With Easter just a few days away, for many customers it’s another holiday they will be spending away from their homes. For some it’s been four months since the floods hit. Around 75% of these properties are now dry – older properties tend to take longer, due to the nature of their construction – and positive progress is being made in the reinstatement works. For those who were flooded three months ago, around 60% are dry, or almost dry, and contractors are being appointed, schedules discussed and agreed.
From the outset, we explained to all customers that it can take anywhere between six to nine months to dry out and reinstate their flood damaged home. We’ve continued to provide regular updates, as well as reassurance that everything is going to plan, as we progress through the various stages in the programme.
For the vast majority of customers, we’ve made good headway in organising and settling contents claims, whilst properties are drying, so that they can order items that might have long delivery lead times. We’re working closely with those who have so far been unable to provide a list of damaged possessions.
All our flood zone managers are maintaining a high level of personal contact with customers. They come across a wide variety of questions during their discussions and we’ve shared a few of the more common ones with you below.
The Lake District
Mark Baird explains: “Understandably, this is the period when we’re constantly asked about the progress of building works: Will the builder be here every day? Why are they doing it this way or that? Can we include some private works? When will I be back in my home – I need to order furniture?
“It’s important that we’re always available to respond to queries and to make sure that customers understand what’s happening when and why. We’ve had plenty of experience in handling flood claims and we’re often able to spot issues before the customer is aware and certainly before they become a bigger problem.”
Growyn Hughes faces a similar set of questions from customers in Carlisle: “We’re regularly asked: When will I be back in my home? Is my house dry yet? Can I make some private alterations to my home within the building works?
“With so many repairs and all at different stages, each claim has to be handled individually, providing the one-to-one support each customer needs throughout the process.
“We have quite a few customers who live in the same street and who are in the same situation, so there’s bound to be some comparisons. We often have to explain why the allowance for finishings is different between two properties – such as fitted kitchens and decorations – and what they’re covered for under their insurance policy and what they’re not.”
Clerks of works
Where our building consulting services team, Sergon, is appointed, we now have a number of dedicated Clerks of Works. These new roles have been created to oversee all building works controlled by Sergon’s surveyors, making sure that contractors are performing against the schedule of works. This is over and above the individual claims monitoring that’s carried out by our own project managers within each of the flood zones.
In Pooley Bridge, a new, temporary bridge was opened a few days ago, ahead of schedule, ready for the Easter tourist trade. And word on the street is that Prince Charles is due to be visiting customers in the area today.
Eamont Bridge, on the A6 near Penrith (below), which has been closed since December, was re-opened yesterday. This will make travelling around these areas much easier.
Going the extra mile – by an onsite Project Manager
“Living locally – in the thick of it – is very helpful. Recently, two elderly customers, in their eighties, told me they were very keen to use their own builder, someone they’ve had a long association with and trusted implicitly. However, they couldn’t reach him on the ‘phone, they don’t use email and no longer drive – they didn’t know what to do next. I found out where the builder was based and jumped in the car to pay him a visit. He was happy to take on the contract and is currently working on pricing against the schedule of works.”
We’ll issue another bulletin after the Easter break.