A Salmon Runs Through It

CASE STUDY – from the files of Integral…………

This residence, which had suffered a fire loss that severely damaged the roof and gutted the interior, was infringing on the Department of Fisheries setback for a salmon stream that ran through the property. Fifty percent of the home was constructed on this set back. The construction also bordered on the street right of way setback for the municipality it was constructed in.

Adding to the two problems above, it also had a dirt crawl space which seasonally flooded due to the stream overflowing its banks several times a year. The crawl space was a heath concern for the regional health authorities, and was so restricted that it qualified as a confined space. This brought the WCB Safety Branch into play.

The first step was to get the building torn down in order to inspect the floor, the foundations, and the footings as the fire started in the crawl space due to electrical arcing.

The demolition permit resulted in an extra $1,000 cost because of the closeness of the salmon stream. Once this was accomplished, a full inspection of the floor by the adjuster and Integral determined that the floor had to go. It could not be repaired because it had been constructed in three separate stages, on three different levels, with several sub floors being added to bring it all up to one level. Asbestos was found in the tiled flooring. The fire had eaten through it in too many places. It also had sat exposed to the elements for months while the demolition permit was negotiated and obtained.


Once the floor had been removed, it exposed more problems. The foundation and footings had been constructed on top soil from the stream bed, and did not fit under the residence correctly. Therefore the walls had buckled inward in places. The residence had been moved to its existing location in 1961 on a foundation that had been poured in place before it arrived.

It was decided that the crawl space would be eliminated and the foundations raised by 18 inches. The crawl space would be filled in with drainage gravel. Then a monolithic slab would be poured. This would satisfy both the WCB safety board’s requirements with respect to a confined area as well as the health department’s issue by raising the structure above the flood plain.


The foundations were straightened out, and then forms were constructed to pour the added height requirements to these foundations. Repair work was done to the south west corner of the foundation which was in the fisheries set back. The variance board of the municipality had to be approached to allow a new front deck being constructed in the municipality’s set back. The front foundation was extended eight feet towards the street to accommodate design and construction changes that were required to give the insured the same number of rooms in the residence that he had before the fire. This addition took up the space that the original front porch was constructed on.


The forced air heating that had ductwork running through the crawl space was replaced with radiant heating in the concrete slab floor.

A new weeping tile system was placed around the perimeter of the residence. A new berm was constructed around the home as well to make it appear that the foundation had not been raised.

 before fire  after fire

The insured’s share of the improvements and betterments was $22,000.00. The total loss was $185,000 including the insured’s portion.