Pie Responds to Superstorm Sandy Disaster

hurricane Sandy

Courtesy of The National Guard

Arvada, Colorado (November 29, 2012)– Pie Consulting & Engineering (Pie) has been retained to assist with damage and claims caused by Superstorm Sandy. As of this date, Pie has handled multiple claims representing structural, building envelope and mechanical damage.

According to a statement released Monday from New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, the total in damages and loss from Sandy could cost at least $71.3 billion for New York State and New Jersey alone. The preliminary price tag includes restoration for damaged housing, parks, utilities and infrastructure, transit systems, businesses, lost revenue, aid from federal agencies, and measures to mitigate potential damage from future extreme weather.

“The fallout from Superstorm Sandy has no doubt been financially, structurally, physically, and spiritually expensive.  We have seen blocks where one house is destroyed and a neighbor’s house only had minor flooding, it will take a collective effort of the people, insurance adjustors, engineers, and contractors to bring back a sense of community to affected neighborhods.”  - Dustin Smoot, RRC, RRO, LEED AP, Forensic Specialist, Pie Consulting & Engineering.

“Damage of this magnitude is felt by those with some flood damage to those who lost their entire homes.  It was heartbreaking to witness families standing in their kitchens of what once was their homes, just looking around without the first idea of where to get started.” –   Dustin Smoot, RRC, RRO, LEED AP, Forensic Specialist, Pie Consulting & Engineering.

So far, there are numerous similarities between Hurricane Sandy and Hurricane Katrina including the amount of measured rainfall and the amount of storm surge and flooding.  Similar to Katrina, a large number of insurance claims resulting from Hurricane Sandy will require the determination of whether the damage was caused by wind or caused by water.

Destruction & Damages: Katrina vs. Sandy

Hurricane Katrina Superstorm Sandy
Homes Damaged or Destroyed 214,000 (Louisiana) 305,000 (NY state only)
Deaths 1,836 So far 121
Storm Surge 14 feet, funneling to 28 feet at New Orleans 12.5 feet
Measured Rainfall 15 inches 13 inches
Monetary Cost in Damages/Loss $125B So far $71B
Persons Displaced 1,000,000 1,000,000

Compounding the issue, claims will also require a determination on the source of water (i.e. did the water originate from infiltration through the building envelope (roof or walls) or was the water due to flooding). Flooding and rising water could be the result of swelling rivers, storm surge, inundated drains, and sump pump failures.

Determining the root cause of the damage will be necessary as most owners’ insurance policies do not cover damage from flooding and owners must buy flood insurance separately as part of a FEMA managed program. While some owners are required to purchase separate flood insurance as part of their mortgage due to their location, other areas outside of these flood-prone areas commonly experience flooding during these large hurricane events.

About Dustin Smoot:

Smoot, RRC, RRO, LEED AP, is a forensic specialist with Pie Consulting & Engineering, providing forensic engineering services involving building envelope components. Smoot’s technical expertise includes forensic investigation and assessment of damage from weather, construction defects, and product failures. His experience also includes the preparation of bidding documents, peer reviews with recommendations, and quality assurance observation. By working as a contractor, an observer, a consultant, and a designer, Smoot has gained extensive knowledge in building envelope systems design, construction, and failure analysis.