Water damage in a commercial property should be immediately addressed — otherwise, the health and safety of employees and customers are at risk. Restoration processes differ for commercial water damage in comparison to residential water damage. Here’s how to handle the disaster.
Due to its complexity, commercial water damage cleanup requires an intensive approach. Restoration strategies take into account the size of the building, the different uses of space, how far the water damage has progressed, and the number of staff working onsite.
Plus, the water damage restoration process in commercial buildings is often accompanied by time constraints. Businesses must return to operations as soon as possible. Nevertheless, some types of commercial water damage can be remediated when the causes are caught earlier.
Damaged windows, for instance, allow water seepage. Excess moisture enters and triggers mold growth, warped wood, and destruction of drywall. Damaged pipes are another cause of water damage in commercial properties. Pipes can burst, leading to water stains on walls and ceilings.
When drainage systems are poor, the foundation can undergo water damage. In areas with heavy snow and rains, roof leaks can occur and lead to water damage. Worn or damaged HVAC systems, sprinkler system leaks, and sewer clogs are common causes of commercial water damage.
Commercial properties are at risk for water damage, so it is important to purchase insurance coverage. Property insurance policies do not typically cover flooding. Water damage insurance is helpful in the event that a business is affected by significant and costly water damage.
Also conduct water damage inspections on a routine basis. Preventing a serious case of water damage is far less expensive than restoring the property. A professional should inspect the property at least once a year, monitoring humidity levels and using spot sensors to detect excess moisture.
Locate the Water Source
When water damage strikes in a commercial property, the first step is to identify the moisture source. Water leaks in a building can occur in a variety of places. Examine the roof for holes and check the pipes for possible leakage. Work with a plumber to locate the water source.
Shut Off the Water
Shutting off the water main will stop the spread of water damage. This tactic is especially helpful when the water damage is due to a burst or leaky pipe. Also become familiar with knowing how to turn off the fire sprinkler system.
Identify the Water Class
Ensuring safety during a water damage emergency requires knowing what type of water has engulfed the property. In order of toxicity, three classes of flood water exist: clean, gray, and black. Each category of water poses a different health risk, with black water causing the most potential harm.
Clean (or white) water is the least contaminated, coming mainly from plumbing systems. Gray water is slightly polluted and is produced by toilet overflows, sink drainpipes, and dishwashers. Sewage backups and storm flooding unleash highly toxic black water and require restoration by experts.
Notify Staff and Customers
Once the main water valve is shut off and the source of water damage has been addressed, alert the building occupants of the damage. Via posted signs or notices, advise staff and customers to avoid all areas affected by the water damage.
In the event the water damage is severe enough to warrant temporary closure of the business, notify customers. Communicate the steps being taken to resolve the water damage. Call or email to let them know when the business is expected to reopen.
Immediately addressing the water damage will prevent mold growth. Introduce fresh air into the water damaged vicinity by opening windows if weather permits. Open doors and run large fans. Speeding up the drying process will deter mold, which can grow within 24 hours of water damage.
Notify the Insurer
Contact the insurance company and explain the extent of the damage. An adjuster will be assigned to inspect the property within one to two days. A professional adjuster will also be able to recommend an IICRC certified water damage restoration company.
Avoid beginning cleanup until after the adjuster has completed the inspection. Waiting until afterward ensures a fair evaluation of the damage, whether they include soggy carpeting, damaged machinery, or saturated furniture. Take ample photos and video of the damage for insurance purposes.
Hire a Restoration Professional
Consider utilizing the IICRC certified water damage restoration service recommended by the insurance adjuster. A specialized water damage repair company understands the need to address the damage promptly. Emergency water damage restoration services will also be available from the company.
Water damage has the tendency to create hidden problems, such as water damage behind walls, buckled subfloors, or mold growth under carpeting. Be aware that the visible water damage is only a part of the problem and that water damage restoration pros will tackle the concealed issues, too.
Call ServiceMaster Restoration and Cleaning
Swiftly addressing a water damage problem in a commercial building will help stop its spread. Staining, warping, and rotting can quickly occur in the aftermath of a water damage crisis. ServiceMaster Restoration and Cleaning pros will tackle the water damage and prevent further ruin.
Our highly skilled teams of water damage cleanup technicians utilize advanced equipment to remove all standing water from your property. Crews provide restoration services to return the property to its pre-loss condition quickly. We treat affected areas to prevent mold infestations.
Water damage mitigation should not be delayed. Porous building materials, like wood, drywall, and flooring, absorb moisture at a rapid rate and lead to the weakening of the building structure. When the integrity of the structure is compromised, the safety of occupants is at risk.
Prevent further structural problems that will stem from a water damage event by calling ServiceMaster Restoration and Cleaning right away. Our water damage restoration specialists will evaluate the property, prepare a water damage cleanup plan, and begin the restoration process.
ServiceMaster Restoration and Cleaning technicians stand by 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, to respond to water damage emergencies. Our technicians are available to serve commercial properties located in the communities surrounding Houston, Texas. Call to receive a water damage cleanup estimate.