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Top 5 Causes Of Commercial Water Damage
Top 5 Causes Of Commercial Water Damage
Commercial water damage in your business can cause extensive damage. It can cause you to close your business for a while to restore the damage and this can end up causing you a lot of revenue. This is why it is important to understand what causes commercial water damage in the first place.
Once you understand these causes you can take steps to ensure that it doesn’t happen on your property because of these reasons.
#1. Damaged Pipes
This is the biggest cause of commercial water damage. Many factors contribute to the damage of pipes over time. This can include regular changes in pressure and freezing temperatures.
However, you can tell if there is pipe damage as there are signs. If you see water stains on your floor or ceilings or notice a musty smell in an area then this may be a sign that the pipes in your property are damaged.
It is important to call a professional if you see these signs so they can assess and give you an expert opinion.
#2. Roof Damage
Maintaining your roof is an essential part of maintaining your property. Damage on the roof can be caused by many factors such as harsh weather, rain, snow, and destructive winds.
This can cause structural damage and result in leaking water. If this is not detected early on then it can even lead to mold damage and other consequences that come with water damage.
You must regularly keep a check on your roof so that you can maintain it easily.
#3. Fault In Sprinkler Systems
These sprinkler systems have pipes as well that can be damaged which can result in a leak. Extensive leaks can cause water damage to commercial property. Some signs of such water damage include:
- Musty smell
- Wet walls
- Wet carpets
- Standing water
These signs indicate that you may have a damaged sprinkler system. Call a professional and address it right away.
#4. Damaged Windows
Regular window maintenance should also be part of your maintenance routine. If the windows don’t have a proper seal or are damaged then water can come inside the commercial property.
Long-term exposure to this can lead to problems such as mold in the building. You have to ensure that all the windows in the property are sealed properly.
#5. Damaged HVAC System
As a business, it is important to provide your employees with a safe and thriving work environment. Part of that responsibility is to maintain clean HVAC systems. If that is not done then they can become damaged which will lead to water damage on the premises.
These are the top 5 causes of commercial water damage. Make sure to conduct regular maintenance so these problems can be prevented on your premises.
If there is any such damage then call SERVPRO now. Our experts will ensure professional and skilled restoration of your premises. For more information, feel free to get in touch with us now.
Why Commercial Cleaning is Important for Your Business
Commercial cleaning services allow you to outsource all of your cleaning requirements and let the experts handle it. These services have trained, professional cleaners who are sure to leave your entire building looking spotless.
By hiring a cleaning service, you will not only be free of the worry of cleaning your office but will also be able to provide a pleasant and comfortable working environment to all the employees. A neat and clean office is likely to motivate employees into working better.
In contrast, if a workplace has not been cleaned thoroughly, there can be a huge spread of bacteria in the building. This is harmful because it can spread illnesses, thus creating a negative impression about the hygiene and cleanliness of the office.
If you are still unsure about hiring a commercial cleaning service for your office, here are 5 reasons why it is absolutely essential to hire one:
- Make a Good First Impression
First impressions can go a long way. When a client enters your building with a business proposal, it is important to welcome them into a clean and safe environment. The first thing that a client will judge your company on is the state of the building. If the floors are dirty and the walls are full of debris, the client is likely to become demotivated about working with you. Contrastingly, if the entire building looks clean and smells good, the client will automatically know that you are serious in your business ethic.
- Outsourcing is Cost Effective
Instead of hiring a cleaning professional in-house, you can gain access to more cleaning services if you choose to outsource the job. You can simply search for a cleaning company that fits your schedule and requirements and hire them accordingly. This allows you to focus on more important things instead of always being worried about having the office cleaned.
- Boost Office Morale
When you run a business, it is important to keep your employees motivated. Employees are unlikely to be productive when they enter a dirty workplace that has stains on the floor and mold on the walls. If you provide a clean and hygienic work environment instead, employees are likely to be motivated enough to be more productive in their work practices.
- Prevent Sick Leaves
If you hire a professional cleaning service to thoroughly disinfect your building regularly, there will be no germs passed around the office. This means that your employees are unlikely to fall sick and take any sick leaves. By reducing the number of days that your subordinates do not come to work, you can ensure that they are able to complete more tasks efficiently and on-time.
- Access to Different Cleaning Services
Outsourcing your cleaning requirements to a professional company means that they will be able to provide more services than an in-house cleaner. This means that apart from regular day-to-day cleaning, you can further contract the company for any repair or remediation services that you may require. This helps you avoid any major damage to the office building.
Keeping Air Ducts Free of Black Mold
When black mold appears in ventilation, it must be removed as quickly as possible.
Keeping Air Ducts Free of Black Mold
Black mold getting inside your company’s ventilation system is a serious problem that needs to be addressed. Understanding how to identify and dispose of fungal intruders is critical to keeping staff safe and preventing additional structural office damage from developing in Solebury, PA. Here are a few realities regarding this dangerous scenario that you should be aware of.
Identification of Mold in Air Ducts
Whatever mold gets into air ducts is less obvious than mold appearing on floors or walls. Try searching for:
- Black dust surrounding air vents
- Musty odors
- Excessive indoor moisture
Early diagnosis is critical to halting the spread of black mold to other parts of your building. When this happens, hire a mold removal service professional to safely rectify the matter.
Removal of Mold From Air Ducts
Before taking apart your air conditioning system, have a certified mold inspector confirm the problem’s existence. This decision could save heaps of time, money, and energy.
Take a close look at your insulation. Sections that have become compromised need to be discarded and replaced.
Ductwork should be wiped down and disinfected with an EPA-approved cleaning agent. Although commercial mold removal solutions are recommended, a less expensive alternative involves making your own. Instructions for doing this can be found online. Whichever path you choose, use safety equipment. Acquire safety goggles, a respirator and industrial-grade gloves before taking on the assignment.
Prior to reinstalling your newly clean ducts, be sure you have figured out what caused the issue to develop and eliminated the source of the trouble. Failure to do so will likely result in the headache reappearing, in which case the entire process will need to be repeated.
