Water damage restoration is the process of restoring a property back to pre-loss condition after sustaining any level of water damage. While there are currently no government regulations in the United States dictating procedures, two large certifying bodies, the Institute of Inspection Cleaning and Restoration Certification (IICRC) and the RIA, do recommend standards of care. Most companies use the IICRC procedural standard, which is the S500. It is based on reliable restoration principles, research and practical experience with extensive consultation and information gathered from numerous sources. These include the scientific community, the international, national and regional trade associations serving the disaster restoration industry, chemical formulators and equipment manufacturers, cleaning and restoration schools, restoration service companies, the insurance industry, allied trades persons and others with specialized experience. The S500 water damage guide is subject to further revision as developments occur in technology, testing and processing procedures.
The IICRC S500 provides a specific use of practical standards for water damage restoration. It does not attempt to teach comprehensive water damage restoration procedures; instead it provides the foundation and basic principles of proper restoration practices. Prior to specifying the job scope and procedures, the S500 must be reviewed. This is important so that the individual circumstances of each restoration job is taken into account. Users of the S500 must be in pace with technology and follow all rules and regulations of a country whether it may be federal, state, provincial or local law. Federal, State and local laws might also determine who can do the water damage restoration assessment and who can authorize remediation procedures. In British Columbia (Canada) the Insurance Council of British Columbia has determined that an Insurance Adjuster working for an Insurer (to mitigate a loss or potential loss) can authorize restoration efforts on private property even though it may not be a covered peril; but, the Adjuster is not accountable for the outcome of any restoration effort, even if the Insured party was, or could be, knowingly placed in harm’s way. Each case of a water damage may be unique and common sense may require deviation from the S500.