Archived Commercial Blog Posts
Commercial Water Restoration in Santa Maria, CA
Local disaster recovery specialist offers insight into the complexities of dealing with disaster and water damage in Santa Maria.
When disaster strikes, property owners need to make a lot of decisions quickly and under pressure. Effective disaster remediation involves a lot of moving parts: remediation specialists, insurance companies, local codes, state codes, documentation and more—and all of this has to happen in an atmosphere charged with emotion and stress.
Mark Powers of SERVPRO of Santa Maria says, “Efficiency is key when you are dealing with disaster remediation; it saves our customers money and it makes our work more effective. SERVPRO is an industry leader in work efficiency technology—continually innovating to help both our customers and our business control costs.”
SERVPRO’s proprietary DryBook™ tool is one example of the company’s focus on efficiency and cost control. Remediation projects must be managed to both industry and insurance company standards, and Joseph says that tools like DryBook™ help SERVPRO Franchise technicians track and document progress on restoration, cleanup and repair services. “The DryBook™ tool helps us deliver on every detail of every water damage job, every time,” says Powers.
To help avoid regulatory headaches and paperwork pitfalls, Powers suggests property owners consider the following criteria when choosing a remediation company to deal with the aftermath of a disaster.
Industry standards: Does your remediation company deliver a product that meets the standards set by
- The Institute of Inspection, Cleaning and Restoration Certification (IICRC)?
- Most major insurance companies, including cycle times and deadline requirements?
Recordkeeping: Does your remediation company have a system in place to ensure accurate, complete and convenient benchmarking of each step of the remediation process, including
- Capturing and updating data, including job diary notes, electronically and real-time on the jobsite, with simultaneous updates saved at the central office?
- Using e-signatures to help eliminate lost paperwork and the need to scan documents?
- Providing a complete record of the damage and remediation efforts in images, with descriptions, start-to-finish?
Equipment selection: Does your contractor have the ability, on-the-spot, to
- Identify the right equipment for the job, based on the damage description?
- Validate the use of each piece of equipment, automatically, as part of the remediation records?
Founded in 1967, the SERVPRO® Franchise System is a national leader and provider of fire and water cleanup and restoration services and mold mitigation and remediation. SERVPRO’s professional services network of nearly 1,700 individually owned and operated Franchises responds to property damage emergencies ranging from small individual disasters to multi-million dollar losses. Providing coverage in the United States and Canada, the SERVPRO System has established relationships with major insurance companies and commercial clients, as well as individual homeowners.
What Gives Mold a Musty Smell?
If the mold growing in a structure is producing mycotoxins, containment measures may be necessary.
Mold is a type of fungus that requires moisture and food. The metabolisms of these living organisms release off-gases during the growth cycle. These odorous gases are chemical compounds known as microbial volatile organic compounds. Learn more about what MVOCs are and how these compounds differ from mycotoxin and spores.
MVOCs are gases released when mold is actively growing. There are more than 200 known MVOCs, including the following types of compounds:
An indoor environmental professional can perform a mold test to determine whether a musty odor indicates that mold is currently growing in a building. Test results may identify the species of mold and the types of compounds that are present.
MVOCs vs. Mycotoxin
All fungus in an active growth cycle releases MVOCs, but not every species of mold produces mycotoxins. Some species that do produce toxins generate more than one toxin. Here are a few of the most common mycotoxins:
- Ochratoxin A
If the mold growing in a structure is producing mycotoxins, containment measures may be necessary. Building owners or managers should arrange for remediation as soon as possible.
MVOCs vs. Spores
Mold reproduces by making spores. Spores do not produce a musty odor, but do cause mold to spread. A spore that lands on a damp surface with an available food source may start to grow within a matter of hours. Spores are particles that range from three microns up to 100 microns in size.
Active mold growth will emit MVOCs and spores. Certain species of toxigenic mold also release mycotoxin. If a musty smell is detectable at a building in Santa Maria, CA, it is possible that some form of fungus is growing. An indoor environmental professional can perform accurate mold testing and a mold remediation service can eliminate any colonies of fungi found on the premises.
3 Ways To Protect a Business From Fire
Every commercial business in Santa Maria,CA should have smoke detectors
3 Ways To Protect a Business From Fire
Fires can swiftly destroy property and pose a threat to occupants in a commercial building. Here are three fire preparation measures that building owners and occupants can take to protect any business from fire.