When black mold appears in ventilation, it must be removed as quickly as possible. If you feel uncomfortable with the task of getting rid of it on your own, find a team of mold remediation experts that can handle the matter quickly, safely, and affordably.
3 Facts About Commercial Fire Insurance Coverage
Commercial fire in New Hope, PA
Commercial Fire Insurance
The owner of a building should be familiar with the terms and limits of fire insurance coverage under a general commercial property policy. A basic awareness of exclusions and limits can help the named insured take appropriate fire safety and prevention measures and be prepared to make a claim for fire damage at a building in New Hope, PA.
1. Commercial General Property Insurance Policies Cover Most Fire Damage
Most fires that occur at business locations or in commercial buildings are covered by a property insurance policy. This policy should cover, or at least offset, the costs of mitigating and cleaning damage and completing commercial fire restoration. Even smoke cleanup should be covered. The major exceptions to this fact include intentional fires and incidents that occur at vacant properties.
2. Property Owners Should Support Claims With Documentation
Submitting documentation to an insurer in the form of photographs or video footage can be helpful when making a commercial fire insurance claim. While an adjuster will still need to visit the location, this evidence may facilitate the early stages of processing a claim.
3. Additional Interruption Insurance Can Offset Ongoing Expenses
Most property insurance policies do not include coverage for business interruptions. In the case of moderate to major fire damage, a business may not be able to operate for days, weeks, or months. Some operations can temporarily relocate to another location. If this is not an option, a business interruption insurance policy can help to cover the costs of covering payroll, a lease or mortgage, or utility bills.
The holder of a commercial property insurance policy should review the terms of fire insurance coverage. It can be helpful to go over a policy with an insurance agent or representative to ensure that limits are high enough to cover restoration costs for partial losses or the total loss of a structure in New Hope, PA.
Tips For Drying Out Your Commercial Building
Drying equipment in action in Woodside, PA
Use These Water Damage Tips To Begin Drying Out
If your commercial building in Woodside, PA, has experienced a flood or plumbing issue such as a pipe burst, you need to act quickly to mitigate damages and prevent lasting water damage. Your first step should be to call in a water damage restoration company. You should also try to remove any excess standing water. Your next step will be to begin drying out your building to prevent mold growth or lasting damage.
Use these water damage tips to begin drying out your building and restoring it to its original state.
You can begin drying out your building even as you wait for help to arrive by making sure there's proper air circulation. There are many ways you can begin to circulate air, such as:
- Opening any doors and windows to let air in
- Placing oscillating fans around your building
- Using high-speed air movers
Air circulation works to dry out your building by speeding up the evaporation of moisture. It shouldn't be used as a way to spot-dry any excessively wet areas, but will begin overall drying for ceilings, walls and furniture.
Another one of the essential water damage tips is dehumidifying the area. You can use a dehumidifier to reduce humidity and moisture. A store-bought dehumidifier will work fine, but you can also rent one from an equipment rental company. Dehumidifiers are great for enclosed areas with limited outside access, such as basements.
When using a dehumidifier, you should shut all windows and doors and change the water periodically if it doesn't self-drain.
Using a Shop Vac
A wet-dry vacuum is one of the popular cleaning tips for small areas such as carpets and floors that have excess water. If you bring in a professional restoration company, they may bring their own shop vac, but you can also rent one from an equipment rental company.
You can use these water damage tips to help kickstart the restoration process for your commercial building.
4 Tips for Drying Out a Commercial Building
Water damage in Solebury, PA
Water Damage Tips
If your Solebury, PA, commercial building has been impacted by a flooding event, it is critical that you act quickly to minimize the amount of water that your flooring and other surfaces are exposed to. Because many insurance companies cover burst pipes and other water damage and because properly addressing your situation can save you money in the long run, you should contact a restoration professional to help you as soon as you know that you have an extensive problem. Here are some water damage tips for while you are waiting for help to arrive:
1. Stop the Flow of Water
It may seem obvious that stemming further water is a necessary first step to restoration, but some property owners mistakenly assume that water has stopped flowing when it has not. If you have discovered a large wet dripping from a ceiling, for example, do not just assume that a leak caused the problem if an overflowing toilet above may be the actual source — investigate everything and turn the involved water sources off.
2. Remove Valuables and Electronics
Electronics are particularly vulnerable to water damage. This is among the most important cleaning tips for business owners since important hard drives and equipment are often stored in low areas. Move these to higher ground.
3. Remove Water
After a pipe burst or other event, among the most crucial damage tips is to clean up the water as soon as possible, using any available means. If you have a wet vac, use it. If all you have is a few towels and some buckets, use them instead.
4. Dry and Dehumidify
If you have managed to rid your property of water completely before the water restoration professionals arrive, you should open doors and windows to dry affected spaces. If you have a dehumidifier, keep it on for several days after the flooding event.
Dealing with flooding water quickly helps you avoid mold and other damage later. By following these water damage tips, you can protect your commercial property and get back to work.
Are All Water Damages in Newtown the Same?
Water from an outside source poses serious health concerns, take caution in any instance.
Water Damage: Your Quick Reference Guide
After a natural disaster or pipe leak, water damage in Newtown Yardley can compromise the sanitation, safety, and structural integrity of your office or home. The longer the water damage goes unaddressed, the more problems it can present in your commercial space. Thus what began as a category 1 loss can quickly evolve into Category 2 and even 3. Once this happens, your goods will be unsalvageable. For these reasons, attaining effective, immediate assistance is critically important in the 24 hours that follows the onset of water damage. Learn more about water damage and why attaining professional restoration services is important by reviewing this quick reference guide:
Categories Of Water Damage
One of the most important factors to consider when your property is impacted by water damage in Newtown or Yardley is the water's category. The three categories include:
Category 1 includes water or rain water that results from a broken sink supply line. Category 1 water is clean and poses no serious health hazards.
