer, TSS Survey managed the repair claim works to repair a property extensively damaged by internal flooding caused by a first-floor leak.
The damage to the house was the result of a failed pipe fitting behind the shower in the first-floor bathroom which caused the escape of water. The cause of the leak may well have been attributed to poor workmanship undertaken by the original builder when installing the pipework or simply a poor quality fitting.
All rooms had been affected by the escape of water with the exception of the first-floor rear bedrooms.
- All chipboard flooring within the affected first floor rooms needed to be renewed as the joints had started to swell.
- The property was built with the first-floor wall partitions constructed on top of the chipboard flooring after the whole of the chipboard flooring was laid to form the first-floor level of the property. This meant that the plasterboard from the first-floor wall partitions needed to be removed, the stud partitions needed cutting out at low level and the flooring needed to be removed from under the sole plates of the partitions.
- The joists supporting the first-floor level were engineered “I” beam joists which formed part of the structural integrity of the property and therefore care had to be taken to ensure they were not compromised throughout the repair.
- The ceiling in the ground floor lounge (which had been partially removed by others) needed to be renewed. The walls to the ground floor level had been damaged by others when the skirting boards had been removed and required repair and replacement in places.
All the rooms required full redecoration including emulsion to the walls and ceilings, and primer coat, undercoat and gloss finish to the woodwork and doors.
The electrics required testing and an associated report producing stating what, if any, damage had been caused by the escape of water.
End-to-end customer care:
From the initial appointment and the attendance by our TSS surveyor to provide the report and estimate, the subsequent pre-start meeting with our nominated supplier once the works had been approved, to the timely completion of a quality job, the team provided a high-quality service and positive customer journey.
TSS Survey worked closely with our nominated suppliers to devise a realistic programme of works. We kept the policy holder informed throughout and did our best to help them during this time of significant disruption, ensuring their home was returned to its pre-loss state as quickly as possible.
In addition to completing our customer satisfaction survey, the policy holder took the time to send the following email letter of thanks
I’d like to send a quick email to thank you for your efforts over the last 16 weeks:
- Clearly articulating what to expect during the repair works and processes what my wife and I needed to do in order to prepare the house.
- Returning my calls whenever I had questions or queries.
- Your hands-on approach and visits to the property – I found that face to face contact helped us to feel more confident in the process.
- The repair works started promptly after the Christmas break and it was clear the team from your supplier were well briefed.
Many thanks again
A ninth-floor flat in a tower block had been subjected to a fire which started in the entrance hall. The cause of the fire was under investigation by the authorities at the time the claim was being processed.
The fire damage extended from the entrance hallway to the bathroom, living/dining area and kitchen. There was also smoke damage to the communal hallway which was being repaired by others at the time of the survey.
TSS Survey managed the repair works to the property; carrying out an initial survey, providing reports and estimates to the insurance company, and managing the construction work, which was carried out by our nominated supplier.
This repair presented some unique challenges in returning the property to a “pre-loss” condition including:
- Unusual electrical installation
Repairing the damage to the electrical installation was more complex than normal due to the nature of the property. The tower block is fully constructed from reinforced concrete with all electrics either contained within conduit inside the concrete frame or surface mounted. This was an unusual installation compared to a typical domestic property of brick/block construction.
- Access restrictions
The primary access to this ninth-floor flat was via a small lift of only 1.4m x 1.1m. The lift was used by all residents of the flats and there was no service lift available. Our surveyors and tradespeople needed to be mindful of other lift users and consider the lift dimensions when transporting materials to the property.
- Protecting communal areas
We ensured that care was taken to protect the floor in the communal corridor between the lift and the flat on a daily basis.
- Limited vehicle parking
All parking had to be arranged with the security team and was only available for vehicles no larger than a transit van. We needed to allow additional cost in the schedule for time taken to enter and leave the property each day and for taking materials in and out of the flat in a manner that didn’t compromise health and safety.
- Damaged window
The UPVC-faced lounge window had suffered smoke damage. Replacement would have been costly; access would have been very difficult and there would have been issues matching the window with the others on the block of flats. We ensured that this window was correctly and thoroughly cleaned and avoided the need for replacement.
Our team ensured the policy holder was up to speed with the process from the outset. Communication was critical to making the process as smooth as possible at what could be a traumatic time for the policy holder. We made sure they knew what to expect from the repair works, answering any questions in a timely fashion and managing the repair works to a quality standard.
Insurance claim repairs were required at this property following a fire which had started in the front left-hand bedroom. The cause of the fire was a faulty iron which had caused extensive fire and smoke damage to the entire property.
We made initial contact with the homeowner to explain the process moving forward and set out the plan for communication to ensure the best possible customer journey.
After initial contact, our TSS surveyor attended site and conducted an inspection of the property. We confirmed the damage and provided a clear and concise report and estimate, specific to the loss suffered by homeowner.
