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John Ayala, Freedom Restoration, breakdowns the things to know and do when you have any kind of water intrusion.


The Uncommon Area Ep. 3: What do you need to know about re-piping an HOA building?

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[00:00:26.070] – Matthew Holbrook

Welcome to The Uncommon Area. I am Matthew Holbrook, and this episode is all about what you should know if there’s a water intrusion and how do you go about pursuing restoration.


[00:00:39.110] – Matthew Holbrook

Here to help us unpack this and understand it better is John Ayala from Freedom Restoration and CPR Construction. I appreciate you joining us, John, and I guess I just want to start off with just asking, what is a water intrusion? When we talk about this, what do we mean by water intrusion?


[00:00:57.990] – John Ayala

Basically, water has entered an area that’s not supposed to be in that area.


[00:01:01.910] – Matthew Holbrook

All right. Usually that happens from broken plumbing line or –


[00:01:08.130] – John Ayala

Some type of rain issue.


[00:01:11.800] – Matthew Holbrook

This could be anywhere from a slab leak to a leak in your roof during a rainstorm?


[00:01:19.170] – John Ayala



[00:01:19.960] – Matthew Holbrook

Okay. If that happens and you are a manager or a board member for a community association, what’s the very first thing you should be thinking about in that situation?


[00:01:32.860] – John Ayala

If it’s a slab leak type plumbing leak, some method of mitigating the damage as quickly as possible, whether it be shutting off the water supply or if it’s a wasteland backup, you really can’t do anything. It’s going to do what it’s going to do,but cutting the supply to the water so it doesn’t continue.


[00:01:54.720] – John Ayala

If it’s a rain leak of some type of storm or roof penetration, then if you’re lucky, you can try to get some roofer that’ll go out there and cover your roof but it’s a little tough to do that.


[00:02:08.040] – Matthew Holbrook

Okay. Once you’ve resolved the immediate issue and you’re now into the aftermath, there’s water damage and it’s the next day or a couple of days later or whatever it is, what’s the first thing you should be doing at that point?


[00:02:20.590] – John Ayala

As the manager, the owner of the property?


[00:02:22.520] – Matthew Holbrook

Yeah, the manager or board member for an association, somebody who’s concerned about how do we address the situation.


[00:02:27.980] – John Ayala

The first thing you got to think about is it needs to be done in a timely manner. If it sits too long and it’s warm water, there’s a potential for mold to build. As soon as it will build is three days so you want to act quickly within a couple of days to do at least a demo of the wet areas and dry it out and address any existing moisture.


[00:02:54.980] – Matthew Holbrook

We’re really looking at a window of really just a day or two and you better be already into what we might call the restoration process. You were saying we start that off by you demo any wet wood and you start a drying process.


[00:03:08.800] – John Ayala

Right. The remediation needs to start as quickly as possible, preferably within 24 hours.


[00:03:13.100] – Matthew Holbrook

Okay, 24 hours is really your window that you’re looking at. Then that process you said that you want to do some demo. You want to get all the wet wood out. What do you dry and what do you have to remove?


[00:03:29.140] – John Ayala

The wood stays. What you want to remove is drywall. If it’s some type of flooring that is glued down, you can sometimes dry it with some dry mats and there’s methods to dry the room. There’s some equipment that we can use to dry it. Well, it’s not 100%.


[00:03:45.140] – John Ayala

Sometimes it still gets damaged if it’s saturated and just soaked. But you want to remove drywall, any carpeting, padding, cabinetry we want to try to save. You want to lift any furniture, any wood type furniture off of any wet areas as quickly as possible so it doesn’t saturate any of the wood.


[00:04:05.780] – Matthew Holbrook

Just to be clear, this is what general you’re bringing in a company like Freedom Restoration and you’re doing all of this that you’re describing?


[00:04:11.760] – John Ayala

Ideally, you’re bringing in Freedom Restoration.


[00:04:13.850] – Matthew Holbrook

Yeah, I understand. But the point is we’re not saying, homeowner you have to do all these things right away. This is what a company like Freedom Restoration would do.


[00:04:22.780] – John Ayala

Correct. Most of the reputable companies will do these things.


