Have you reviewed the recent change to the Institute of Inspection Cleaning and Restoration Certification (IICRC) S500 Standard for Professional Water Damage Restoration (Fifth Edition) aka ANSI/IICRC S500-2021. The S500 was released in 1994 as the Standard and Reference Guide for Professional Water Damage Restoration (First Edition). One of the most significant changes to this Fifth Edition is the removal of the Reference Guide from the document. I reached out to Darren Foote as an IICRC S500 Consensus Body Member, to clarify on the status of the Reference Guide he shared, "The Reference Guide, it may have a different name, but there is a plan to release another version of it as a stand alone from the Standard."
IICRC S500 Water Damage Standard Committee
As listed in the front of the S500:
IICRC S500 Consensus Body Chairman
How Are Water Damage Industry Standards Formed
Historical references for how standards are developed and some perspectives on having a proper understanding of their role for the modern restorer. Please understand these are not endorsements of these authors or concepts, just presenting a broader range of information.
Restorative Drying Quackery - IAQ Radio Episode 134 - Ken Larsen
The Death of 3 Day Drying - R&R Magazine - Kris Rzesnoski
“RIA, IICRC and ACAC training models are complimentary. Back in 1980, ASCR now RIA developed the Certified Restorer (CR) program and held it out as the most advanced designation that a restorer could obtain. IICRC courses are important stepping stones to that end. Since the CR course, RIA has developed the Water Loss Specialist (WLS) and the Certified Mold Professional (CMP).”
Two peer reviewed articles appeared in the August 2016 issue of the IICRC Journal, edited by John Downy, along with details from the story behind them. The two authors and John appeared on IAQ Radio Episode 426 to further discuss:
On The DYOJO Podcast Episode 60 we started a historical discussion regarding the evolution of the standards with Cliff Zlotnik, John Downey, Ken Larsen, Pete Consigli, and a special message from The Restoration Lawyer, Ed Cross.
If you would like a history of the development of voluntary standards in our industry, along with the evolution fo the Restoration Industry Association (RIA), you can read my article A History of Collaboration, a Future of Advocacy from R&R which includes a summary timeline.
Sample Discussion Points with Your Water Damage Teams
Sample discussion points for discussing the changes to the IICRC S500 as well as the inclusion of industry standards and best practices for your mitigation teams:
Feedback from Water Damage Professionals
In preparation for a local networking and educational meeting for restorers based in Washington State (PNW), I reached out to a few water damage some notable water damage professionals to get some feedback on these changes to the IICRC S500:
“The ANSI/IICRC S500 Standard relates to 'practices that are common to reasonably prudent members of the trade who are recognized in the industry as qualified and competent.” The Consensus Body and subcommittees draft the Standard which is then put out for public review and comment. Each comment is individually reviewed and responded to. There is also an appeals process. Once the S500 goes through this process and receives ANSI approval, the becomes the industry Standard of Care and is often referred to for proper water damage techniques, training resources, disputes, lawsuits, etc.” - Darren Foote, Remediation Training & Consulting and Consensus Body Member
“I agree the industry is fed the standard as scripture and carriers take it as such. I am working to propose scientific and mathematical algorithms to answer the questions our industry has needed answers to for a long time.” - Chris Laney, Water Out of Fort Wayne and Instructor at the Dewald Academy of Drying
“The Consensus Body (CB) operates on a consensus basis. If a member or members bring up a section of the standard or specific language they believe could be improved, the proposed edits must achieve consensus prior to adoption. I can say that consistency and clarity were a common theme in our process, there are many locations where similar topics are discussed throughout the standard and we made a considerable effort to ensure that the language was consistent throughout the document regarding these topics. We also made a noteworthy effort to clarify a number of topics and their surrounding language that could have previously been interpreted in multiple ways. I think it is fair to say that the 5th edition S500 is an improvement over the 4th edition, not only from a standard-language perspective but removing the reference guide from the publication should eliminate a lot of the misguided attempts to consider reference guide language as a component of the standard.” - Roman Redfrance, France & Company and Consensus Body Member
“I would say that the role of dehumidification in the process has been very clearly defined in the 5th edition, the dehumidifier sizing appendix should be much more resistant to misuse. Section 12 (was section 13) is much more linear and easy to understand, and section 16 Materials and Assemblies has been cleaned up considerably as well.” - Roman Redfrance
Additional Resources for Restorers
In relationship to defining the standard of care to support your scope, restoration contractors often find they have to defend their pricing as well. Membership in the Restoration Industry Association (RIA) provides contractors with resources such as the Advocacy and Government Affairs (AGA) Position Paper on Deviation from Standardized Pricelists. According to a recent press release, “The document states that most insurance policies require insurance companies to pay the “usual and customary” and/or “reasonable” price to repair property damaged in a covered loss. Pricing software providers recognize that project costs can vary depending on many factors. Standardized prices may not accurately represent the prices an insurer must pay to fulfil its obligations under the policy.”
Jon Isaacson, The Intentional Restorer, is a 19 year veteran of the property restoration industry and a business coach through his organization The DYOJO.