Meet Scott Haskins, Preservation, Restoration, and Conservation Expert and Consultant

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Construction Defects at Police Headquarters and Central Fire Station

Construction defect caused water damage

Lobby of Police and Fire Headquarters

Client: City of Burbank

Cause of Damage: Construction defect resulted in water infiltrations through the front wall/window panels of the lobby of the1999 building. Water settled in the wall structure and in the flooring resulting in extensive mold growth over the years.

Item Damaged: In order for the general contractor to rebuild the wall and access the inner structures, it was required to remove the 2 murals by Shoonhoven on each side of the entrance before demolishing the walls. While the GC was responsible for the project, our firm provided for the City of Burbank:

1. Expert evaluations and consultation to determine project needs before contract was let by City

2. Legal testimony counseling to avoid legal issues of artist’s rights.

3. Evaluations and planning with chosen GC

4. Perform preservation/conservation treatments on artwork/ murals

5. Help GC to maneuver project details to protect murals

6. Provide quality control to facilitate final approval by City and Insurance Representation.

Conservation Treatments: Preparatory protection of murals prior to removal, removal from site, transport to laboratory for treatments, insurance of asset during work/project, cleaning of artwork of mold and building materials, transportation, reinstallation

Removed mural ready for mold removal

Removed mural ready for mold removal

Mark Garrido, Project Manager for the General Contractor on the project posted the following on for Fine Art Conservation Laboratories (FACL, Inc.):

“Scott and his FACL staff of highly competent professional art conservators performed the critical salvage and restoration of a very valuable, irreplaceable historic mural in the main lobby of the Burbank, CA Police/Fire headquarters (as a sub to the general contractor for the City of Burbank). This restoration was a major component of a large water damage correction project that included replacement of the curtain wall system, stone flooring, planters and memorial monument in the middle of and surrounding the mural. Project scheduling was very tight and coordination critical and complex. Under Scott’s hands-on leadership, FACL’s restoration of the mural was flawless, their performance timely and seamless and their cooperation and team work exemplary. Without reservation, I give Scott and FACL my highest recommendation.”

Service Category: Art conservation. Year hired: 2009  Top Qualities: Great Results, Expert, High Integrity

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Santa Barbara County Courthouse Mural Room Smoke Damage

Santa Barbara County Courthouse

Smoke damage on murals and decorative painting

Ins. Company Independent Adjuster: Belfor

Client: Santa Barbara County

Cause of Damage: an electrical fire in the Courthouse caused extensive smoke damage throughout but especially in the historic mural room.

Items Damaged: approximately 3,000 sq. ft or murals, decorative paintings on ceiling, decorative painting on painted window seals, doorways and stair wells.

Services provided: As a consultant, A second opinion was required to double check the proposal for cleaning of the murals. Extreme care was required to make sure no damage occurred during treatments. Independent tests were made by our office, the treatment proposal was evaluated and comments were made. As a result of our consultation work, treatments were modified and the workers put on alert that the work would be scrutinized.

Had the mural cleaning project proposal been submitted to FACL, Inc.  (Scott M. Haskins) for competitive bid, this project could have done for more than $100,000 less than the contracted amount and saved the insurance company the money.

For capability statement on mural conservation and other projects in historic structures nationwide go to

Mural Room Santa Barbara County Court House

Consultation for cleaning of smoke damage

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California Fire – A Smoke Filled House- Smoke Damage

Fires in Santa barbara

Fires damage, smoke damage, handling damage and fire retardant damage

Ins Company: Allstate

Client: Private home

Conditions: As with all fires raging through neighborhoods, the fire takes one house here and leaves the other house next door. Such was the case with this Mediterranean style family home. The fire burned right up to the house, the heat cracking the patio cement but “only” filling the house with smoke and ash.

The client’s insurance company was terrific in handling the major damage but “emotional complications” of the insured kept them from addressing the family history items, collectibles and keepsakes right away. In fact, they put off working with the insurance company for a year, although the smell was still present!

Water damage, smoke damage, fire retardants

Fires also result in smoke damage and water damage

We worked between the insurance company and the insured to:

1. move the client along to complete the claim

2. provided a detailed inventory list, with photos

3. proposed treatments for the delicate items that were not to be handled by industrial cleaners (artwork, rare books, sculpture, drawings, photos etc)

4. provided customer service on behalf of the insurance company to keep the client happy and conclude the claim process (which had been dragging on before we came aboard).

Number of Items: Roughly 550 items ranging from various types of paintings, paper items, photos, books, antiques, furniture, statues and assorted dishes.

Damage Evaluated: strong smoke smell and residue.

