flood repairs absent owner

Flood Repair Absent Owner – Case Study


The Wedding Planner for your Home Renovation

In a recent flood repair we found that our absent (Adelaide based) owner was getting a bit lost with the process of building repair.  This was just after the 2019 Townsville flood event during which  some 3000 homes were impacted (reference article).

Our client engaged us to assist to maximise their insurance negotiations and eventually settled on a cash payout.  In this specific situation the payout made sense but there are some definite risks in this payout strategy, so we assess it on a case by case basis.  One key consideration is to consider the impact of the event on the structural performance of the house.

Correct Scope

With our years of experience we were able to make sure that the insurance company allowed for a full scope of work.  In the initial insurance response the insurance assessor had missed some key items.  This is not usually a deal breaker but it is stressful.  Our absent owner could not physically inspect the flood repair they had to rely on on site input from our local expert.  Once the scope of work had been corrected the client was able to maximise their payout figure from the insurer.  Then our client was able to make choices in their best interest.  This was a better outcome rather than just returning the house to the initial pre-event condition.  There were upgrades and modernising the home options that brought the property up to current market expectations.

Quantity Survey

Casting our eye over the site was helpful to determine the quantities of materials impacted.

Build Estimate

Next, we developed a build estimate that enabled the client to have a sense of what this repair “should” cost.  Based on some accurate data rather than a quote on the back of a beer coaster.  In the recovery from large scale events it is natural for the local market conditions and rates to be impacted by large event demand.  The usual labour rates and supplies can be messed up with availability of trades and materials are often constrained.  It is no surprise really as a result of  everyone looking for the same help at the same time.  Having an accurate estimate really helps to make sense of what is being offered in your builder’s quotes.

Builder Selection

With some local knowledge and the ability to speak “tradie” we helped the client to consider several repair candidates and they finally made an informed choice.  Next they entered into a fixed price contract for repairs.  This was clearly defined with specification, drawings and a scope of work that formed their building contract.  All clear let’s get to work with their preferred builder!

Project Management: Discussions with Insurance Company & Builder

Through the process of demolition and repair of the home there were extra items that became apparent in addition to the original scope of work.  In renovation work this is a fairly common occurrence.  A tradesman can only estimate based on their best knowledge and understanding of the usual building practices for the home they are repairing.  They unfortunately don’t have X-ray vision and cannot know what conditions may be exposed in the demolition process.  Our client was initially distressed that they had taken a payout figure!!  This did not mean that we couldn’t approach the insurer with the new information and seek additional compensation.  Naturally, when there is more information at hand everyone can make better decisions in light of this new information.


When the work was completed our remote client was keen to have new tenants move in, but was the house ready?  We provided a property audit to confirm what was completed in a tradesman like manner.  Although it still  required some finishing detail the house was ready to be occupied.  This helped to get the property to completion as quickly and as smoothly as possible.  As an investment property that rental income was key.  The handover report was also able to serve as a pre-occupation status report for the upcoming tenancy. 

In summary

What was a stressful event, “their investment house being flooded in a town far away”!  It was able to be managed so that the owners were not impacted any more than could be helped.  The home was not only repaired/replaced like for like in their house, they were able to make key improvements that increased the property value.  These increased values were both in the short term – in terms of rental income potential, and, in the longer term – in terms of an increase in the capital value.  Definitely a case of turning a negative into a positive!


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