Fire / Smoke Damage

During a fire and due to the nature of the materials within the built environment, smoke from incomplete combustion can affect structural components as a result of acidic attack on sensitive components. Moisture vapour emitted during combustion as a gas often condenses on cold surfaces, such as concrete, metal and also contents and equipment.

The smoke contamination present may be wet, greasy, dry and contains many residual contaminants as a result of the varying types of materials burning. Following an internal structure fire or an external bushfire, especially those where plastics, synthetic materials, electronics, or PVC have burned, extremely hazardous and carcinogenic chemicals are created. One chemical, in particular, dioxin, is considered by some, to be one of the most toxic chemicals known to man.

Not only is this substance extremely toxic to all life, and far more lethal than asbestos or lead, it is also known to the World Health Organization as a member of the so-called “Dirty Dozen” – a group of dangerous chemicals also referred to as persistent organic pollutants.

During combustion, smoke will push into voids and cavities under pressure, it is often unseen and can continue to cause problems long after the builder/restorer has left the site after the repair process. This can result in residual odour issues and structural component failure which needs to be later addressed.

It is therefore vital, that the restoration process is very detailed and combines methods which often include; removal, strip out, decontamination, drying, sealing and odour control. These need to be completed in a systematic manner, in order to expose hidden contaminants and effectively restore the affected property.

Fire and Smoke Restoration is a specialised process; that requires a special set of skills, combining experience, knowledge of smoke behaviour during combustion, the potential risk of harm to health as a result of chemical residual compounds and the built environment. Often contractors attempt to clean building components that are permanently damaged as a result of chloride or acidic attack; this in turn increases claim cost to insurers unnecessarily.

At Pircsa we can assist in making sure that the scope of works is reflective of the resultant damage at the outset. This prevents scope creep and variations as a result of items being highlighted after works have commenced.