Making it Right
Although property owners hope it never happens, there is a chance their homes will one day be affected by a sewer back-up, fire or a falling tree limb. If this occurs, it is critical to call their insurance company as soon as possible to get the damages assessed and professional crews on the scene. While many companies will remove soaked carpets and siphon water, the question remains: what about repairing, restoring or replacing warped and damaged floors, wet and stained drywall and even waterlogged electrical systems?
In the wake of a home disaster, addressing immediate issues like water is essential, but so is drying wet wooden studs and walls before toxic mold starts to grow. Fortunately, Platinum Pro-Claim has the trained staff, equipment, products and vital skill sets necessary to not only remove water from flooded homes but to restore properties by expertly replacing walls, floors and much more.
Platinum Pro-Claim handles solely insurance-related work which comes directly from insurance companies or property managers. Its staff are not only skilled but compassionate and acknowledge they are working on someone’s home and possessions to restore them to the state they were in before a fire or flood.
Severe water damage in the home can be caused by a number of reasons from sewer or storm water back-up to leaky appliances such as dishwashers, burst pipes and even broken water heaters.
In the event of a disaster at home, Platinum Pro-Claim deals with immediate issues and then has the professionals tackle other areas of which homeowners and property managers may not even be aware. These include the harmful effects of mould growth on human health – mould exposure can cause fevers, runny noses and skin rashes. The team also tests for asbestos in drywall mud and lead in paint. Platinum Pro-Claim will remove water, perform tests, treat studs and framing appropriately, remove damaged materials and rebuild like new.
“We have ticketed carpenters on staff and an in-house cabinet shop as well, so we build our own cabinets,” says President Tony Scott. “We have drywallers, painters and other trades all in-house. That makes us different from a lot of other companies, which do a lot more subcontracting than we do. We also do flooring in-house, which is also quite unique in our industry.”
Scott learned restoration work on the job working for his stepfather and attended school for construction and estimating before getting into the industry full-time in 1983. The company started as Pro-Claim Restoration in 1991 and merged with Platinum Pacific Restoration in 2012 after taking on flooring projects for Platinum Pacific over the years. Eager to do more strata work – which often comes from property managers – the two companies merged and haven’t looked back.
Platinum Pro-Claim has a full-time staff of 132. Its highly-trained flood technicians are certified through courses provided by the IICRC (Institute of Inspection, Cleaning and Restoration Certification) and are qualified to assess water-damaged buildings and determine the best methods to dry them with the least possible amount of damage to the building using their specialised equipment.
The company invests in dedicated cleaning products and the best available equipment on the market including an in-house chamber which removed odours extremely effectively. One of its machines comes from Esporta, known for its unparalleled wash systems. Esporta’s advanced washing technology is five times more efficient than traditional laundry machines and uses fifty percent less water. This can, says Scott, make a child’s teddy bear that was soaking in raw sewage cleaner than when it was bought. “Our machine makes it somewhere between food grade and surgical grade.”
Platinum Pro-Claim has the technology and staff to complete large clean-up jobs, even those involving mould, lead and asbestos. In one case, it was called to a newly-constructed apartment building that was in the process of booking tenants when a water line running to the air conditioner burst, affecting seventy units. Because of the urgency, the company had a fully-equipped team of about twenty-five working on-site within just two hours.
“We had it all dried in just over two weeks,” says Scott. “If a leak like this happens up high, all the water comes rushing down.”
From its one location in Richmond, British Columbia, Platinum Pro-Claim serves the area ‘from Horseshoe Bay to Langley’ – essentially Vancouver’s lower mainland. The company’s blend of restoration and repair expertise sets it far apart from the competition. Along with fire and flood damage, it is also equipped to handle vehicle impact work and property damage from falling trees, which it will remove prior to repairing the structure.
“Our specialty is that we are a little bit more ‘construction-y’ than most companies,” states Scott. “A lot of companies are good at drying buildings that got wet. While we do that as well, we are much more construction-oriented as far as our staff goes and what we do in-house.” Insurance companies and homeowners alike appreciate and value the skills possessed by the company’s dedicated employees. “Everybody here is qualified. We’re not a bunch of handymen. We are qualified tradesmen that are getting the job done.”
In the event of unexpected damage, Scott says it is vital that property owners contact their insurance company immediately so the situation can be professionally assessed. “People have to mitigate their loss, so it’s up to them to get things taken care of right away, and the best way to do that is to contact the insurance company directly,” he says.
In some cases, homeowners who have a small fire will extinguish it and open windows to air out their house, assuming this will set things right. Two or three days later, however, they realize everything in the house is smoke-damaged.
“One of the mistakes people make is trying to clean fire damage by themselves,” says Scott, “and without the right products, they can make it worse. The best thing is to let the insurance company assess it and get a professional out right away.”
Platinum Pro-Claim is a member of the IICRC, Work Safe BC, the British Columbia Floor Covering Association and the Restoration Industry Association (RIA). As a Better Business Bureau accredited company, it has also received the Consumers’ Choice Award for Business Excellence and looks forward to celebrating its twenty-fifth year in business this October.
Over the years, Scott and his team have sought out the best employees possible and developed a unique, psychology-based approach to staff development. Rather than managing behaviour – such as penalizing someone who shows up late for work – the company addresses issues on a larger scale. Employees are encouraged not to let their team down and to be to work on time because others are counting on them.
Treating staff with dignity and respect has resulted in a high retention rate and a company that genuinely cares about clients. After a flood or fire strikes, the first people who come to the house are a representation of the insurance company, and the work requires professionalism and empathy. “We’re not just there to do a job; we are there because we like helping people, and so we actively look for people who like helping people.”
Platinum Pro-Claim believes in hiring the best employees possible, and its philosophy is about much more than being in business to make money. Its focus on growth does not just mean expanding the company but positively enabling staff and helping them develop new skills along the way.
This is a great place to work. The company is involved with its employees on a social level by hosting barbecues every month, bringing in live bands and even staging a dunk tank where senior managers take turns getting soaked by the staff.
“We really believe in celebrating our staff and showing them appreciation for the hard work they do,” says Scott. “That has helped us have a very low turnover rate. We focus on hiring the people who sit with our beliefs, provide a great place to foster their growth and a great environment.”
Platinum Pro-Claim wants to continue to build and nurture partnerships with clients, insurance companies, property managers and staff. “We take a great amount of pride in our customer service levels – believe it is the best in the business, and people who track service-level also agree it is the best in the business,” says Scott, “so we want to make that even better. Providing better customer service is probably our first goal right now, and it will always be our first goal. We want to be a great company, provide great customer service and a great price, and in that, the rest takes care of itself.”