Major and complex claims project during hard circumstances

Cryogenic cleaning, thorough cleaning by hand and tailor-made Covid safety protocols were just some of the reasons why 20 technicians from the Major & Complex Claims (MCC) division at Polygon France were granted a project worth more than half a million euros this spring.

Towards the end of 2019, a large fire broke out in an eight-story, 8,000 square metre office building in Clichý, on the outskirts of Paris. The building was under construction when the fire broke out, for unknown reasons, in a stack of insulation in the basement. When the fire brigade managed to extinguish the fire, the entire building had been exposed to extensive smoke damage.

“The smoke had found its way into all ventilation pipes and caused major damage to floors, walls and ceilings as well as electrical equipment,” says Frederic Merle, Major & Complex Claims Manager for Polygon France.

The owner, an EQT company, risked having to replace all the wooden floors, slab and false ceiling tiles in the 8,000 square metre building, a cost that of course would have become astronomical. Together with their insurance company, they decided instead to arrange a clean-up as soon as possible and therefore contacted Frederic and his team at Polygon MCC. After one month of damage analysis, solution testing and a commitment from Polygon to a fixed price, the customer gave them the go-ahead.

For five months, 20 technicians worked full time to clean up the building. Fire, smoke and soot had found their way into all spaces and caused major damage to all surfaces. Polygon's technicians started with the floors, which were both cleaned and sanded. They then focused on the ventilation system, which was thoroughly cleaned with advanced equipment. When the time came to do the ceilings, however, the cleaning was by hand. And finally, it was time for the electrical equipment in the building.

“Since this is very sensitive equipment, we had to exercise great caution and take extraordinary measures,” says Frederic.

Cryogenic cleaning was therefore used to clean the electrical and electronics components, a technique that consists of projecting small particles of dry ice (CO2), that are around 3mm in diameter, super-fast, by using a jet of compressed air. This is a cleaning technique that leaves no trace and no electrical risks.

Despite the successful clean-up work, there were other circumstances faced during the project that put Frederic and his colleagues to the test. In the middle of the project, the covid-19 restrictions hit hard, and all work was stopped for three weeks.

“Thanks to the fact that we quickly established strict safety protocols that included daily disinfection, regular hand washing and change of work clothes, we managed to convince both the customer and the relevant authorities that we could resume work in a safe way.”

Another special circumstance was that Frederic's customer contact was based in London. At the beginning of the project, she traveled regularly to Clichy, but during the second half of the project, all communication took place via video calls. Regardless of this, Polygon MCC managed to save the building and finalised the project at the end of June, thus saving a large sum of money for the customer.