Contents Restoration - It's Personal

Wednesday, April 29, 2015Edwin Mwangi

I sat down and spoke with our very own Content Restoration Manager, Edwin Mwangi to learn more about our Content Restoration Division. Edwin has over 10 years of experience supervising the restoration of properties damaged by fire, smoke, and water. He is extremely detail-oriented, an adept problem solver, and has extensive customer service skills.

1.  What new processes and procedures are you implementing as the new Contents Manager?

I have implemented a new tracking and photo inventory system within Rolyn’s contents division to better organize, report, and store items retrieved from a loss. We photo inventory all personal belongings and create a digital portfolio which we give to the property owner and insurance adjuster. This is also something our staff utilizes. Should a property owner request a specific item from our storage facility, Rolyn’s contents team can quickly locate and retrieve that item based on the information provided within this digital register.

I am also training our contents department team how to properly and more effectively package personal belongings. This includes the way items are wrapped, in order to avoid scratching and dust buildup. For example, the type of boxes we previously had were ‘self-locking,’ but were not necessarily keeping out the dust. The new ones we use have resolved this issue. It is very important that we handle, and restore our client’s contents with the utmost care.

2.  After the fire, aside from unsightly charring and soot, smoke leaves an odor that seems to linger. How do you remove this?

The longer something remains in contact with soot, the more it is affected; exposure to soot causes deterioration, staining, and unpleasant odors. Our first priority is to remove this contaminant as quickly as possible, which can be done by hand-washing, the use of a degreaser, and/or an ozone treatment. These methods not only clean, but they also remove troublesome odors. We provide a final odor inspection a week prior to returning any belongings back to a property owner to ensure items have been properly treated.

3.  What types of environmentally-friendly procedures does Rolyn employ?

We always use recyclable materials when possible. We also avoid using harmful cleaners such as Trisodium Phosphate. It’s a harsh chemical, and may further damage a homeowner’s personal belongings. We are currently working to implement an upcycling program in which we recover any salvageable materials, such as scrap metal, to save for future use.

4.  Describe the process for determining which assets are salvageable and which are not?

The rule we follow is if the cost of restoring/repairing an item is higher than its value, that item is considered non-salvageable. We perform on and off-site tests that help us determine this. However, we always speak with the property owner before making any final decisions. The items that are automatically considered non-salvageable include: food, mattresses, and pillows.

5.  How does the photo inventory process work when you arrive to a job site?

The first thing we do, when we arrive on site, is photograph the front of the house. We then proceed to each room and take 3 photos from every corner (12 images per room) to capture a panoramic view of the existing conditions. We then focus in on areas and contents that show visible damage. We further photo document the scene to later present to the insurance adjuster.

After all photographs of the rooms have been taken, the packing process begins. The first thing we do is pack non-transportable items (toiletries, personal documents, jewelry, and garments). Ease of access to these items by the property owner is important; therefore we do not want to remove them from the property.

Next, we separate and catalog all items for photo inventory. Each item is given a tag with piece information and then placed in a box. Each box contains a label that includes the client name, project number, name of insurance adjuster, box number (this includes a range corresponding to the item numbers within the box), name of the room where the item was found, area within the room the item was found, date inventoried, process requested, and date cleaned. 

We then transport all furniture and personal belongings off-site for cleaning and storage, all of which takes place at Rolyn’s state-of-the-art contents facility and warehouse. Our facility is climate-controlled, secure, and under CCTV surveillance.


About the Author

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Edwin Mwangi
Contents Manager

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