FACL, Inc. provided conservation.restoration services when needed. (

FACL Appraisals provided valuations when required (

Unburned but full of smoke

Unburned but full of smoke and ash

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Masonic Temple Lodge Emergency Preparedness Plan Inventory and Appraisal

Client: Masonic Temple Lodge

Insurance Company: Chubb International Insurance

In an insurance company encouraged “emergency preparation” effort, the Masonic Temple undertook an in-house Inventory & Appraisal of all their building’s contents. While regular office contents like furniture, office and sound equipment, and more were included, the most precious and historical items were of extreme interest to the organization.

The term “valuable” was not expressed wholly in terms of financial valuation but also in regards to historical value or emotional and ceremonial value.  These possessions included photographs, certificates, ceremonial robes, books, framed items, art objects, sculpture, architectural details, murals, artworks, papers, memorabilia.

Architectural feature

Architectural feature inventoried in case of earthquake

This Inventory & Appraisal served as an insurance inventory document in case of earthquake disaster, fire, water damage, etc.  Two weeks were spent inventorying, photographing, organizing files and appraising the value of all items in each room, on a total of four floors of their building. They were given a printed copy of their appraisal for their insurance agent or attorney, as well as a CD of photographs of their complete inventory for future use.

The appraisal part of this project was conducted by International Certified Appraiser, Richard Holgate, 805 895 5121

Historic ceiling at Msonic Temple Lodge

Historic stuccoes and painted ceiling of the Masonic Temple

For more information on how to save valuable items in the business environment, go to

Contact our office at 805 564 3438

For immediate needs call anytime Scott M. Haskins’ mobile phone at 805 570 4140

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Water damage from broken pipes in a residence- State Farm Insurance Claim

Ins. Company: State Farm Insurance
Client: Private residence of D. Gravo

Cause of Damage: Broken water pipes in home that resulted in 4″ of pooled water in the living room (and damage in other rooms too).

Number of Valuable Personal Items Damaged: 30 larger items including paintings, frames, art on paper. In addition, there were certificates and photos.

An emergency call was received from a friend of the owner who found the damage while the owner was out of town. Once authorized by the owner, FACL personnel arranged for an immediate rescue salvage visit to pull the personal valuable collectibles, memorabilia, works of art from the premises.

Wet items were laid out in warehouse facilities, dried and cared for. Damage that occurred included water stains, mold and warping of items. Damage was minimized due to fast response and proper action.

Items were then reviewed once the owner returned into town. Priorities were set, estimates were formulated in order to respond to insurance company needs. Plans were made for handling, storage and for treatments. The insurance company, State Farm was excellent in their customer service.

Conservation – restoration treatments that were to be covered by the State Farm were limited to returning the objects to their pre-damaged condition. However, in this case, additional expense was incurred by the owner, taking advantage of upgrading framing and other long term preservation issues and having appraisals updated. Treatments included: Repair of severe water stains, flattening the distortions and ripples, replacing damaged mats, repair of damaged frames, cleaning of smudges and mold, re-waxing of wood surfaces, and the complete dismantling of artwork and the removal of mold and stabilization of condition.

Floods are the #1 disaster

FEMA statistics

When considering valuable personal items, memorabilia, keepsakes, collectibles, artwork, scrapbooks and family history, floods bring the devastating effects of water damage and mold. Much can be done to prepare and protect against damage. Professional specialized services are ready and waiting to mitigage and abate damage.

The mobile number for Scott M. Haskins is 805 570 414o

The office number is 805 564 3438

Email is

Prepare your insured customers with information from

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Chubb Insurance Co. and 32 Works of Art on Paper Damaged During Shipping

Here’s the story of a very lucky heir… that was unlucky in the shipping process of his inheritance! The insured inherited 32 wonderful framed works of art on paper, collected by his mother, by important artists from the 1970′s that had become quite valuable. During the transit from New York to the LA area, the shipper basically destroyed the packaging, damaged the framing beyond repair and damaged all the art.  Chubb Insurance called us to evaluate and report back on:

1. confirm damage and the condition of the frames – provide good quality photos

2. propose new framing costs

3. the damage and condition of the artwork – provide good quality photos

4. conservation/restoration estimates of the artwork

5. obtain appraisals of the artwork before and after conservation

6. Determine what conditions were pre-existing and were not the responsibility of the insurer

We visited the damaged collection where it was being stored by the insured, met with the insured to answer questions and allay fears and respond to Chubb with direct input from the insured. Since we were representing Chubb, the insured was very happy with this “hand holding” personal service. The final decision of who would actually work on the collection was the insured’s and we were pleased that he chose our services enthusiastically.

FACL acted as a “one stop shop” to assist Chubb and the insured to resolve the claim including personal pick up and redelivery of all the items in the claim. While our specialization is conservation and restoration, we secured and oversaw the appraisal process ( and the reframing processes thereby minimizing the efforts required by the insured or Chubb to settle this claim, also making it the most economic resolution possible.