Category 2 is grey water. This type of water contains a substantive degree of biological, physical, and/or chemical contamination. The water can result from factors such as a broken dishwasher drain or faulty aquarium. This type of water can pose health hazards for humans exposed to it.
Category 3 is black water. This type of water is dangerous because it contains pathogenic agents. Unsanitary, hazardous black water results from contaminated water sources such as sewage that enter the structure of the property.
The Importance Of Getting Professional Help
If your structural contents and materials have been contaminated by black or gray water, you will be in need of professional restoration assistance. Newtown, PA water damage remediation specialists possess the equipment, experience, and expertise necessary to properly clean, dry, and repair your property so that it is safe and sanitary to reenter and use. Attaining professional services will also help prevent expensive repair fees and secondary water damage.
When you start your search for the ideal water damage recovery specialists, the search stops with SERVPRO. Our professionals are IICRC-certified and possess advanced knowledge regarding the drying process. Additionally, we offer 24-hour emergency services for your convenience. We've helped thousands of people in your situation, and we'd be delighted to assist you as well.
How To Troubleshoot Your Irrigation System
Ways in Which You Can Resolve Common Irrigation Problems
An irrigation system can help to keep the exterior of your business in Solebury, PA, looking its best. However, when an issue arises with your irrigation, it's often important to know how to respond. There are several ways in which you can resolve common irrigation problems.
1. Check the Sprinkler Heads
Damaged sprinkler heads are a common cause of a malfunctioning sprinkler system. Often, the sprinkler heads become damaged when a car parks on top of the head or when a lawn mower clips sprinkler. Regardless of the cause of the damage, a damaged sprinkler head won't distribute water evenly, which can affect the overall appearance of your landscape. Fortunately, replacing the sprinkler head is generally a simple and inexpensive fix.
2. Examine the Timer
The sprinkler timer is an important component to your irrigation system, and a malfunctioning timer can cause your sprinklers to malfunction as well. If multiple sprinklers are not coming on when they are supposed to, this may be an indicator that there's an issue with your timer. There are various reasons your timer may not be working, and it can be useful to employ a technician who can find the root cause of the problem.
3. Change the Throw of the Water
If water from your sprinklers is hitting a street or your building rather than your grass, you could be wasting water and money, as well as missing out on the results you want from your sprinklers. If water consistently hits your building, water damage to your business may occur, and you may require assistance from water damage specialists in order to restore the affected area. In order to prevent this kind of damage from occurring, it can be helpful to change the throw of the water, which you can often do by adjusting a screw that is situated on the sprinkler's nozzle.
There are a variety of common issues that can occur with your business's irrigation system. Knowing how to respond to common irrigation problems can help you maintain the appearance of your business's exterior.
Follow These Steps After a Fire
Call 911 and alert the local fire department of the incident
Follow These Steps After a Fire
The thought of facing a fire in your office building probably feels you with fear. Getting to safety and mitigating the damage are your most important roles in such an event. You should also be prepared for this type of emergency. You can rely on professionals to handle fire restoration. Meanwhile, make sure you act wisely and follow some important guidelines.
Vital Phone Calls
If a fire starts in your office during working hours, put your evacuation plan into action and get out of the building immediately. Meet at a designated place safely away from your building and take a headcount. As soon as possible after the fire begins, do the following:
- Call 911 and alert the local fire department of the incident.
- Call your fire insurance company and report the event.
- Call a reputable professional fire remediation company to start the cleanup and rebuilding process.
Record the Damage Carefully
To file an insurance claim, your provider will want to know the details of the fire. Describe how and when it happened. Report on the extent of the damage and whether there were any injuries. Estimate the value of your losses. If it's safe to do, and if the authorities allow it, take pictures of the interior and exterior of your building. However, do not touch anything. Disturbing damaged materials could cause further harm. Let the professionals in Plumstead Township, PA, handle the smoke cleaning and rebuilding process.
Stay in Close Touch With the Cleanup Team
During the cleanup and fire restoration stage, communicate often with the team. Ensure that the crews board up windows, doors, and gaps in the building. The team should also tarp the roof to protect the office from the elements. The remediation company should also coordinate its efforts with your insurance provider.
To complete a successful rebuild and fire restoration of your building, adhere to these tips. Do your part to stay safe, and let the pros handle the challenging work.
Flood Prevention Solutions Around the World and at Home
If you live near a river in Point Pleasant, PA, you may see a lot of sandbags
Factors That Lead To High Water
Widespread flooding impacts communities every year, and coastal regions are particularly hard hit as hurricanes and tropical storms sweep past. However, as inland communities grow larger, flooding becomes a bigger problem when the existing infrastructure can't handle the necessary drainage. Here are some factors that lead to high water:
- Highly developed communities without drainage systems
- Communities built on flat ground
- Aging dams and other flood prevention structures
- Projected rises in sea level
Fortunately, civil engineers are working on solutions aimed to stop flooding. Check out a couple of great ideas.
Watergates are a popular solution found in many countries. These gates are generally left open, so ships can pass through. When water levels rise, the automated barriers are closed to prevent water from moving into cities.
Barriers with movable gates are another solution that has been effective in multiple countries. These barriers are effective at reducing the tidal height of water and protecting neighborhoods further inland. These walls are often triggered by computer readings and rising water. The movable barriers in Venice are especially important for protecting iconic canals.
Sandbags and Other Temporary Solutions
If you live near a river in Point Pleasant, PA, you may see a lot of sandbags as high water becomes a problem. Temporary levees and sand dunes are also common sights when flooding is a risk. Other solutions include barriers that can be raised and lowered with the help of hydraulic systems.
Existing Barrier Failures
Unfortunately, existing barriers don't always prevent your properties from water damage. When flood prevention methods haven't kept the water out of your buildings, it's important to contact water damage remediation and cleanup professionals as quickly as possible. The longer water is allowed to sit, the more serious damage can become.