[00:04:25.810] – Matthew Holbrook

Okay. Again, you’re going to be on call ready to do that within 24 hours. The manager, the board member, whoever it is, needs to get on the phone and make those arrangements right away.


[00:04:39.850] – Matthew Holbrook

When you’re talking about drying, you’re primarily talking where they put out the fans and they’re drying out areas. You’re specifically looking at drying out the wood for the most part?


[00:04:51.270] – John Ayala

The wood structure is going to stay right.


[00:04:53.440] – Matthew Holbrook

That’s what the fans are for –


[00:04:54.700] – John Ayala

You want to dry out those items.


[00:04:56.640] – Matthew Holbrook

Is there anything else that generally you’re looking to dry out with the fans?


[00:04:59.970] – John Ayala

It’s cabinetry. Cabinetry, kitchens, vanities, those type of things that are costly to replace.


[00:05:06.710] – Matthew Holbrook

Is it generally those big fans that you’re using or are there other alternatives?


[00:05:11.310] – John Ayala

There’s dehumidifiers that you incorporate.


[00:05:13.490] – Matthew Holbrook

At the same time?


[00:05:14.060] – John Ayala

At the same time, that’s correct.


[00:05:16.520] – Matthew Holbrook

Generally how long does that process take?


[00:05:18.890] – John Ayala

That process takes anywhere from I’d say 24 hours to 72 hours roughly.


[00:05:25.550] – Matthew Holbrook

It could be one to three days. Somebody is either going to be inconvenienced in their home or they’re going to have to move out altogether.


[00:05:31.190] – John Ayala

It also depends on the size of the water intrusion so yes.


[00:05:34.740] – Matthew Holbrook

Which is probably somewhat a function of how long does it go on.


[00:05:37.580] – John Ayala

Inconvenience the homeowner, that’s a different story because now you’ve done your demo, you set up your equipment, now you have to deal with whatever environment you’re in, whether it be an HOA or insurance company to decide what’s going to happen next. Inconvenience could go on for some time.


[00:05:55.460] – Matthew Holbrook

Yeah. I was going to build that out. That’s a good point. The initial inconvenience is just the drying out. But you’re right, the process of actually getting it repaired and put back, especially when you have different types of surfaces that might be different from unit to unit, that need to be…Like do you put it back to, I’m assuming what it was?


[00:06:14.230] – John Ayala

Well, it needs to be that’s also up for debate if it’s builder standard or if the HOA or the resident is covered by the insurance company for upgrades. Those things they factor in.


[00:06:27.690] – Matthew Holbrook

What’s generally the timing on a water restoration process that you see from the moment you get the first call until everything is put back together?


[00:06:37.070] – John Ayala

I would say roughly two weeks.


[00:06:39.040] – Matthew Holbrook

It’s a process?


[00:06:39.900] – John Ayala



[00:06:40.360] – Matthew Holbrook

That’s if you’re moving quickly and getting feedback –


[00:06:42.230] – John Ayala

You’re hustling, yes.


[00:06:43.950] – Matthew Holbrook

It probably is the hinge point on that oftentimes probably is the insurance, if there is insurance.


[00:06:48.890] – John Ayala



[00:06:49.400] – Matthew Holbrook

Or decisions from board members. For board members who might be watching this. Something that they probably need to be aware of is that for the sake of your homeowner it’s probably worthwhile to be ready to make some quick decisions to be able to keep things moving and you’re not dealing with this on an ongoing basis.


[00:07:10.360] – John Ayala



[00:07:12.450] – Matthew Holbrook

Is there anything that happens in this process that might significantly increase the cost? Like if you don’t do this right then your cost is going to end up being a lot more.


[00:07:23.790] – John Ayala

Not addressing a water leak. We’ve seen it where we’ll go in and we were told by the plumbers that the situation for the water has been addressed and if it’s a multi tenant situation, they don’t identify the exact source and somebody else decides to turn water on.


[00:07:39.440] – Matthew Holbrook

Then you still have the problem all over again.


[00:07:41.090] – John Ayala

It starts all over again. Just to reset.


[00:07:44.070] – Matthew Holbrook

Is there anything that can be done that helps the process to go better? When you’re walking into one of these situations and the homeowner or a manager is doing X, then you’re like, oh, this is going to go a lot better?