1. Arrange For a Fire Hazard Analysis
A disaster preparation expert can perform an analysis of fire hazards in a structure. Risks may include combustible building materials, improper handling of flammable contents, or a lack of functional alarm and suppression systems. A hazard analysis can help building and business owners develop more practical fire safety and evacuation plans.
2. Test Alarm and Fire Suppression Systems
Every commercial structure should be equipped with operational fire detection and suppression equipment. For fire preparation purposes, smoke or fire detectors should be tested monthly and sprinkler system inspections should occur at least once a year or as needed.
Make sure that detection devices have a reliable primary and backup power source and are designed to function in the most useful ways for the purpose of the structure. Sprinklers should be functional and arranged to correspond to the current usage of a facility.
3. Perform Drills and Post Emergency Information
Occupants will need to practice evacuating from a structure at least twice a year. Be sure to inform new employees about fire safety policies, and post emergency information throughout the structure for the benefit of guests. Ensure that every occupant is aware of primary and secondary evacuation routes and knows not to use elevators in the event of a fire.
These measures can help to protect a commercial property and the occupants of a structure from fire. Fire preparation should be a consistent effort to ensure that building occupants will know what to do when a fire breaks out. A building owner or manager should maintain access to contact information for insurers and a fire damage mitigation company in Santa Maria, CA.
3 Common Commercial Building Water Concerns
Over time, sewer and water lines may deteriorate, making your commercial facility vulnerable to leaking pipes. Sometimes external conditions may also pose a threat. Understanding common water issues that can plague any Santa Maria, CA, business may help you evaluate your risks and address areas of concern before significant damage occurs.
1. Broken Pipes
Your building’s aging water infrastructure may be susceptible to cracks and leaks. Although a pipe break may sometimes be unavoidable, you can help reduce the risk by planting trees and shrubs away from exterior water lines.
Pipes are also susceptible to bursts during the winter. To help prevent freezing and alleviate this concern, you should insulate exposed supply lines, especially ones located against external walls or in colder areas of your building.
Since many plumbing structures are hidden behind walls and under flooring, leaking pipes may be difficult to detect. Because of this, it’s essential to recognize potential symptoms of water seepage, such as damp, bubbled or stained walls and ceilings, and promptly investigate any suspicious areas.
2. Condensation Buildup
Condensation buildup can also be a problematic moisture concern that may cause mold growth. To rectify this issue, you can employ dehumidifiers and use fans to enhance air circulation. You can also keep excessive condensation at bay by warming colder zones of your building, ensuring there is adequate insulation and addressing drafty windows and doors.
3. Leaking Toilets
An overflowing or leaking toilet can cause both unsanitary contamination and water damage. Routine inspections can help you evaluate internal components and detect drainage issues before a toilet backup occurs. You can also help reduce the risks of clogs and leaks by reminding staff and customers to refrain from flushing pads, tampons, diapers and paper towels.
Overflowing toilets, leaking pipes and significant condensation can wreak havoc on any business. Taking the time to address specific issues inside your building can help preserve the facility’s structural integrity and spare you from a messy water cleanup.
3 Easy Ways To Mitigate Wind Damage
Roof leak in garage due to storm in Santa Maria,CA
Some of the most extensive storm damage can come from wind. Many insurance policies covering commercial businesses require you, the business owner, to mitigate damage to your property from a storm. That means you are on the hook for stopping further damage to your business in the wake of storm winds. Fortunately, there are many ways to do this, from tarping your building against a roof leak to securing loose debris. Here are few quick and easy ways you can mitigate wind damage in Santa Maria,CA before it’s a problem.
1. Reinforce Vulnerable Areas
Your roof can be especially vulnerable to wind damage, with fierce gusts blowing shingles loose. Those missing shingles can damage your roof’s integrity, resulting in a roof leak down the road. Investing in a tarp to cover your roof when a hurricane or other catastrophic storm approaches can mitigate some of this risk.
2. Replace Landscaping
Gravel tossed around by hurricane-force winds can wreak havoc on your building, shredding siding and even damaging windows. Prevent such damage by replacing gravel or rock landscaping walkways with softer materials. Mulch, pine straw or dirt is a great choice to provide an attractive appearance while minimizing storm-damage risks.
3. Trim Trees
Tree limbs can easily break off and fall onto buildings during a storm. The result can be a damaged roof and a high repair bill. Take steps to prevent such damage by trimming trees and shrubs away from your building. Talk to your local utility company to have limbs near utility lines trimmed as well, protecting your roof from falling lines or poles.