High water is a consistent problem that has prompted a lot of flood prevention efforts. What solutions have you seen at work in Point Pleasant, PA? Have you taken steps to keep your properties safe?
The 4 Things a Landlord Should Do When Contacted About Mold
Mold damage in Plumstead Township, PA
The 4 Things a Landlord Should Do When Contacted About Mold
As a landlord, when a tenant expresses concern about possible mold contamination, it is your responsibility to take their concerns seriously. However, concern over likely mold does not necessarily equate to immediate mold cleanup. Therefore, when a tenant calls with such a complaint, follow four simple rules in your response.
- Respond to messages
- Contact a remediation company
- Take photos
- Get test results and act
Respond to Messages
First and foremost, when a tenant calls with a complaint, respond to their messages. Do not ignore the phone call, especially when it is about mold, which is very concerning for some people. You should try and respond within the same day. However, if other matters demand your attention, try to respond by at least the following morning.
Contact a Remediation Company
Next, before you order a full-blown mold cleanup, you should request testing of the apartment and the facility. Contact a mold remediation company in Plumstead Township, PA. These services should be able to provide testing and removal if needed.
Once you have contacted the experts, go to the apartment and investigate the alleged growth. Take plenty of pictures for your records, and if the substance proves to be mold, take photos once the removal is complete as well. Keep all images and documentation of the incident in the same file for easy reporting later.
Get Test Results and Act
Last, the remediation company will come in and likely perform surface testing or air quality testing, either will be able to tell if you have a high level of mold spores in the property. If the test results are positive, then have the tenant evacuate the apartment until the removal and restoration can take place.
A full-scale mold cleanup is only required if the substance is actually mold. However, legal responsibility may vary depending on the cause of the growth. Therefore, contact a professional removal service capable of testing and diagnosis.
How to Protect Your Building From Water Damage
Whether from heavy rains, broken pipes or sewer issues, floods can cause substantial damage to your Plumsteadville, PA, building
Whether from heavy rains, broken pipes or sewer issues, floods can cause substantial damage to your Plumsteadville, PA, building. If you are not careful, you could lose documents, electronic equipment and building materials. You may not be able to predict when water will infiltrate your workspace, but you can take measures to safeguard your facility from flood damage.
Common Causes of floods
It is helpful to understand how flooding normally occurs in a building. This can guide you in putting the right steps in place to keep you and your co-workers safe. Some of the biggest culprits of water damage include the following:
- Storm surges that cause nearby rivers and canals to overflow
- Leaky pipes or bursting pipes
- Overflowing toilets
- Broken water heaters or other appliances
- Damaged or weakened roof
Protect HVAC and Electrical Equipment
If your building is located in an area where storm damage is common, you should pay close attention to your HVAC system. Raising the furnace and air conditioning units can avert danger and disaster. Do the same with electrical items such as servers, copy machines and other equipment that could spark and start fires.
Install a Back Flow System
If raw sewage enters your building, you'll have to call a professional flood cleanup team. Known as black water, this water contains hazardous materials that could be fatal if swallowed. A backflow valve can keep sewage from coming into the building through drains. This will minimize flood damage and protect personnel in the building.
Use Flood-Resistant Materials to Build Your Facility
If your building doesn't have flood-resistant drywall, studs, floorboards and other materials, it may be time to replace current items. These items can withstand damage for up to three days, even if water finds its way to them.
If water makes its way into your building, you don't have to panic. Take thee steps today to reduce the risk of flood damage in your office.
4 Steps of the Water Mitigation Process
Water restoration in a New Hope, PA office building
4 Steps of the Water Mitigation Process
Your commercial property in New Hope,PA, is likely well maintained. Buildings with even the most vigilant of owners, however, can still have the occasional water damage issue. If you need pipe burst cleanup, it is best to call water restoration experts to do the job. They have the training and experience necessary to work through the steps of the mitigation process smoothly.
1. Assess the Problem
Even a small problem such as a supply line leaking can cause damage to the flooring and wall around it. If it goes on for a while, it may even leak to the lower floors through the ceiling. The first thing technicians do when they arrive is assess the problem so they can give you an estimate of the time it will take to finish and how much it is likely to cost.
2. Tear Out Damaged Materials
With any luck, pipe burst cleanup only consists of taking out damp insulation and a little drywall. If cabinets or flooring are warped by the water damage, though, they may have to be removed as well. Technicians take out everything that cannot be salvaged.
3. Dry Affected Area
To prevent secondary damage, water cleanup professionals must make sure every remaining surface is dry. They may need to pump water out or use industrial fans to increase air flow. This can keep mold from growing on the salvageable materials.
4. Rebuild Structure
The amount of restoration work that has to be done depends on how much material had to be removed. The restoration process can be as simple as replacing a few floor tiles or rebuilding a whole section of your property.
If you need pipe burst cleanup, it is important to contact restoration professionals as quickly as possible. The sooner you call, the less damage your leaky pipes or supply lines can cause, and the less likely you are to have secondary damage.
Master the Basics of Using a Fire Extinguisher
Use the P.A.S.S method
Of all the defenses against a fire, a fir extinguisher might be the most valuable and practical of all. It is the one device that a person or employee may actually use in his or her lifetime. Therefore it makes a lot of sense to become familiar with this piece of equipment. When it comes to essential equipment in a home or office, it ranks right up there with a fire alarm. An extinguisher isn't super hard to use, but there are a few tricks to it. It is effective in eliminating a small fire and when used properly can knock down a fire in a matter of minutes.
The Basics of Extinguisher Use
First off, it is the responsibility of the employer to educate workers about the principles and practices of using a fire extinguisher to limit fire damage. The initial step in a fire is always to sound the fire alarm and alert the fire authorities: When it's the appropriate time and place to use a portable extinguisher, the following steps should be taken:
- Select the correct extinguisher for the type of fire
- Discharge the device within the correct range
- Use the P.A.S.S. method: pull, aim, squeeze, sweep
- Back away in case the fire flares up
- Evacuate if the fire grows
It is crucial to use the correct type of extinguisher, as there are several kinds and some only work on certain types of fire. For example, a kitchen fire with oils and fats may require a Class K extinguisher. Once the fire is contained, it is helpful to call in the fire remediation experts in Plumstead Township,PA, to control the damage.
