What the Sun Can Do

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

Built in 1991 (E), the complex was constructed with EIFS, staggered setbacks, good fronts, mansard fascia, drywall, ornamental finishes, carpet, plain terrazzo, extensive lighting and outlets, good plumbing, and warm and cool air (zoned).

Due to the mixed occupancy that the building was designed for the construction has hidden features that are seismic construction, fire ceilings and walls, and sound proofing. Since the occupancy design of the building is of a community shopping center type of approximately 30,000 square feet, it also features fire alarm systems, CO2 system, sprinkler system, and commercial alarm systems.

The building is divided into seven main areas. Each one of these areas have occupancy design fixtures, but only the Banquet Facilities including the storage section, the Storage & Maintenance Section, the Beer & Wine Store, the Lobby, Reception, & Meeting Room, and the Service & Administration areas were affected by this loss. Included in these areas are the exit staircases for the public from the upper floor.

The power lines supplying power to the complex caught fire the evening of November 8th, 2006, at the junction where the supply lines from the pole are attached to the lines to feed the building. The lines from the pole to the building were changed by BC Hydro in the early hours of the morning of November the 9th.

Once the damaged lines were removed, the condition of those lines showed ultra violet rays from the sun had deteriorated the protective casing exposing the wire itself. This could cause two of the hot lines to touch each other causing the fire.

The role of wire and the sun damaged tail pieces was saved, and stored in a secure area on site.

The fire damage to the structure was confined to the immediate area of entry point of the electrical service and to the exterior of the building. It is the gable section at the rear of the building.

Aside from damage caused by melting plastic, flames, and heat, there is some damage caused from extinguishing the fire with water from the fire hose, powder from the suppressant used for the electrical portion of the fire, and fire personnel entering and existing the building with equipment.

The end windows on each corner of the gable suffered damage to their frames and glazing. The other window units had their thermo glazing checked to ensure their seal is still intact.

The building envelope and the EIFS finish have been compromised to the gable end and possibly around the corner to the corner where the original structure joins this new addition. The exact extent of the damage was determined once the trade removed the damaged section immediately behind the power cables and followed it to each side of the cables. It visually appeared to be just to the right of the center of the end window unit facing the alley. The cause of the damage was the angle and pressure of the water of the fire hoses. They also damaged some fascia’s and the immediate gutter. Water poured out of the tech cables when they were being removed.

The powder residue from means to extinguish an electrical fire is directly below the area on the flat tar and gravel of the pub roof and the roll roof of the loading dock.

Soot and the powder were tracked into the building by the firemen. Smoke filled the upper floor, pub, and central area of the lower floor. When we arrived on scene at 8 am on November 9th the odor was still evident in the building. The building was aired out naturally by opening windows and doors. The staff immediately started to clean all horizontal surfaces in the kitchen area, halls, pub, laundry area, embroidery area, offices, and lobby. Cleaning can be described as dusting and vacuuming. There are a couple of area carpets and one staircase that needed to be carpet cleaned.

A portable substation was brought in immediately which was large enough to service the entire complex and temporary service was up and running by 5:00 pm the next day. In the meantime, an electrical engineering report was conducted, and an effective method to commence restoration was explored.

Within a week, permanent service was installed, and within 30 days after that repairs were completed. The total cost of loss was confined to more than $ 100,000 including business interruption and consequential damage from loss of stock and product.

And therefore, hiring Senior Property Loss Specialists at Integral as Large Loss Coordinators are cost effective. You might not consider this a large loss but it sure could have been.