Case studies – Water

Training facility for water damage

At the end of February, a new training facility for simulation of water damage was inaugurated at Polygon’s head office in Huntington, United Kingdom. The facility is more advanced than anything of its kind built before, and is part of Polygon UK’s commitment to continuous improvement.

Theoretical knowledge is all well and good, but to be a first rate property damage technician, you also need hands on experience. This is something that Polygon’s technicians in the UK now have every opportunity to get – under controlled conditions. The new training facility for water damage was inaugurated with the first
live exercise in April. Now they are making preparations to give nearly 200 technicians a two-day course on the latest technological advances in water damage restoration.

Designed for function
The training facility in Huntington has been built inside the company’s existing industrial unit and is 8 x 8 metres and consists of three separate rooms. Instead of focusing on aesthetics, Polygon’s facility has been designed entirely for function. For example, each of the facility’s three rooms has been built using different materials in the walls, floors, ceilings and insulation. The materials chosen are typical of building construction in the UK. The entire facility is built on top of a large tank, so that the water does not damage the overall building and can be efficiently pumped away. Steve Harsant is Training Manager for Polygon UK and will be responsible for leading the exercises.

“We have among other things used concrete, tile, plastic, wood, plaster, vinyl and several different types of insulation with wall constructions of solid brick and cavity. We have also built floating timber and concrete floors. As a result, I estimate that we have covered 90 per cent of the most common materials. The only things we can’t really copy are some of the special materials that are found in certain 17th and 18th century buildings and are no longer used today.”

The varied rooms make it possible to simulate water damage in many different ways. Another practical advantage is that it’s possible to carry out separate tests simultaneously in the different rooms. The critical component for simulating water damage is, of course, water. Instead of lights, each room is fitted with sprinklers to distribute the water within them.

A typical exercise
Steve Harsant explains how a typical exercise will be set up. 
“In the basic exercise we fill a room with around 1,000 litres of water, which corresponds to the volume that normally flows out from a real leak during one hour. Then we let it stand for 24 hours before the technicians are called in. Next to the house we provide all types of drying equipment and new innovations, such as dehumidifiers, pumps, fans, heat mats, speed drying and high pressure vacuum. The technicians must then choose the right equipment for the right building material, which is not always obvious or easy.”

Training in new technologies
Steve expects to be able to use the facility for around one year before it’s time to replace the interior with new materials. Before then, the aim is for all Polygon UK technicians to have received training in new technologies, and they will also hold more advanced courses for the most experienced technicians. Steve can also envisage inviting colleagues from other parts of the Polygon Group to practice there. “Absolutely, it would be an excellent
opportunity for us to share best practice, which is something we at Polygon are usually very good at.”

Additionally, Polygon UK has received a great deal of interest from its insurer customers and loss adjusters, keen to see first-hand, the latest developments in drying and restoration.