If possible, employees should receive adequate training on the proper use of a fir extinguisher. It is a skill that improves with practice, and the safe and quick use of an extinguisher could result in an incipient fire being controlled in a short time.
Security After a Fire
Fire Damage to this building in Newtown, PA that needs our board up services.
Fire damage can affect your commercial building in various ways. Most notably it ruins personal belongings and the structure of the building. However, it can also make your building more exposed. The holes in the walls and ceiling can expose your property to weather elements and trespassers. How can you increase the security of your building in Newtown, PA after a fire?
4 Tips to Increase Security After a Fire
- Board Openings: Doors, windows and holes in your walls should be boarded up. Covering up these openings can help encourage those who don't belong to stay out. It may also help you find out when someone is entering your property without permission because you may notice a misplaced board. Covering these holes not only prevents looting, but it can also help keep wind and rain out of the building.
- Tarp the Roof: If there are holes in your roof, you need to cover them as soon as possible. Using a tarp can help you keep rain, leaves and other debris from falling into your commercial space.
- Put Up a Fence: Because the fire damage can make your building dangerous for occupants, you may need to do more than board up openings to keep people out. A security fence can encourage people to stay away from an unsafe structure. You can put warning signs on the fence to let people know about the safety hazard. The fence can also work as an extra precaution against looters.
- Hire Professionals: When you have a fire cleanup team working on your property during the day, you are discouraging unwanted visitors from entering the space. These restoration professionals may not be enough to add security. You could also consider hiring a temporary security guard to make sure no one enters the property without permission.
When flames envelop your commercial building, the fire damage may result in a less secure building. While you're waiting for the repairs to be made, you should beef up security around your commercial space.
A Little Water Damage Can Invite a Serious Mold Problem
Mold spores thrive on moisture
Sometimes it seems like unknown forces are out to destroy your business. You wonder how you manage to meet the weekly payroll. There is always an unhappy customer. Problems with the inventory supply and product distribution are frequent. Compared to that, a little moisture and water damage may seem insignificant.
The problem with moisture is that it invites mold. It can be toxic and pose a severe health hazard for you and your employees. Mold can also be a costly problem to eliminate. These are both serious issues and call for a quick response.
Mold Spores Are in the Air
Why aren’t huge mold colonies everywhere? It turns out that mold is surprisingly fussy. It needs three elements to establish a colony. They are:
- Room-temperature air
- Food sources like wood, wallboard, wallpaper and paint
If wandering mold spores find these conditions, mold growth can begin. The air temperature that you find comfortable is perfect for mold. The painted, papered and exposed wood surfaces of your business are excellent food sources. Finally, all living things need moisture. Water damage is an excellent source of moisture.
The Key to Mold Prevention Is Moisture Control
You can lower the temperature in your business. You can treat all exposed surfaces to make them mold-resistant. These ideas might work but aren’t practical.
Moisture control is your best option. Start by keeping the humidity in the 30 percent to 50 percent range. If you have a water leak or flood, fix it and dry the affected areas quickly. Contact your insurance agent. Your commercial policy probably most likely covers these situations. There is no reason for you to deal with this alone.
Don’t Hesitate To Bring in Expert Help
There are places on earth where mold wouldn’t be much of a problem. The New Hope,PA , area is probably not among them. When you have a water or mold problem, call your local water damage and mold remediation experts. They have the tools and expertise to eliminate your water and mold problem quickly and efficiently.
Property Security After a Fire
Secure data in your Newtown, PA company
The list of things to handle after a fire can be long and overwhelming. But one of the things that should be near the top is security. As devastating as a business fire can be, suffering additional damage can make things much worse. Read on to learn steps you can take - from boarding windows to getting a security fence - to keep your Newtown,PA, property safe after a fire.
Data is easily one of the most valuable resources any business has. Examples include:
- Credit card information
- Medical records
- Tax documents
If your business has this or other information stored in computers or files, and there’s no longer a way to lock up your property, it’s critical that you remove these materials. Identify a safe place, such as a secure storage unit, and move sensitive data there promptly.
Protect Against the Elements
Fire can destroy many things in your business, but the wrath of the weather can be just as damaging. Just one heavy rain penetrating a compromised roof or door can multiply damage costs. Invest in a heavy duty tarp for damaged roofs. Boarding up broken windows and doors will also help keep water out as well as animals.
Secure Against Thieves
Vandals know that a burned out property can be a gold mine. Don’t rely on a security system to protect your business - those can be damaged by the fire! Instead, in addition to securing windows and doors, invest in a security fence. Security fencing creates a barrier that makes it harder and longer to break into your building. Such fencing also helps in the insurance process by preventing further damage that your provider may not cover.
Dealing with a fire is challenging enough. Don’t multiply your problems by becoming a victim of weather or looters. Connect with a fire clean up firm to discuss a security fence or other methods to keep your business safe.
What You Need To Know About Black Water
Septic systems contain polluted water
After a flood, the water damage in Yardley,PA, can be concerning for many business owners. This is in part because water from flooding is considered tainted and falls into the black category. Understanding this label and how it can affect the cleanup process can be important for restoration efforts.
Why Categorize the Water as Black
The term “black water” is commonly used to describe water that carries contaminants and pathogens. Flooding containing polluted water can come from a number of places, including:
- Septic systems
- Sewer lines
- Storm water
While septic and sewer systems are often contained and easily understood as tainted water sources, storm flood water is often considered black because it can pull contaminants from a variety of places. These contaminants and potential pathogens are what distinguish black and grey water. Grey water comes from daily use, such as from dish washing or bathing.