Our surveyor found that:
- All ceilings in every bedroom would need taking down and completely replacing,
- Plasterboard walls would need to be removed and replaced along with the floor coverings and all woodwork.
- Complete re- decoration would be needed in every room.
- All sanitary ware in both the bathroom and en-suite were to be removed, disposed of and replaced due to the extent of the smoke damage.
- A full re-wire was required to the upstairs where the fuse board had melted as a result of the fire and a temporary supply had to be installed in order to enable the works to be undertaken.
- The UPVC windows and sills in the affected rooms needed to be replaced along with the smashed and warped UPVC doors.
Managing the repair works
Once the scope and estimate had been approved, a pre-start meeting was scheduled with the homeowner, the TSS surveyor and the TSS nominated local supplier who would be undertaking the repair works. A plan was agreed for the works, the process clearly explained to the homeowner and the homeowner confirmed any material choices or special requirements.
The programme of works was produced along with full Construction Design and Management (CDM) risk assessments and method statements. The timescales were shared with the homeowner at the outset and we kept him updated on progress against the programme at regular intervals throughout the repair works.
The quality of the work produced by our supplier was monitored on a weekly basis to ensure the necessary high standards were achieved when reinstating the property back to “pre-loss” condition.
Amey Utility Services Ltd (AUSL) delivered the contract for Water Networks Repair and Maintenance and Meter Installation / Renewal with Dwr Cymru Welsh Water (DCWW) across the South Wales region. DCWW is the sixth largest of the ten regulated water and sewerage companies in England and Wales. The AUSL contract has an annual contract sum of circa £25 million, the average order value is c£400 per job. The works constituted maintaining the clean water network with SLA’s for orders ranging from 2hrs to 90 days. With in excess of 1100 work items per week, the low value high volume nature of the contract provided significant planning and costing challenges.
The 24/7 requirement to supply water services necessitated the efficient use and integrity of the network . Underpinned with the safety of all stakeholders, work completed had to be executed with minimal disruption and risk. This particular contract had been operationally challenging and was resulting in significant losses for AUSL.
With the contract terms weighted towards DCWW, facilitating an early exit or termination by AUSL was not possible. AUSL engaged TSS to firstly understand the cost base driving the £3M cumulative losses, and then negotiate with both DCWW and downstream supply chain with the prime objective of transforming the contract to a sustainable basis, that minimised losses and allowed a margin to be made.
By identifying the key drivers to the adverse financial performance, TSS was able to commence value engineering by identifying every single element of the supply side that resulted in a cost – no matter how small. This was the basis to open up discussions with all the parties making up the supply chain to secure efficiencies and a new way of working and therefore the basis of agreeing a sustainable contract mechanism. Historic attempts to identify adverse drivers had been labelled “anecdotal” by DCWW, so the supporting detail to any discussion had to be able to stand the rigour and challenge of a client audit team.
To achieve the required detail, TSS focused on 83 weeks of historic data across some 93,577 orders to establish a “base line model” from which TSS could confidently model resources, order volumes, and compare the original service level agreement against the initial bid position. Working with and discussing progress and outcomes with the wider AUSL delivery team enabled this review to clearly identify the risks and challenges to the overall viability.
Supported by detailed information down to individual order level if required, this removed the DCWW “anecdotal” perception. In particular, TSS identified that the original SLAs had under-estimated the response times, and this allowed this element of the contract to be re-negotiated.
As a result of a detailed post-code analysis, TSS were able to assist AUSL in understanding more fully the resource requirements and the planning and management issues associated with this. TSS were asked by AUSL to lead the contract negotiations, which TSS was able to bring to a satisfactory conclusion for all parties.
That the contract with AUSL was extended with the support of DCWW is also testimony to our collaborative approach. The TSS team were also able to identify areas where we could suggest improvements. For example, working with the constant flow of data we introduced our own work management software F0CUS which provides end to end order management with “one version of the truth” for the contract delivery team across volumes of outstanding and completed works, attributable SLA’s and financial validation. We proposed the use of F0CUS as part of our contract extension to minimise the administration head count with savings for both DCWW and AUSL through improved processes. Integration with the DCWW SAP system and client access portal provided approval functionality and a very high degree of clarity about each job and its costs.
What this case study illustrates is that TSS is both willing and able to support clients in a range of contract scenarios. Whilst our focus on our client’s needs will always remain our primary focus, we recognise that successful contracts require all parties to be aligned on the objectives and key elements of the contract. The challenges we made were successful, as using our evidence base, we were able to demonstrate the benefits to both parties, and not just for our client. The TSS team sought to, and achieved, good working relationships with DCWW. We overcame their concerns, being transparent in our dealings, by looking at the contract from their perspective and by assembling a good and robust evidence base that allowed us and AUSL to challenge and remove the DCWW mindset of “anecdotal perceptions” which had been a significant barrier to getting the two parties to undertake engagement about the effectiveness of the contract.
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