Not Knowing Your s500 Is Costing You Money

Everyone in your company should read and know the s500. Why? Because that is how we establish proper standard operating procedures. Each time the s500 is updated, we should be looking over it and learning the changes. It is imperative the techs know the standards to make sure your company is performing up to the ANSI standard. The estimator needs to know this standard as well when justifying services performed in the field.

For example, how do you know if you should be using Cat 3 line items in your estimate? Because the technicians said so? Well where will they be when the adjuster says it wasn’t a Cat 3 claim… you will be on your own my friend. Do you know the definition of a Category 3 claim? On page 14, the definitions for each category is listed. This is important information to use when justifying a claim. It gives specific examples of each category. But that’s an easy one.

You’re sitting at your desk and receive a water damage report from your techs. It says in the Living Room they placed 10 air movers for 4 days. In the bathroom, they placed 3 air movers for 4 days. In the Hallway, they placed 3 air movers for 4 days. If an adjuster told you they put too much equipment in the home, what would you do? I will tell you that many will say… “ok…” and reduce the number. Or maybe you push back and say our techs are all certified and trained. You trust them more than any adjuster, right? But how do you know they are right and how can you prove it? You need to know the formula for placing air movers.

Here it is. If you don’t have this info memorized or posted somewhere on your desk DO SO!!!

Add one air mover:

  1. For every 50-70 sq. ft of affected wet floor in each room (to address floors and lower wall surfaces up to approximately 2 feet)
  2. For every 100-150 sq. ft of affected wet ceiling and wall areas above approximately 2 feet
  3. For each wall inset and offset greater than 18”

When a calculation for a room or space results in a fraction, the indicated number of air movers should be rounded up.

Put this info somewhere easily accessible. If an adjuster says you have too much drying equipment, run the calculations. Put the formulas for air scrubbers and dehumidifiers somewhere close too. But there are so many other questions answered if you just read the s500 and understand what you’re reading. For example, is what is the proper procedure and billing for cleaning after a category 3 claim? Is there justification for using air filtration devices more than we are in the s500? Pricing? Is that discussed in the s500? I’m sure you’ve gotten pushback from someone claiming your dry times are too long. What does the s500 say about that?

There are a few options in how you can learn and discuss what the s500 says. You can come to the WRT/ASD combo course. Yes… you should get certified even if you’re just estimating. For a further discussion on application of the s500, you can attend the Estimating and Negotiating course here at Reets Drying Academy. Not only will we discuss it together, you will receive an s500 Reference Guide. This guide is only a few pages long but it is invaluable. It breaks down the most commonly used items and says the page and section these items can be located. Lastly, you could sit in your office and look at the Estimate Pro Series.

In the end, you have to keep training! Know your s500 and keep up to date with any potential changes coming in the near future. Keep your eyes peeled if there is a second peer review for the new s500 version to get a jump on what is coming in the near future.