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Managing capacity during local and national surges

As a leading global restoration and repair company, we handle fire, water and other property damage day in day out. Our people help businesses and homeowners to overcome the consequences of damage quickly, smoothly, and cost-effectively. 

However, when a significant environmental event takes place, how do we ensure we have the right resources and people ready to spring into action? 


In the property restoration industry, we refer to such incidents as surges. A surge is an unexpected event that impacts a large number of people simultaneously, resulting in a sharp increase in demand for our services. 

We can split surges into two categories. A national surge is the consequence of a weather event happening all over the country. For example, the cold snap we saw in December 2022, which led to frozen pipes and water tank ruptures. 

A localised surge typically impacts lots of people in one specific area. A village fire or flooding across a town or city, for example. 

Whether it’s a natural disaster, such as severe storms, or water or fire damage, significant restoration services are required to enable homeowners and businesses to return to normality. 

Both categories of surges require a rapid, high-level response. The manpower needed to address such incidents is significant. We need to ensure we have enough people on the ground to resolve such widespread damage. 

Ensuring capacity 

When such a large-scale surge occurs, businesses like ours need to ensure that they have enough people on the ground to respond. This can mean moving resources around from one location to another to address the most pressing issues first. But it can be incredibly tricky for the industry to manage. 

In the last few years, the industry has seen a steady reduction in business-as-usual volume. Many companies in our industry are lowering their headcount because the market for day-to-day work outside of ‘surges’ is slowing. Why? It seems that people are increasingly opting for settlements, rather than restoration and reinstatement. 

However, when disaster strikes on a local or national level, this means that the industry faces capacity issues and can struggle to scale up quickly enough to support. 

For example, when the big freeze hit last winter, we saw burst pipes and water tanks impacting properties up and down the country. With the cost-of-living crisis hitting homeowners hard, many people were shutting down their heating, or using less, to save on their energy bills. But the knock-on effect meant that the consequences – water damage – was more severe than a typical winter. 

The industry needed to respond quickly, but because of the reduction in business-as-usual activity, many firms simply didn’t have the staff on the ground, so therefore had less capacity to be able to scale up and handle the issue. This meant longer-lead times and wait times for homeowners to get a resolution. 


As climate change continues to shape extreme weather patterns, surges like this are likely to become increasingly likely and more frequent. So how can we better plan, to ensure we have the resources and capacity available when disaster strikes? 

It is time for the wider industry and our stakeholders to come together to share knowledge and ideas on how we can futureproof the restoration industry and put companies like ours in the best position to react to surges. 

BELFOR Media Contact

Sam Dawson
Phone: +44 (0) 7770 226 269