The insured was so pleased with our services, that he gave us additionally 4 other works of art to work on that were not the responsibility of Chubb.

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Legal Claims, Expert Consultant for Mold Infestation

Details can be overwhelming

Business is a "Team Sport" - Get help

I write mostly about how to avoid damage from natural disasters and accidents on collectibles, photos, documents, intellectual property, memorabilia etc. I talk about protecting and saving the original valuable items, making copies as part of a back up plan… what to do to save your stuff at your business. This “coaching” can be essential to your survival… and peace of mind.

But this article is about when the “phooey hits the fan” and you are in need of help. Don’t you know, also, that when you’re in the worse need of help, that help is slow in coming… slow to get resolved, especially if you’ve been damaged by a regional natural disaster and the insurance company is overloaded?

You have property and contents insurance on your business don’t you?! Well, this is a real life story when the claim process needs some extra help to get done. This information could be a lifesaver for you. It was for the client in this situation.

Small business building

Small business building

The insured’s 10 year old Mediterranean style building became infested with mold to the point of people getting sick. The moldy musty smell was easy to detect but State Farm was not accepting the claim because you couldn’t easily see it. Finally, after great effort, the mold was found to be in the building’s structure. With that finding, the insurance company declared that construction defect was present and that was not covered in the policy.

In the meantime, the building had to be emptied of its contents. The industrial cleaners, ServPro were very professional, and correct, in not handling or treating any objects that were overly valuable such as artwork, collectibles, historical objects etc. At this point, Fine Art Conservation Laboratories (FACL, Inc.) were brought into the process as consultants.

FACL, Inc is the type of firm that is

  • specialized in identifying delicate items – guiding the process
  • identifying mold growth
  • overseeing the handling of collections
  • doing surveys and assessments, gathering data for claims, making reports
  • working with industrial cleaning companies both in collaboration and as a subcontractor

From the building 80 paintings were packed and removed, 32 boxes of photos, books, letters, frames, documents, memorabilia, slides, an antique Louis Vuitton trunk. Also, there were numerous historical art objects from past travels.

Valuable trunk full of valuables

Louis Vuitton trunk was cleaned of mold

FACL, Inc. first proved that mold was present for the insurance company and the insured was able to resolve that the contents were covered in the policy. Then, as the client’s consultant, FACL provided reports of damage, treatment proposals and costs as the insurance company directed. This was an enormous service to the insured who was buried in other details and matters and made the working process with the insurance company and the insured much less adversarial. Over the next several months, hand holding for the insured and efficient administration of the details for the insurance company resulted in a satisfactory resolution for all concerned.

In the process, storage had to be arranged, special transportation needs were addressed and several other details that required handhold of the client. In the end, the valuable possessions were returned in good condition to the insured and the matter satisfactorily concluded.

The lessons to be learned:

  • Have the contents of your business insured, specifically.
  • Don’t mess around with mold. Get it taken care of.
  • For sensitive items, artwork, collections, heirlooms, etc get specialized help.
  • A conservation specialist can help you get the claim processed and resolved faster, acting as a valuable go between with the insurance company and the insured.

Appraisal questions:

Conservation questions:

Other insurance related matters:

Follow us on our Facebook pages: “Fine Art Insurance Help” and others listed on the page.

For the national preservation best seller, How To Save Your Stuff From A Disaster, go to the “Products”. Free pamphlets and downloads also available.

For Museum Wax, a great easy to use product, to protect items when the building starts to shake, also, go to the “Products”

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Fire Damage

Ins. Company: AIG- Chartis Insurance
Client: Mr. & Mrs. McCorkell
Cause of Damage: 2 Fires 1st in 2008 2nd 2009
Number of Items: 17 sculptures 3 other ptgs and prints.

Conservation Treatment: Cleaned, painted and waxed sculptures. Square up paper, relax and remove wrinkles / distortion, Deacidified paper. In painted, lined and varnished painting. Touched up of frame.

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Museum Curator Says Throw Family History and Heirlooms Out? An Insurance Liability?

Inherited Garage Sale Vase or Inherited From The Homeland?

Trash or Treasure?

Ellen Lupton, the curator of contemporary design at the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum and the director of the master’s program in graphic design at the Maryland Institute College of Art recently posted a well written and humorous article in the opinion section of the NY Times about the angst of having inherited stuff from the past. It appears that her need to eliminate clutter trumps her archival gene… something I didn’t expect from a curator.

Here’s the article:

So, if something is damaged and it costs less to repair than to replace, is this curator’s advice an insurance liability? If its an heirloom, does the agent help ease the pain by guiding the insured to get good advice?… or just toss old stuff out?

Appraisal questions:

For an entertaining 7 min. video story of an appraisal adventure go to

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