“An Ounce Of Experience Is Worth A Ton Of Theory”
Evaluate damages caused by a weather related or accident event believed to cause damages to a fireplace, chimney, vent or fuel burning appliance. On-site investigations to the system performed to the scope requested by the client. Inspections include the use of digital photography, closed circuit camera inspections and documentation of all accessible locations of the damaged system. We provide the client with a written narrative report in addition to recommendations regarding repair scope.
General Inspection Services
Evaluate existing systems for continued use under the same operating conditions or proposed changes to the system. A thorough inspection of the existing structure or newly installed system will be evaluated and compared to applicable building codes, industry standards and manufacturer’s installation instructions. A complete report will be produced identifying any deficiencies or operational hazards.
Upon completion of the initial investigation there will likely be differences of opinions between the involved parties and the legal proceedings begin. I work closely with the legal team including the attorney, investigators, engineers and other experts organizing the available information and data to file the initial complaint or providing answers to a complaint. Additionally, I take the time to explain the product or deficiency causing the loss in terms the layman can understand. This detailed explanation is often backed up with taking the time with the attorney client for on -site exams, evidence exams providing detailed drawings and photograph review. I assist the attorney to become completely comfortable with the information prior to legal proceedings. In the event a settlement or agreement cannot be reached, I can provide written reports or sworn testimony at depositions, arbitrations, trials or other legal proceedings.
Fireplace, chimney, venting system and health product related fires require a specialist familiar with the unique trades surrounding the industry. Knowledge regarding the construction or installation of a system in addition to the sequence components are installed or built can be vital in the progression of the investigation. When the origin and cause investigator is capable of identifying the fire had originated in the area of the fireplace or chimney I can closely work with them to identify the specific cause. We work as a team assisting the insurance carrier to determine if there is loss recovery potential.
Standard of Care
The work product of professional under a given set of circumstances may be scrutinized during an event causing loss. I apply my years of experience working in the field as a professional chimney sweep and a hearth product specialist to study the circumstances of the loss compared to industry standards. I provide an opinion backed up by published industry standards regarding whether the work product meets what a reasonable person would do under the same circumstances.
Hearth Product Inspections
The evolution of the factory built fireplace and hearth products over the years are apparent whenever you open a newspaper or magazine. The traditional wood burning open hearth fireplace is rarely seen in new construction. The new generation of products include decorative and heat rated direct vent gas fireplaces, wood pellet and bio-mass burning stoves and fireplace inserts and high efficiency wood burning fireplaces. I have the training, certifications and experience to inspect these systems as a product specialist. If product performance, operation deficiency or faulty installation is suspected I can inspect, test and troubleshoot most products. Upon request I will provide complete condition reports. This service can help settle disputes between consumers and manufacturers or retailers to prevent unnecessary legal action. It may even prevent a fire or other property damage.
Plaintiff and Defense
When property damage has occurred and the investigation has begun there are many parties place on notice. Manufacturers, contractors and individuals insurance carriers are notified their product or work product may be considered for potential liability for the loss. I apply the same techniques utilized for property insurance carriers for liability defense. Mechanical or building sequence is often overlooked by investigators while inspecting fireplace and chimney related loss. Cause and origin investigators and most professional engineers have little or no practical experience with fireplaces, chimneys or hearth products or the components necessary for a safe installation. The need for an industry expert is critical in this type of loss to effectively establish an effective time line or a fault tree required to correctly assign liability.
I also document and file review on cases I did not personally inspect. Details involving required fireplace and chimney inspections in accordance with ”industry standards” are often missed by origin and cause investigators. These inspection details can be compared with fire origin to identify if the loss could have been prevented.