When you manage a commercial property, being prepared for water-related disasters is essential to successfully navigating problems and getting the property back to normal swiftly. You don’t want to risk not having a plan in place to combat water damage, which is much more common than many people realize. Consider these facts:
- The most common causes of water damage are everyday occurrences that are hard to avoid, such as overflowing toilets, burst pipes, and broken water heaters.
- Damage can also arise from storms, floods and fire extinguishment.
- Because it is so common, water damage is the second most frequent reason for insurance claims in the United States.
- Insurance claims related to water damage add up to millions of dollars a year.
- Just one inch of water can cause serious damage to the property you manage — and secondary problems, like destroyed possessions and unhealthy mold growth, can result if you don’t stop the damage fast.
Fortunately, property managers can establish a disaster plan to help protect the value of commercial properties and eliminate potential health hazards to tenants, even if you experience a water disaster. Adding these tips to your playbook can help you effectively handle water damage on your commercial properties and make it easier to prevent water disasters in the first place.
Take the following actions as soon as a water-related disaster occurs:
- If the source of the water is plumbing — such as a burst pipe — immediately shut off the water to the property to stop further damage.
- Shut off electricity to affected areas until it is verified that the wiring has not been exposed to water.
- Move furniture, documents, electronics, and other valuable items to dry ground.
- Thoroughly document the damage. Take photographs and videos, and make notes as to what is damaged.
- Contact your insurance company to start the claim filing process. Do not start repairs before an insurance inspector views the property and assesses the damage.
- Call in a professional restoration company that is qualified to identify all the damage and eliminate problems such as mold growth (which can begin within 24 hours of a flooding incident).
Establish a preventative maintenance plan ahead of time.
While it is not always possible to prevent situations such as storm-related leaks or flooding, many of the most common causes of water damage can be greatly lessened with some preventative policies. In addition to establishing a disaster plan you can implement in the event of water damage on your commercial property, it’s also important to set up routine maintenance to spot potential issues before they become damaging leaks. Consider adding these steps to your property management maintenance plans:
- Perform regular inspections. Unfortunately, tenants do not always report water damage when it happens. They may not even realize the damage has occurred. As part of your regular routine maintenance plans, inspect the interior and exterior of your commercial property to identify and address damage quickly.
There are several areas to inspect for leaks, condensation, water stains, and other signs of water damage, including:
- Exhaust fans in kitchens and bathrooms
- Window frames and windows
- Ceilings, walls and floors, including attics, crawl spaces, basements, and the areas around appliances and water heaters
- Gutters and downspouts
- Kitchen and bathroom sink cabinets
- Damaged or missing roof tiles
- HVAC drain lines and drip trays, as well as ductwork
- Educate your tenants. Provide all tenants with useful information to help them identify and avoid water damage, such as:
- The signs of water damage
- Tips for preventing water damage
- Property inspection and maintenance dates
- What to do when they experience a leak
- Establish a business continuity plan. Leaks or flooding may interrupt the normal course of business for a while as you have the property inspected, assess damage and make repairs. But you can minimize the interruption and keep business moving forward for yourself and your tenants by:
- Ensuring your commercial property insurance policy fully covers potential causes of water damage
- Establishing ways to assist tenants as they move their possessions from damaged areas
- Investigating places where you might be able to do business, such as shared office spaces, while the property is being restored
- Maintaining a list of preferred vendors who can assist with the restoration process, such as electricians, plumbers, and restoration companies
We’re here to help!
Whether you’re dealing with a water disaster on your commercial property right now, or you want to set a preparedness plan in place, TRILINK Restoration Services can help. Our professionally trained teams have nearly 50 years of experience in helping commercial property managers and owners address water damage swiftly. Contact us today at 405-525-5465 or through our online contact form to learn how we can help you keep your commercial property in excellent shape — even when water disaster strikes.