[00:07:59.430] – John Ayala

Instant approvals are very helpful when somebody authorizes to proceed quickly.


[00:08:04.960] – Matthew Holbrook

This might be a situation where for example, a board might give a manager approval limits up to a certain dollar amount and then the manager can keep that moving.


[00:08:13.920] – John Ayala

Right, ideally.


[00:08:15.080] – Matthew Holbrook

That would be a huge value to the homeowners-


[00:08:16.980] – John Ayala



[00:08:17.710] – Matthew Holbrook

Who might be in that situation? What would you say are the most common mistakes that an HOA, a manager, a board member or a board of directors as a whole might make in this type of a process?


[00:08:28.820] – John Ayala

I would say it’s normally not the managers, it’s usually the board deciding what the responsibility is of the leak and how to address what would be considered only an HOA component versus what is a homeowner’s responsible for.


[00:08:43.460] – Matthew Holbrook

Getting that sorted out. Now if you have to get an attorney involved that –


[00:08:47.130] – John Ayala

Your two weeks is blown, it’s gone.


[00:08:49.250] – Matthew Holbrook

Yeah. That can really make things complicated. You end up with an increasing frustration from the resident.


[00:08:57.040] – John Ayala

To say the least, yes.


[00:08:58.820] – Matthew Holbrook



[00:08:59.820] – John Ayala



[00:09:00.370] – Matthew Holbrook

You’ve got all this stuff going on in your home where you’re living. Are there any other concerns that you have, like when you’re thinking about this type of situation and you’re like, I just wish people knew this? About a water intrusion issue.


[00:09:16.300] – John Ayala

The primary one is the water shut off. Initially, if we get a call and they say there’s an active leak, one of the first things that will respond with is, do you know how to shut off your water? If they say they have no idea where that’s at or what it’s located or what a shut off valve is, then we try to walk them through that process to shut off the water.


[00:09:36.780] – John Ayala

But if they say, I can’t do it, I’m sorry, I’m not mechanically inclined, or whatever they want to tell us, then we need to get out there as fast as possible.


[00:09:44.360] – Matthew Holbrook

If you’re looking at a multi unit building that’s two or three stories and has eight or 12 units in one building, I would guess that you’re going to tend to get residents that don’t know how to do that in that situation?


[00:10:03.330] – John Ayala

I would say it’s about a 50-50 is my guess. Some homeowners know what to do and some don’t. If we don’t get the call first, that means that plumbers getting the call and they’re going to do their best to try to talk them through it as well.


[00:10:17.390] – Matthew Holbrook

Right. Sometimes maybe it is better to go to the plumber first so they can address that.


[00:10:21.950] – John Ayala

I absolutely agree. Yes.


[00:10:24.020] – Matthew Holbrook

Go to the plumber first and then get a water restoration company in as soon as possible after that.


[00:10:30.540] – John Ayala



[00:10:32.350] – Matthew Holbrook

Is there anything else that you would really be concerned that people know about or think about in this, or is there anything that an HOA could do that would prevent this situation and be able to be proactive about it?


[00:10:47.670] – John Ayala

Regarding plumbing, one of the options is to consider re piping. If it’s a community that has active issues that have increased over the years and possibly looking into routine cleaning of drain lines that have issues that cause intrusions, those are two ideal situations to address.


[00:11:04.540] – Matthew Holbrook

That re-piping, that could be like a major project.


[00:11:07.430] – John Ayala

It is, and it’s one of the reasons that HOA don’t take it on. They just figured that they can expense the repairs because they’re not as frequent as they think they are.


[00:11:16.010] – Matthew Holbrook

Right. But ultimately it can come down to having to do with he pipe and then just doing those clean outs and staying on top of that.


[00:11:25.870] – John Ayala

Maintaining those. Yes.


[00:11:28.110] – Matthew Holbrook

Well, I appreciate you taking the time and your insight into this and I hope that was helpful. Just to draw your attention, we do have an episode all about re piping and the maintenance that should be going on on these plumbing lines.


[00:11:42.430] – Matthew Holbrook

If that’s something that you’re interested in, I would encourage you to check that out. But in the meantime, continue to watch for more episodes of The Uncommon Area.