How Black Water Can Damage Your Business
There are a number of ways water damage can harm your place of business. Depending on the location and nature of the flooding, you may find your building at risk for structural damage or mold growth. Flooring may need to be replaced as well. Don’t forget to inspect the roof of your business for any leaks that could lead to further problems.
What Prevention and Restoration Options Are Available
Because water from a flood is considered to be black water, it’s best to call water restoration professionals when planning cleanup and repairs. These experts have the knowledge needed to properly repair and sanitize any damaged areas, and they can advise you on the preventive measures your company may want to take before the next storm.
If you’re dealing with water damage due to flooding, it’s best to call professionals to help with cleanup. They can help ensure that your business is properly restored and sanitized, and that any mold remediation efforts necessary are put in place. Taking care of the repairs quickly can help prevent future problems and get your business up and running again.
Soft Good Contents Restoration with Ultrasonics
Before and After image of a doll undergoing Ultrasonics cleaning.
As I travel the world, training customers and speaking with restoration companies, I find they are frequently surprised by the fact that many soft goods can be cleaned with ultrasonic technology. For years, the restoration industry has been discussing the successful use of ultrasonics for restoration of hard goods. Many don’t realize the ultrasonic equipment they have invested in, or plan to invest in for contents restoration, can clean items such as stuffed animals, window blinds, dolls, sports equipment, bags, area carpets and much more that might have been affected by storm damage.
This doll was pulled out of box of items that our customer, a restoration company, considered uncleanable, and therefore, a loss. Within two minutes, by using ultrasonics, this cherished possession was cleaned and restored. Having this capability was an eye opener to them and continues to be for many restorers. The quantity of items that are now cleanable, and that can and should be packed out, increases tremendously. Not to mention items like this doll, that may have been previously subcontracted to a dry cleaner, can now be accomplished by any restoration company using ultrasonics.
Restoration dry cleaners have caught on to this reality. With the threat of soft good contents being removed from their realm, they are looking for ways to clean more items…but not compete with their primary customers, the restoration companies. Many have started adopting ultrasonic technology to stay competitive. It is being used as an alternative method of cleaning some items, and an addition to traditional methods to make them faster and more effective.
Gadue’s Dry Cleaning in Vermont is one such company. Aline Gadue, third generation owner and president, and Melissa Gonyon, restoration sales and marketing manager, decided they needed to grow the business and continue to expand into the lucrative restoration division. Melissa attended Crawford’s Contractor Connection expo in Orlando, Fla. in 2015, saw Morantz Ultrasonics equipment in action, and was convinced ultrasonic equipment was the answer. They ordered equipment, set to work on their facility to make space for the type of work they intended to take on, and within a few months were ready for training.
During training, the Gadue’s staff was extremely enthusiastic. Items they had been turning away or had trouble cleaning were now restorable.
After a year of ultilizing ultrasonics, Melissa says it has “worked very well in this department. Our company is able to offer a service that was not available in our state, and has blown away insurance adjusters with the savings of cleaning items rather than having to replace them.”
Melissa also explained they have found using ultrasonics to clean items they typically use conventional dry cleaning methods for provided more successful results.
An example is wedding gown cleaning. Vermont brides end up in some not-so-clean spots seeking that perfect Vermont setting for their wedding photos. The result is a train and dress bottom that has literally been dragged through the mud. Gadue’s uses their ultrasonic equipment to concentrate on the bottoms, prior to the finish cleaning process, to ensure they remove all the dirt.
Melissa also said with ultrasonics, they have the ability to expand their scope, and accordingly, their current customer base.
By offering cleaning of items such as baby gear, sports equipment, window treatments, blinds, golf clubs and bags, and more we have reached beyond traditional dry cleaning customers,” she explained. “We recently signed a deal to clean all of the sports equipment and uniforms for Vermont’s first professional indoor football league, The Vermont Bucks. We are very excited for this opportunity and are looking forward to the doors that this may open for us with other organizations such as universities and athletic programs across the state.”
Melissa realized marketing their new technology was going to be critical to their success. She set out putting together information packages, banners and more boasting about their ultrasonic technology. Here are a few examples:
I’m always the first to say that we learn as much from our customers as they learn from us. By working with Gadue’s, as well as many other dry cleaners that have invested in ultrasonics, I have learned more about their particular needs and how our equipment can be modified to best suit these needs. We now offer ultrasonic equipment with special features just for dry cleaners.
As more restoration companies and dry cleaners offer soft goods cleaning with ultrasonic technology, they will be able to restore more items previously considered a loss, restore more cherished possessions faster and easier, and restore items that they would not have taken on before. In the process, they will generate new profit centers and increase revenue.
Wood Floors and Old Pipes: What Could Go Wrong?
Wood floors can become damaged after a pipe break in your commercial property
A natural wood floor is a beautiful thing, and it can elevate the style of your business or property. However, wood floors can also present a slight financial risk in the event of a pipe burst or a prolonged wet floor. In the event of either of these situations, there are steps you can take to salvage your floors.
1. Dry the Space
The first thing that you want to do when your floors are exposed to water is to dry them as quickly as possible. Depending on how long the floors were wet, it can take several days for them to dry. You can use dehumidifiers and fans to help speed up the process.
2. Remove Swollen and Stained Boards
You will want to remove any swollen or severely stained boards. To do this, use a circular saw to cut along the inside groove and a pry bar to pry up the damaged plank.
3. Replace Removed Boards
Replacing boards after a pipe burst can seem like a daunting task, especially if they’re tongue and groove. However, all you need to do is remove the tongue portion of the board, and it should fit into place.
4. Sand and Restain
Once all of the damaged boards have been removed and replaced with new boards, it is time to sand and restain. It is a good idea to sand and restain all of the floors on the same level, as it can be difficult to match stains.
5. Get Help
Depending on the size of your business or property, restoring your floors can be an exhausting and labor-intensive job. You may find it more beneficial to search the Newton, PA, area for local
restoration specialists who have experience in this type of damage.
