Beyond the building process

November 23, 2021

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By Skot Penfold, Head of building consultancy services

When it comes to construction projects, insurer clients want overall control without compromising efficiency or increasing spend.

Previously, any major property damage claim could involve various external building consultants — with different methods and conflicting ideas about the right plan of action.

The best way to ensure a coordinated and cost-effective response is to provide the full range of professional services and building consultancy expertise under one roof. All operations are then aligned across the business, with clients and customers benefitting from a specific end-to-end building claims management solution.

Creating confidence

With the right team, you can take a project from the initial scoping of repairs and designs for development, to project managing the entire process right through to completion. But it’s so much more than just a process. At the centre of every project is the customer. From the first point of contact, our building consultancy team in New Zealand knows that creating close, one-to-one relationships is essential.

Expanding team

It’s a very successful formula. And to meet growing market demand in this sector, we recently expanded our building consultancy team to include a professional chartered quantity surveyor, with two more scheduled to join before the end of the year. We have also recruited an additional senior architectural designer.

By providing direct and easy access to our national network of building consultancy experts — in quantity surveying, project management, building surveying and design — we empower flexibility and improve the range of service options for clients and customers across the country.

Technical expertise

We carry out a wide range of building projects, dealing with damage on every scale and involving all types of properties. Earthquakes are always a risk in New Zealand, but more recent natural disasters — such as the Canterbury and West Coast floods and the tornado that ripped through south Auckland — also require a rapid response from adjusters and building specialists with specific catastrophe experience.

While tornadoes in New Zealand are rare, the last one hit a densely populated urban area. Within just 30 minutes, it caused considerable damage to around 1,200 homes. The devastation ranged from roofing wrenched-off apartment blocks to the complete destruction of various buildings. Many properties had to be quickly secured and were shrink-wrapped to preserve whatever remained standing and was salvageable.

On more complex catastrophe work, we rely on our EFI Global colleagues based in Auckland for specialist structural engineering advice and support. We also have access to other technical experts within Sedgwick — enabling us to provide a full spectrum of services relating to the loss and subsequent claim.

Helping customers

Whether the project is technical or straightforward, we always put the customer first in everything we do. For example, we recently assisted a customer who lives in a remote location, over two hours’ drive from the nearest town centre. The property had been heavily damaged by flooding and we had to remediate the damage and complete the fit-out within a tight timeframe.

Our building consultancy experts responded swiftly to the customer’s needs. A project manager was assigned and using remote video capture, the scope of works was agreed. We then appointed a suitable building contractor, and repairs began within 3 ½ weeks of receiving the claim. We continued to oversee the project, organising timely claims payments to ultimately achieve the best and most efficient outcome.

No matter the nature or scale of the event, our building consultancy team can provide a complete solution – from traditional cost estimating and scheduling to total project management. And more importantly, we look beyond the process to focus on delivering the help and support your customers need, when they need it most.

Tags: building consultancy, Building consulting, construction, Evolving risks + Response, Insurers, Mitigating risk, New Zealand, Property, Property claims, Property damage