California Fire Claims and Estimates
Hiring an expert who is well versed in California fire claims and estimates is becoming an increasingly urgent issue in California.
Kevin M. Kearney has worked with clients who have experienced losses in the Tubbs Fire, private fires in Santa Rosa and Napa, the Lobos Fire, the Camp Fire in Paradise, the LNU Complex Fire in Vacaville, and other building and property fires in San Francisco such as the major gas line explosion at 3300 Geary Street in February 2019.
Mr. Kearney has extensive California wildfire expertise in arguing claims and in estimating the real reconstruction costs for:
- Commercial buildings
- Single family homes
- Barns and stables
- Secondary dwellings in rural and city locations
When properties or homes are damaged in massive wild land fires – such as the fires in Santa Rosa, Grass Valley, Rough & Ready, Paradise, San Francisco and Napa and Lake County – the concrete foundation is all that’s left on a lot. In most cases, it has been totally compromised by the heat from the fire. In all the cases Mr. Kearney has worked since the autumn of 2017, the foundation and piers have had to be removed, the lots scraped, and hazardous waste completely removed.
In such massive wild fires, the normal cost of reconstruction is far different than the normal cost per square foot – it involves scraping the lot, hazardous waste abatement, and numerous code upgrades. Additionally, the loss of more than 30,000 structures since October 2017 has caused a rise in material and labor costs, and a severe shortage of skilled labor in the Bay Area.
Other reasons for the increased construction costs are delays in granting of building permits by public entities – and often the lack of blueprints of the existing structures. In addition, many of the older homes have materials no longer safe to rebuild without extensive remediation of hazardous building materials, such as asbestos and lead. Such remediation is very time consuming, due to the relative lack of environmental testing businesses, as well as a lack of remediation contractors.
Mr. Kearney is familiar with the cost of reconstruction of properties and homes in multiple California Fire areas. He reviews pre-fire photos of the exterior and interior of the homes and buildings and discusses the construction of the home with its owners to understand the complexity of their individual property.
Mr. Kearney identifies the true scope of the work, develops plans, and solicits bids from various subcontractors for reconstruction of the home. This includes excavation, concrete foundations, framing, plumbing, electrical, cabinetry, roofing to rebuild the property for the client. Whether they are presenting to their own insurance company or involved in a lawsuit with another entity, Mr. Kearney makes sure the package allows the property owner to receive the maximum benefits to rebuild what they lost.