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Fire Damage Calculator

Terms and Definitions 

The calculators and evaluation tools found on have been created to reflect uniform price guidelines within the fire service, insurance and restoration industry. They are not designed to reflect exact reconstruction or replacement costs and have been found to be within a 5% margin of error when the proper dimensions and structural elements are selected. If a detailed line item estimate is required, it is recommended that you hire a licensed contractor who specializes in insurance restoration. 

The following definitions represent the general meaning of the term as it relates to this calculator. It is by design very generic and not intended to be a precise description of any structural element.  When using this calculator always associate your subject with a comparable selection of similar value to the best of your ability.


State Selections: Every State has a unique price index to reflect the current market conditions associated with the building industry and is updated on a semi-annual basis.

Approx Year built: is critical to the replacement and reconstruction cost calculations. Structures built prior to 1978 may contain lead, asbestos or some other environmentally harmful substance that may require additional handling and disposal fees and or require certain upgrades to bring the building up to current building codes.  Structures built prior to 1915 may have historic significance and require costly preservation.  Correct dates produce the most accurate calculations but approximate dates can be used.

Building Use: (commercial calculator only) Building use has a substantial impact on the reconstruction and restoration cost of a commercial building.  Each use type has a different price index specific to structural characteristics for that industry. While some buildings may have mixed use, selecting the primary function is recommended.  

Construction Grade:

Mobile/Modular:  (residential calculator only) Prefabricated home delivered to site generally set on slab or crawl space. Vinyl or aluminum siding, drywall or panel interior wall finishes. Production made cabinets, vinyl or basic trim package *Note* Replacement cost includes delivery and set up fees.


Economy:  (Residential) Simple wood frame, stock design, vinyl or similar type siding, asphalt shingles

on simple roof design, drywall or panel interior walls, production made cabinets, basic trim package.


Economy: (commercial) Simple design, wood frame or block construction, flat roof, low detail interior finishes.


Standard: (commercial calculator only) Brick or Block construction, multiple level building, flat or sloped roof, elevator, basic interior finishes.    


Average: (residential calculator only)  Wood frame, vinyl or similar type siding, may have some brick or stone, asphalt shingles, roof may have multiple peaks or gables, drywall walls, standard grade cabinets, wood trim package.


Custom: (residential calculator only) Designer plans, primarily brick or stone siding, roof may have multiple peaks and valleys, asphalt dimensional, or “cedar” like shingles, custom cabinets and trim package, specialty paint


Luxury: (residential) Unique design, stone, brick, or other unique siding, multiple roof levels, cedar shake, clay tile or slate roofing material, custom interior finishes including custom cabinets, granite counter tops high detailed trim, crown moldings, built in appliances.


Luxury: (commercial) Unique design, block, brick, stone, glass curtain wall, multiple levels, flat or sloped roof, highly detailed interior finishes may include marble, plaster, highly polished brass, metal or aluminum trim, high ceilings, atrium or large common areas.


Occupants: (residential calculator only) The number of residents impact the content allowance and restoration expenses. 


Dimensions: Length, width and number of floors above grade are used to determine the overall size of the structure. precise measurements produce the most accurate results but approximate dimensions can be used.  




Slab-concrete pad home is built or set on.

Crawl Space: generally built up off the ground with block, brick or framing. Floor of crawl space may be dirt with plastic vapor barrier, gravel or cement.


Unfinished Basement: exposed block, cement or stone walls, no finishes on walls or concrete floor. Exposed ceiling joists.


Finished Basement: Drywall or paneled walls, tile or carpet floors, finished ceilings, temperature controlled usable space.

Bedrooms & Bathrooms (residential calculator only):  Number of bathrooms and bedrooms can affect the overall price of construction or repairs.


Garage (residential calculator only) Attached garage would impact overall replacement cost as well as restoration cost.


Exterior Finishes: Exterior finishes should be selected with a certain degree of accuracy; if exact match is not available something of comparable value will work (Example: Brick in place of Block)


Deck: (residential calculator only) select approximate size of deck (or combined total if multiple decks) from the drop down list.

Interior Finishes: Interior finish selections should be as accurate as possible. Use similar or comparable value material if desired selection is not available. 


Characteristics of Fire: The “characteristics of fire” is the most important selection to determine realistic restoration costs. 


% Damaged by Fire:  Refers to the approximate area of actual fire damage, or area consumed by actual flames.


Temperature of Fire: high heat, smoldering, flash fire, smoke odor only all impact the restoration of a structure in different ways.

Degree of smoke damage: refers to the type of smoke damage or soot residue.  Heavy wet greasy soot is much more difficult to clean compared to dry particulate from a well ventilated fire.  Protein odor is the most difficult of all soot damage to remove even though it is not visible.


Location of the Fire: impacts the overall restoration costs.  A fire in the basement can cause heat and smoke damage to all floors above while a fire in the attic may cause more water damage to lower floors.


Send Report To:

If you need a copy of these calculations to attach to your incident report, please include your email in the designated box and click submit.  A PDF copy will be instantly emailed to you.

Replacement Cost Calculations are what it would cost to replace the structure in today’s dollars.  It is not the current market value of the structure.  It is important to know the difference and why that is important in the insurance and restoration industry.    Market values fluctuate as do building costs and often times not at the same rate.  It is not uncommon for the market value to be much lower than the replacement cost especially in historic buildings.


*NOTE*  The loss related damage of some devastating structure fires may exceed the value of the replacement cost. This is referred to as a total loss.  In addition to replacement costs calculations some other costs will apply such as demo of damaged structure and site preparation for new structure.


Contents (residential calculator only) calculate the replacement cost of contents to be at 60% of the total building value. This is a standard calculation used in the insurance industry to calculate the average amount of contents in a home.  Our calculations are adjusted based on the number of occupants living in the home.  


Loss Related Damage: relates to the restoration costs to clean, and rebuild a structure after a fire.


Loss Related Content Damage (residential calculator only) refers to the cost to clean and restore the personal property from within the structure to a pre loss condition.  These expenses could include the cost of replacing lost or damaged items, packing, moving and storage fees, all costs associated with cleaning including dry cleaning of clothing cleaning of electronics , furniture refinishing and returning of the contents after the structure is complete. 


Property Protected: Is the intrinsic value of the fire departments effort to save the structure and contents.  Next to “Life Saving” the annualized value of property protected represents the true importance of the fire departments value to its community.

Click on the link to download the Fire Damage Calculator "white paper"

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