Wood floors add tremendous aesthetic value to your business, but they can come with some risks, especially in the event of a pipe burst. However, by following the steps above or by seeking help, restoration is not only possible but also manageable.
For more on Newton click here.
What Is a SERVPRO Emergency Ready Profile?
Give SERVPRO a call if you experience commercial water damage.
An emergency profile is a plan of action that helps minimize interruption of business operations after a disaster. Developing the emergency strategy can be as simple as contacting someone familiar with crises scenarios that is willing to help your company identify potential ways disasters can impact your business. The plan can help your employees know what to expect after the emergency and establish a program to mitigate potential problems. The ERP can also strategize ways to diminish business disruptions by having you complete a comprehensive set of documents and plans that can help prepare your business for the unknown. These documents can include the following:
1. Establish a profile of critical information your company may need after an emergency. Necessary data may include emergency profile and contact information, utility shut-off numbers, and a list of emergency management agencies. Using the ERP app can save you time in organizing the data.
2. Generate a detailed list of emergency solutions. Quick references about who, what, where, and how may provide solutions to potential disasters in advance of the emergency. The plan can include employee escape routes and a map of the building.
3. Organize an incident response plan that can address problems when an emergency occurs. Time-sensitive information and crucial resources can be identified to help prevent a long business disruption period.
4. Create a business continuity plan to provide an emergency response that can limit business disruption. This guide can often aid in getting the building open after a disaster by identifying critical customers and vendors.
5. Establish SERVPRO as an emergency disaster provider. By having a previously determined mitigation and restoration team in case of potential disasters, a plan of action can already be determined, and work can quickly begin in diminishing damages.
SERVPRO has trained representatives in Newtown, PA willing to help you create an emergency profile that fits your company needs. By being prepared for possible emergencies, you can speed your company’s disaster recovery and give yourself peace of mind. Visit http://www.SERVPROnewtownyardleypa.com for more information on commercial water damage.
Get Rid of That Musty Mold Smell Post Flood With These Tips
This school had been flooded from the resent storms in Yardley.
If your building was recently in a flood, you may have taken all the necessary steps to restore your building to like-new condition but still notice that there is a musty, moldy smell pervading the air. While that is completely normal, it is a matter that needs to be dealt with swiftly and effectively. That musty smell is due to mold growth, which occurs when flood water is not completely cleaned out of a building. This can be disheartening to hear, especially if you took drastic measures to clean your building. Fortunately, there is a solution. Whether you recently experienced sewage loss or a flood, these tips can help you get rid of that moldy smell for good:
• Re-inspect the damaged areas
• If the affected area is small, clean it yourself
• If the affected area is larger, reach out to your Newtown, PA water restoration team
• Know which tools to use and which to avoid
Look for Water Damage
If you want to get rid of that moldy smell, you need to locate the source of it. Mold growth is usually visible, but if it’s not immediately obvious, look for sitting water, leaks, drooping ceilings and wall discoloration.
Depending on the size of the area and whether or not there is mold, you may or may not be able to clean up the damage yourself. If the area is small and mold is not present, getting rid of that musty smell may just require you to sprinkle some baking soda over wet patches of carpet or to rub white vinegar over furniture. If there is mold, and if the affected area is fairly large, it would be best to contact a Newtown, PA flood damage restoration team.
If you attempt to clean up yourself, avoid bleach, as bleach only kills live mold but not spores. Employ dehumidifiers, fans and other air moving machines to get air circulating and mold spores out.
Typically, the musty smell post-flood comes from mold growth. If your building still smells musty after thoroughly cleaning your building, contact your water restoration team today. Visit http://www.SERVPROnewtownyardleypa.com for more information on commercial water damage.
3 Common Fire Hazards in the Break Room
Malfunctioning appliances in the break room can lead to a lot more than simply burned popcorn.
There are several fire hazards present in most office break rooms, and employers in Newtown, PA, should take mind to remedy them before they escalate out of control. Building deodorization and smoke cleanup will be necessary in the event a fire does break out, but prevention is always the best course of action.
1. Malfunctioning Refrigerator
Refrigerators are typically plugged in every hour of the day, so they are particularly prone to fires. The fact they also contain insulation makes the likelihood of a fire breaking out all the more likely. It is recommended for commercial property owners to have professionals come out at least once annually to inspect fridges and other appliances. In the event your fridge is getting old, then you may be better off investing in a new one.
2. Improper Microwave Use
Burned popcorn is the least of your worries when it comes to a microwave. Microwaves are not perfect, and employees need to be mindful of what they put inside. For example, people should never place metal inside of a microwave. Additionally, this appliance should never be left unattended. Always keep an eye on it when you cook something in case it boils over or something explodes.
3. Oven Dangers
People also need to be careful of how they use ovens, which are not as common in some office break rooms but can still be found in some buildings. People should never leave the room when cooking something in an oven. Additionally, they should turn the oven off after removing food. Leaving it on wastes energy and also increases the likelihood of a fire.
After you hire someone, you should review all of these safety tips so that the new hire knows how to behave responsibly in the break room. Preventing even just burned popcorn will prevent you from requiring professional deodorization.
Proven Commercial Fire Damage Restoration Techniques
Proven Commercial Fire Damage Restoration Techniques
The good thing about restoration teams is they can work on your house with little disruption to your life. They know you will be busy with insurance people and other issues. They will board up the windows, roof and other areas as needed. The proven techniques used to repair and restore after you've had a fire in your home will make your house feel like a home again.
When a homeowner looks at the aftermath of a the fire damage that has ravaged their home or business, it may seem impossible that it can be restored back to its pre-fire condition. Professionals will use every effort to mitigate smoke damage in a timely manner.
Even with commercial fire damage or fire in your business, we use the same proven techniques. A fire in your business can cause an entirely different set of problems. First of all, you're losing money. You may also have equipment or other products that are damaged. The fire damage restoration team will apply the same methods with commercial fire damage but on a larger scale.
