I'm going to look at my first residential fire damage job tomorrow to give an estimate. It's a single-family with a fire gutted bedroom on the 2nd floor and water damage in the adjacent areas. The fire occured several months ago and the electric service was disconnected at that time. Any pointers or cautions would be most appreciated. Also, any tips regarding the C of O, the house is unoccupied since the fire. BTW, the house was insured, so the owner wants a price to give them. He explained that he wants a very accurate price since the insurance company is paying and he doesn't want to go into his own pocket for forgotten items.
Thanks in advance, Andy
[This message has been edited by cavo148 (edited 02-12-2004).]
... Some municipalities require you to run a Megger test to determine the dielectric condition of the wires associated with the fire...Its a costly gadget,and I'd borrow it from another contractor if you can...Unless you're gutting the whole place and replacing all the wiring.. AR
.."if it ain't fixed,don't break it...call a Licensed Electrician"
Re: Fire damage...#34457 02/12/0403:51 PM02/12/0403:51 PM
Andy, As AR noted, you should find the extension of damage. We do a megger test on all fire jobs. The visual inspection can fool you, at times the fire can jump floors or walls, and visual inspection, may not show all the extension of damage, and the megger test may show no breakdown, but the cable sheath may be cooked. Play it safe, and plan to replace those extended areas. We charge $250 for the Est. as you can see, there is some work in arriving at a fair estimate. Good Luck.
[This message has been edited by LK (edited 02-12-2004).]
Re: Fire damage...#34458 02/12/0404:15 PM02/12/0404:15 PM
Using the megger, on a fire job last Jan, we had a fault on one of the cables going down from the fire area, the room below showed no signs of extension, we went to the basement and found the cable crisp as toast, the fire drafted down the wall, all the way to the basement. The owner told us, his insurance guy told him, there was just a little damage in the fire area, and it should not cost much to repair it. He told us that another electrician looked at the job, and said he just needed to rewire the room.
Re: Fire damage...#34459 02/12/0410:35 PM02/12/0410:35 PM
I was asked to give an estimate to a hunting buddy who was looking at buying a house in similar shape for rehab/resale. He wanted a high estimate, since the current owner was asking near market for an uninhabitable house.
Asked another huntin' bud of ours, who happens to be the senior AHJ for our county building dept what he'd look for as an inspector.
Test all the circuits throughout house
Make sure conduit still an effective ground(ing) path, by measuring R, and still an effective physical protection, by visual and touch inspection.
Replace conductors in fire damaged rooms.
Check with your AHJ to see if they'll want anything special prior to issuing a CO.
Re: Fire damage...#34460 02/13/0407:06 AM02/13/0407:06 AM
Thanks for the replies! I've only used a megohmmeter once, many years ago. I was looking at the meggers in the test instrument section, what test voltage is used for checking insulation leaks in a residential application such as this? Or is this a call made by the AHJ? BTW, I agree 100% to speak to the AHJ before a final price is given.
Re: Fire damage...#34461 02/13/0404:30 PM02/13/0404:30 PM
Andy, Your Megger test voltage should be twice the RMS voltage of the circuit under test. A megger tests using a DC Voltage. BTW, I'd agree with DougW, replace any wire in a fire-damaged room, wires can do funny things when they get heated up by the temperatures of a nearby fire.
Re: Fire damage...#34462 02/13/0406:09 PM02/13/0406:09 PM
what golf junkie said, and also the residual insulation that is floating around is no fun either. include the cost of the demolition you are responsible for. you should make sure the owner knows you are replacing what was existing, not remodeling and adding every thing they can think of "since the insurance company is paying for it." i have had homeowners come to me with all kinds of since you are here and i am not going to pay you anything deals. such as wanting me to install new fixtures for the exterior of the house, when the existing ones were not involved in the fire or my quote to the insurance companies contractor.
Re: Fire damage...#34464 02/14/0412:22 AM02/14/0412:22 AM
Watthead, I couldn't agree more about HomeOwners using a situation like this to have additional work done. It makes you wonder just how many people actually read thier Insurance Policies. Any fire damaged place will be bought back to the original condition that it was in before the fire. Any betterment of those conditions, the expense will be with the Policy holder. Believe me I've had arguments like this with HO's and Insurance Co's, we usually lose out.