Severe storms with high winds can strike in any region at any time of year, bringing a roof leak or worse. Take some of these steps to mitigate damage or talk with a storm damage remediation specialist to learn more about how you can keep your business secure.
Tips for Preventing and Repairing Frozen Pipes
Broken pipe in Santa Maria, CA
Sweaters, snowfall and skating in Santa Maria, CA, are some of the best parts of the winter season. Running a business in a cold weather climate, however, has its unique challenges. As a commercial property owner, one of your biggest worries specific to cold weather is the possibility of water damage from frozen pipes.
How To Prevent Frozen Pipes
When water freezes, it expands and increases pressure in pipes. This pressure is what often leads to broken pipes in the colder months. Reduce the risk of water damage by implementing preventative measures:
- Drain and disconnect outdoor hoses and supply lines. Close all inside valves leading to outside lines, but leave outside valves open to release pressure due to expansion.
- Insulate all areas of your commercial property that have pipes running through the space. This includes basements, garages and attics.
- Insulate exposed plumbing, especially water supply lines, in areas that tend to receive less heat or air circulation.
- If you shut your business down during the cold weather, leave the heat on a low temperature (minimum 50 degrees) and turn off the water main.
How To Repair Broken Pipes
Sometimes a pipe freezes and thaws without serious implications. Other times a pipe breaks and water cleanup is unavoidable. In these cases, take the following actions to lessen the potential damage from water:
- To thaw a frozen pipe, leave the faucet on to encourage the flow of water. Apply gentle heat to the frozen area of the pipe if accessible.
- After a pipe breaks, turn off the water main to the building. Call your insurance agent to see if the damage is covered under your policy. Contact a water restoration specialist to dry, clean and restore your property.
When possible, prevent and thaw frozen pipes at your commercial property in Santa Maria, CA. If broken pipes ensue, act fast to reduce water damage to the structure and contents of your business.
Understanding Secondary Damage
Mold in a Santa Maria building.
When you have a flood in your commercial building in Santa Maria, CA, it's hard to know what the extent of the damage will be until you get a remediation team in there for an inspection. This crew can help you do the following:
• Assess the damage.
• Create a repair plan.
• Initiate cleanup.
As the professionals are assessing your damage, you may hear them talk about primary and secondary damage. Here's what you need to know about damage that's caused indirectly by the waters.
What It Doesn't Include
This secondary form of destruction can include a wide range of damage, but it doesn't include everything done to your building. The primary damage is anything done when the pipe burst or the roof leaked. For example, black mold growth wasn't caused directly by the flooding, but damaged walls and ceilings may have been.
How It's Formed
Because this type of damage only includes the harm done after the flooding has ceased, how is the damage done? Often slow reaction time, improper cleanup and hidden problems cause what the professionals consider to be nonprimary damage. For example, black mold growth does not happen the instant a flood starts. Instead, it takes 24 to 48 hours to begin. High humidity may also be a secondary type of damage because it takes place when the water is allowed to sit for too long or is not completely removed from the building.
What It Does Include
Because it's caused by slow reactions, this damage can include mold growth, unsalvageable furnishings, water contamination and the spread of the flood. If a pipe bursts on the second floor, the water may start to travel to lower levels if it is not caught soon enough. The path of the water may be considered secondary or primary damage depending on what caused the travel.
Mold growth, including black mold, is often considered a type of secondary damage. However, your commercial space could by affected by other types of secondary destruction if you don't properly address water issues right away.
Restoring Your Santa Maria Commercial Property After A Water Damage Event
Flooding and water damage events at Santa Maria commercial properties are often complex with numerous issues that require a knowledgeable and flexible response. Whether we're dealing with a relatively small water cleanup scenario or a large scale event, we work quickly to assess each unique situation and isolate the damaged area. In many instances, normal operations can continue in a temporary space while we restore your facility.
Restoring Commercial Properties Presents Unique Challenges
Our professionals are trained to be mindful of legal and environmental concerns and strive to fully restore the damaged area while working within your budgetary constraints. We understand that every hour spent cleaning up is an hour of lost revenue and productivity. So when an emergency situation arises in your business, give us a call and we'll be there fast with the help you need.
About SERVPRO of Santa Maria
SERVPRO of Santa Maria specializes in the cleanup and restoration of commercial and residential property after a water damage event. Our staff is highly trained in property damage restoration. From initial and ongoing training at SERVPRO's corporate training facility to regular IICRC-industry certification, rest assured our staff is equipped with the knowledge to restore your property.