Natural phenomena like changing weather are what mainly cause buildings to wear out years after these were constructed. Depending on the location, isolated events like soil erosion, seismic movement, flood, or even civil unrest are also huge determinants of the longevity of buildings. In response, construction services continue to develop more durable materials and building and maintenance tech.
With nature running its course are the varying levels of moisture that penetrate building structures. This could come in the form of rainwater that our windows fail to block or that doesn’t drain out from piping or, worse, flooding within the building’s premises. Water is just one of the many natural elements that interact with the structural aspects of our building. Despite efforts to build the most durable pipes, the damage it causes is almost always intractable.
As if fluctuating weather patterns aren’t enough basis for actions to be taken by business owners, there are also many ways water damage can be incurred internally. This is not exclusive to plumbing and sprinkler systems that need waterproof sealing. Equipment that involves water use such as washing machines, refrigerators, and even toilets and faucets, if left unmaintained or unattended, can cause an excess in standing water and initial mold buildup. It can also damage nearby fixtures and flooring, with the most vulnerable are those made of wood.
Another source of water damage is faulty HVAC systems. This can happen when air conditioning is poorly regulated, drastic temperature changes in other words, and it results in moisture buildup. Likewise, the structure is a viable environment for mold and can cause damage in the makeup of ducts and adjacent systems.
There’s no doubt water damage is one of the significant causes of decay in buildings, and it has enormous financial implications for businesses if not addressed the soonest. Insurance company Chubb estimates an aggregate of $3 million to $6.5 million in costs to resolve major water damage, depending on how big the damage and the building are. If interpreted, this can equate to a year of opportunities lost caused by the downtime. Not to mention that in healthcare settings, this could compromise the welfare or, worse, the lives of patients.
The least businesses can do is delay the effects of water damage on the structural integrity of their building. Doing this involves proactive checking for early signs. Here are just some tips you can heed:
From the get-go, the management should assert the best terms during the negotiation of terms with the contractor of the building’s mechanical works. It’s essential to establish that in the average 15-year economic life of the HVAC system, the contractor should commit to performing regular preventive maintenance and, for any detected issues, corrective ones. Having the company’s project manager present during project discussions to cover fire detection, alarm systems, and plumbing works would be best.
Plungers can only do so much for clogged toilets until draining doesn’t seem to get back to normal after a while. While it doesn’t sound so serious, stagnant sewage water can be a breeding ground for illness-causing pathogens. That’s why it’s crucial to have a trusted plumbing service provider take a more in-depth look into the sewers and diagnose biohazards if any.
As with HVAC systems, service providers should regularly maintain equipment regardless of whether the warranty is still valid or already expired. The end-users should also be responsible for the proper use and care of this equipment, making sure to wipe excess water, to avoid premature damage. The management’s property custodian must be empowered to efficiently declare defective equipment to facilitate faster replacement.
Gutters, roofs, window sills, curbs, and ramps should be regularly checked for signs of water retention. If detected early, these can be repaired by painting or appropriate straightening and filling works. Flood-prone establishments can take early preventive measures by heeding the local authority’s flood monitoring system alerts.
To work out a policy with an insurer is also one of the best ways to protect your business’s assets. There is insurance specifically for water damage, and claims can be filed if a flood causes major leaks. This will save you the hassle of sourcing funds when the worst happens.
The effects of water damage can be more than meets the eye. Discolored drywall, for instance, should not be merely dismissed as a sign of an aging building. To minimize costs, it is always best to nip any problem in the bud, and that involves proper structural investigation, reporting, and corrective measures.