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Save the elephants!

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Friday 20th September 2019 | By ma-admin

Save the elephants!

An elephant task

In May 2019 an obstruction in a sewer pipe caused an escape of black water from the drains near a large property in Essex. The black water damage was far reaching, flooding the entire back garden and a converted garage with foul, contaminated water.

Once the water company had pumped out the contaminated surface water MA Group was appointed onto the claim, and we soon discovered that this was going to be an elephant task.

The garden of this High Net Worth customer had a swimming pool featuring two stone elephants, a very heavy fountain, palm trees, thatched garden buildings, sheds full of contents, ruined decking and contaminated soil and slabs.

There was limited access to the working area through a narrow single gateway and the remedial works would all have to be done within a restricted space.

There were many parties involved including a swimming pool technician, gardeners, garden building specialist, a soil testing laboratory, electricians and a water company.

As if that wasn’t enough, the customer was hosting her brother’s wedding in just 8 weeks’ time, so needed it all back to normal by then.

No pressure then!

Project planning

Expert project management was needed for this claim and it would require detailed planning and coordination.

Luckily MA Group’s Integrated Property Claim Proposition was designed for just such an incident, and our project team kicked into action, determined not to ignore the “elephants in the room”.

The first company on site was Revival SE London. They quickly removed all the salvageable contents to storage, jet-washed the sewage from the garden, stripped out the garage and installed driers.

A seamless handover to MA Assist ensured that Building Repair Solutions (BRS), a contractor on MA Assist’s network, visited site just a week after the incident. MA Group’s Health & Safety and Technical Manager, Geof Loe, was also appointed to the job to oversee the project.

Pre-start planning and co-ordination included:

  • A gardener to remove and store the palm trees and other plants.
  • Robust protection for the swimming pool, and the elephants, comprising heavy gauge polythene and a plywood deck.
  • Welfare facilities as it was not appropriate to use the customer’s facilities.
  • Soil testing for contamination by a specialist.
  • Detailed project plans and CDM paperwork.

And finally, the customer decided that she wanted her fountain to be removed before works started as well, which raised a challenge as it weighed several tonnes and there was restricted access to the garden.


The project team decided that the elephants didn’t need to pack their trunks and move out and that works could be carried out around them. Works commenced as planned on 3rd June.

The core remedial works carried out included:

  • complete removal and replacement of the decking area around the pool,
  • complete removal and replacement of the patio area including the sub–base,
  • remedial works to the converted garage plus all the associated electrical and plumbing works required in all areas,
  • removal, restoration and return of the thatched buildings,
  • replacement of other garden buildings, and
  • return and replanting of palm trees, plants and decorative pots.


All of this had to be done without damaging the pool and the elephants.

A memorable project for all

Bill Murray once said “They say an elephant never forgets. What they don’t tell you is, you never forget an elephant.” Well, none of us will ever forget these elephants!

The works were completed on time, and the wedding celebrations were unaffected, much to everyone’s relief. The customer was delighted, and so was the insurer client.


Well done to everyone at Revival SE London, MA Assist and BRS for rising to the challenge and delivering a challenging project on time.

This is a great example of how MA Group‘s Integrated Property Claim Proposition is so successful. It delivers complicated claim fulfilment with no hand-offs, good cost control and good stakeholder management.

To find out more please get in touch.

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