Fraser Watson, owner and Director of DisasterCare Scotland East branch based in Edinburgh, was highly commended at the recent British Damage Management Associations awards for his submission in the “Damage Management Technician of the Year” category.
The award was open for submissions from all BDMA accredited damage management technicians across the UK, who have shown dedication, professionalism and application in their work. An individual who has worked to develop their potential and demonstrated a clear understanding of client expectations between 1st May 2020 and 1st May 2022.
Fraser’s submission was based on a very personal level of customer care, which is at the heart of what his business does and this means gaining a full understanding of client expectations and needs at the outset. This enables delivery of a service which clients appreciate and give positive feedback on. Delivering a well organised service allows DisasterCare to compliment the restoration process in many ways. They are often required to enable works and attend site at just the right time to keep projects moving, achieved by having a robust organisational and planning system and by being trained in many different skills relevant to the industry.
During the period May 2020 – May 2022, DisasterCare Scotland East completed 386 claims for restoration of Fire & Flood damaged property claims. These range from simple to complex incidents. Fraser’s team of 15 staff have been involved in all of the claims in some capacity, however, Fraser has personally project managed every claim and in many instances, has been the lead technician on site, developing a robust solution for the client and policyholder, guaranteeing a great level of customer service was applied to every job, irrespective of it’s size or nature, ensuring a satisfactory conclusion on every project.
Chris Netherton, DisasterCare Platinum’s Group CEO commented :-
“Fraser has invested heavily in services and processes over the past 2 years which has helped his business to achieve great success. Added to that he really appreciates the value of his team and of the systems he has introduced into his business. He is a driven individual and is a credit to the DisasterCare organisation, with the level of customer service he provides and with his meticulous and innovative thinking, planning and problem solving.”
“Fraser is also an exceptionally competent and professional Restoration Technician and has a great understanding of all the processes that are available within the industry to maximise the quality of response on any fire or water damage claim.”
During the period, several projects stand out as surpassing client expectations and of delivering a firstclass restoration service, working to very tight schedules and delivering excellence in customer service, which were highlighted in Frasers award submission.
A fire at a large property HNW property in Sterling resulted in very serious odour contamination throughout the house due to very strong and rancid smell of Kerosine which was used to fuel a kitchen Aga. The fire started in the chimney flue. The whole house was also contaminated with soot and smoke deposits.
The restoration process was a considerable task, and costs needed to be kept to a minimum while still executing a quality and professional restoration programme. Fraser controlled costs through use of a range of service including quick and appropriate mitigation, precise planning including strip out, cleaning, ozone treatment of the building, of contents and selective washing to avoid material issues. He saved many items from landfill and always took steps to avoid strip out.
The project’s restoration costs were over £100k, with several thousands of that cost being cleaning and restoration of soft contents, which saved the insurer many
thousand of pounds in replacement costs.
A smaller job provides testament to the culture of treating every policyholder as an individual, irrespective of type, size or difficulty of the claim. Following water damage, a very favourable compliment was received from a policyholder for the servicing and reactive continuity of service to enable the progression of their claim which was being reinstated by a 3rd party. On this project, Fraser saved some very expensive wallpaper (£150/m) by installing a carefully positioned wall protection system to enable the ceiling to be removed and replastered without damage to it. Overall costs were reduced and he took steps to avoid strip out & replacement avoiding economic waste.
Historic or listed buildings are also part of Frasers repertoire. In late November 2020 and again in January 2021 water ingress into a large and historic castle near Dundee caused some serious internal damage. Using his knowledge of old buildings and how to dry them sympathetically, for this exceptional Scottish castle dating back to the 1100s, Fraser avoided strip out of the very antiquated and valuable fittings, and proceeded to restore the building & contents with the exception of 1 carpet.
Lots of expensive brass work was saved by thorough various cleaning methods and procedures. Additionally, slow, steady drying was used to avoid damage to this old timber & stone property. The customer was very happy with the restoration of their building.
Thousands were saved in avoiding strip out and comparable reinstatement costs. The customer was very appreciative, and both the Loss Adjuster and Policyholder provided compliments.
Frasers business is a part of the national DisasterCare Platinum Group. The company covers the East of Scotland for DisasterCare and have built the business into a robust and sustainable company through investment…in people, in service delivery, in quality and investment in systems and processes. The company have purchased a DC4000 Wash System which restores 96% of soft contents, saving them from landfill and providing high levels of customer satisfaction by restoring often badly water or fire damaged sentimental, often irreplaceable items. This also creates great cost savings on clothing and soft furnishings, and on average we it is calculated that £6,000 per claim is saved through this system.
Fraser’s team number 7 technicians (including Fraser, 3 of whom are BDMA qualified, with all the others being IICRC certified) and 8 administrative/warehouse staff, all of whom
have the highest level of induction training upon joining the business, and ongoing training in Fire & Flood Restoration techniques. Head Office technical and business support enables him and all of the staff to have regular training sessions in all aspects of Disaster Recovery. They follow the guidelines from the British Standards Institution’s PAS 64:2013, which is a publicly available specification on Mitigation and Recovery of Water Damaged Buildings.
The business also follows the latest protocols and specifications from the relevant authorities on the treatment of fire damaged buildings. Fraser is a BDMA accredited technician and also adheres to THE BDMA’s guidelines on the recovery of property following a disaster and respect their examination process.
The business has proved to be a highly effective operation, making a huge contribution to cost savings and with environmental benefits during the period for which this award was judged.
During that time, DisasterCare Scotland East have cleaned 17,333 soft content items and have only listed 272 content items as BER. This is a huge restoration success rate of 98% of soft contents from properties following a fire or flood. This information is delivered through DisasterCare’s highly intelligent back office systems (iCare, a real time app, that makes information in the field easy to capture, see and share, which delivers smart reports, with photographs and accurate validation of restored and BER items). From this it can be calculated that the replacement value of the items restored is £697,133, with a restoration cost of only £253,697 – a massive saving for their insurance customers of £443,436.
The DC4000 Wash System has also saved 47,533,500 litres of water, 129,221 Kg of CO2 has been saved from polluting the environment which is equivalent to taking 27.8 motor vehicles off the road for 1 year, during the period for which this award was judged.
They are continuously looking at ways, processes and systems that can reduce their costs, help the clients and their policyholders during a very traumatic time, and to provide the very best in customer service within the Damage Recovery industry…this will be achieved through investment…in people, service delivery, quality, systems and processes.