When Disaster Strikes, Your Company Needs to Be Ready!
Discover how management software can optimize disaster recovery projects for project managers and restoration contractors.
Disasters are generally unpredictable when they strike. Whether the disaster is natural – from earthquakes, hurricanes, mudslides, or storms, for example – or due to other circumstances – such as electrical fires or burst piping – the structural damage these disasters often cause requires remediation. Whether it’s a home or business premises that are affected, a damaged building will inevitably require disaster recovery management. Software has become an increasingly important tool in the construction industry generally, but in the disaster restoration industry – where most companies are smaller – it’s become essential.
For restoration companies looking at ways to find a leg up over their competition, it’s important to look at how technology can help with disaster recovery. Management software for restorers helps organize projects by writing estimates, tracking resources, streamlining schedules, supervising field teams, and other elements involved in a restoration job. Regardless of the type of disaster, recovery management software can help keep a restoration contractor ready to face the next challenge.
Disaster Recovery Management: Software for Restoration Companies
Professional disaster restoration companies often need to be a jack of all trades. Cleaning, repair work, remediating secondary damage, and even rebuilding are required of companies working in disaster recovery. Management software helps these restoration companies return a structure to its pre-disaster state, often a process that’s more complex than it sounds on paper..
Disaster restoration projects can be divided into four general phases:
- Emergency repairs: This is the point right after a disaster, when the property needs to be made safe; this might entail putting tarping over damaged roofs to keep out rain, removing debris, building temporary supports to prop up walls and other provisional maintenance to prevent additional damage.
- Assessment: Once stabilized, the whole structure should be evaluated to determine the extent of damage and what needs to be done to return a structure as close to its original state as possible; this involves calculating the cost of equipment, materials and subcontracting services necessary for the restoration, along with other specifications.
- Restoration: This is usually the main part of any disaster restoration job, which involves replacing or repairing ceilings, flooring, roofs, walls and other parts of the structure, while it also sometimes includes restoration of the contents and fixtures of a building as close to their original state as possible.
- Reconstruction: In many cases, reconstruction is a necessary step to restore parts of a building back to a state that enables people to live or work within it again, though unlike a lot of regular construction work this often entails a certain amount of demolition.
When it comes to disaster recovery management, software can help restorers better handle all these stages, while also helping contractors deal with customers, field teams, insurance companies, subcontractors and other stakeholders.
Why Disaster Recovery Management Software Is Becoming Pivotal
The complexities of the restoration industry mean restorers often face considerable pressure to make operations more efficient to increase profitability while also having to deal with issues others in the construction sector face, such as the inflation of material prices and labor shortages. Technology, particularly cloud-based software platforms, can provide solutions that help workers in the field and the office do their jobs to manage disaster recovery better. Management software for restoration companies can help make water, fire and smoke, floods, storms, mold, and other damage easier for contractors to restore, repair, and rebuild.
Whether caused by heavy rains, hurricanes, flooding, or broken piping, water damage must be dealt with swiftly to mitigate secondary water-related structural or mold-based damage. When dealing with water-based disaster recovery, management software can help track equipment and supplies to, for example, identify where the company’s nearest air scrubber, dehumidifier or moisture meter is.
Smoke and Fire Damage
Even if fire doesn’t destroy a structure or its contents outright, the aftereffects include the strong smell of smoke, the removal of which disaster recovery software can aid.
Platforms for restoration contractors repairing smoke and fire damage should include:
- Capabilities for assigning jobs to specific workers or teams to increase efficiency.
- Data-based insights that help resolve any issues with the project.
- Reporting system that allows teams to record and report problems once found immediately.
- Templates with checklists to help with assessing fire damage.
In addition to the need to mitigate direct damage from a smoke and fire disaster, recovery management software will also help restorers deal with the water damage that often results from firefighting.
Floods don’t just cause water damage but also leave untold detritus behind while creating an environment perfect for developing secondary mold damage or wood rot after a flooding disaster. Recovery management software can help document damage from floods, enabling contractors to increase the accuracy of their estimates on the cost of such restorations.
Any type of storm can cause damage. Tornados or hurricanes can cause trees and other large objects to break down a building’s walls, as well as damaging siding or breaking windows. Hail can hurt the roof of a house, leading to leaks. Winter storms can cause conditions that result in burst water pipes. After a storm, recovery management software can help field teams share in real-time where the worst damage is, enabling a disaster restoration company to be the first to send out salespeople to the affected area.
When it comes to secondary damage from a water-related disaster, recovery management software applications can help identify where mold is likely to grow. Moisture mapping apps like Encircle can be integrated into a cloud-based platform to both show where mold has already taken hold and where it’s likely to spread.
Benefits of Management Software for Disaster Recovery
For companies that work on disaster recovery, management software for restoration contractors should have all the features and tools necessary to estimate the cost of a job. This then allows a project manager to budget accurately to ensure the company makes money by tracking equipment, labor, materials, subcontractors and other overhead costs. Such software platforms also allow them to trace expenses, enabling accounting office staff to take remedial action should there be any inconsistencies or cost overruns.
Other ways in which recovery management software can help restoration companies includes:
- Allowing workers in the field make real-time changes and requests regarding the project at hand, eliminating delays by allowing instant and concise communications with other stakeholders.
- Enabling office personnel to allocate resources and process documentation in real-time to make projects more efficient.
- Helping with monitoring of performance from field teams, subcontractors, office staff and others involved in a project.
- Integrating an accounting app that lets restoration companies keep track of labor and material expenses while also automating customer invoices.
- Keeping track of project status ensures field teams have the resources needed to complete the job.
- Managing teams without necessitating an office visit by allowing them to keep up with data like daily logs, hours worked, material cost and update progress on a project in the field.
- Preventing risks from secondary damage after a disaster, such as through moisture mapping apps that identify problem areas in which mold will likely develop.
- Providing all stakeholders with a centralized system for communications that allows easy sharing of documents, forms, photos and other information that helps move a job towards completion.
- Providing document management solutions to allow project managers to easily share estimates, insurance forms, photos showing damage and other job-related information.
- Scheduling dates and deadlines with integrated digital calendars to aid with allocating resources more effectively and preventing delays.
One way in which modern recovery management software helps restoration contractors involves integrating analytics functions, which take data from the field and office to create detailed reports about how to improve efficiency and lower expenses. With the right management software, disaster recovery becomes more manageable by easing the analysis of project data, performance metrics, current trends, and other aspects of a job. This allows project managers to evaluate better the progress being made on a project as well as their team’s performance.
Aiding in Disaster: Recovery Management Software by Albi
Project managers and restoration contractors need everything they can to optimize their effectiveness at handling disaster recovery projects. Management software should provide a restoration company with everything they need to do their job, from improving communications with stakeholders to sharing documents and photos with assessors. Come check out what we can do for you and see why restorers increasingly turn to Albi by scheduling a free demo.