If you haven't completed the board up process before the restoration company arrives, they will be all to glad to help. Like fire damage in a home, commercial fire damage can also seem like an impossible task. Your business will have smoke damage, soot damage and maybe even water damage from fire hoses. Smoke damage can linger a long time after a fire in your business. This is why you need the help of a restoration company for fire cleanup.
Fire damage restoration specialists are available 24/7 because fires can help anytime. Once the industrial fans and scrubbers are used to remove soot damage and the smoke smell, professionals will then start the restoration process. This may include light painting, fixing drywall, remove board up and other minor repairs. The goal is fix all fire damage and have your home back to normal as quickly as possible.
So if you ever have a fire in your home or a fire in your business, call the trusted fire cleanup professionals. They will walk you through the entire process that all fire cleanup is done quickly and correctly. They will board up, clean, deodorize and fully sanitize the home. The aftermath of fire in the home or commercial fire damage can prove costly. This is a very detailed process that only highly-skilled people can take care of. Visit http://www.SERVPROnewtownyardleypa.com for more information on fire damage.
Deodorization Commercial Buildings
Does your building have a lingering smell from the 70s. Maybe it's burnt burnt popcorn from a coworker. It could also be from the Holiday party where Bob drank too much, told Sarah of his undying love, and proceeded to toss his cookies all over the flow.
Whatever the reason for a bad smell we at SERVPRO of Newtown/Yardley can have that smell removed. There are many ways to rid a building of a bad odor. Here are some of the services we offer.
- Carpet Cleaning - Carpets can hold smells and hot water extraction will get rid of the odor.
- Duct Cleaning - Filters and ducts hold onto smells. The cleaning will help freshen old buildings from their old building smells.
- Thermal Fogging- This method spreads a deodorizer in a fog form being able to penetrate materials and find its way into hard to reach nooks and crannies.
The Proper Steps When Handling Mold Damage
The Proper Steps When Handling Mold Damage
Black mold is problematic, but many people think they know more than they do about black mold. What people don’t realize is that all mold is a problem, and it’s not just black mold they must worry about. Many business owners who find commercial mold damage make the mistake of assuming it’s only a concern if it is black mold, but this is not true. All mold growth is a problem primarily because it grows so quickly and spreads so fast. It does require humidity and moisture, which is why mold damage occurs most often following flood damage and leaks.
Commercial mold damage both require the assistance of a professional restoration company to deal with remediation, mitigation, and the mold removal process. Along with assuming black mold is the only mold damage worth worrying about, many people also believe they can handle commercial mold damage on their own. If it’s not a big problem right away, they might think mold growth can be handled without a restoration company, remediation, or mitigation. This is not true.
Call The Professionals
A restoration company is specially trained to deal with remediation, mitigation, and mold removal. They have the proper equipment designed to handle deodorization, drying, and other processes. One of the main issues with mold damage is the smelly odor it emits. When it happens at work, it’s difficult to find deodorization techniques that work more than a few hours. It’s professional mold removal and their deodorization that gets rid of that smelly odor for good.
Mold growth behind walls is another common problem when it comes to commercial mold damage. People don’t dry their businesses well enough, they don’t know their pipes are leaking, and they don’t have the proper tools to remove water damage. When mold growth behind walls occurs, it might spread for months causing major damage before anyone realizes it is happening. Mold growth behind walls is a big problem, and remediation and mitigation are required when it’s found.
Signs of Mold Damage
Mold growth can occur anywhere, but there is always a chance that there are signs long before you notice the mold damage. Dry rot is a major sign of mold damage. Dry rot happens inside walls when there is too much moisture and humidity. When dry rot occurs, it might mean there is water damage somewhere. If a business owner finds dry rot, they might consider doing a search for mold.
The smelly odor that doesn’t seem to respond to deodorization is another sign of commercial mold damage. Mold growth behind walls is often most noticeable due to this smell, which is why people should take note.
The presence of any mildew and fungus might indicate mold is a problem. Mildew and fungus are both common in bathrooms and in other rooms where water and moisture are more common, but both might indicate there is a mold problem. If mildew or fungus is present anywhere, it’s time to call a restoration company. Never attempt to clean up fungus or mildew without help.
What to Do Next
While business owners wait for mold removal pros to arrive, they can do a few things to help. They can begin removing water damage from any building. They can also turn off the hair and heat system in the building. It’s a good way to ensure that mold spores aren’t able to travel faster through an office prompting a smelly odor or mold growth elsewhere. it’s also important people do not try to clean up any mold they find without the professional equipment and help they called for. This helps disturb spores and send them flying. This spreads mold spores faster and widespread.
Visit http://www.SERVPROnewtownyardleypa.com for more information on mold.
Restoring Residential and Commercial Water Damage
Restoring Residential and Commercial Water Damage
A home or business that has suffered water damage is in imminent peril. Water damage that is allowed to sit and fester can begin causing irreversible structural and superficial damage to the property within 24 hours. Left for more than a week, most properties that have sustained serious water damage will become uninhabitable.
Luckily, there is a sure-fire solution. Calling water damage restoration professionals can almost always ensure that a flooded home can be completely restored to its prior state. Restoration professionals have specialized equipment, years of training and the expertise of a hundred-year-old industry that can be put to work for you, bringing quick restoration or your property.
The mitigation of flood damage should begin as soon as the flooding even has occurred. Even if a pipe break or supply line break seems small or containable, if there has been water spilled onto the floor of the property, a professional restoration company should be immediately called in.
The restoration process follows a well-establish, five-step procedure. This procedure is a proven means of mitigation of flood damage. Here, we'll take a look at the flood damage mitigation process, in detail.
The most important element of a successful water cleanup process is the one that the restoration company has no control over. The person with the water in their business or water in their home must immediately place a call to the restoration company, in order to begin the water cleanup process as quickly as possible, avoiding the rapidly increasing chances that permanent damage will be done to the flooded home, which begins as early as two to five hours after the flooding event.
The next step in the water cleanup process is the arrival of the damage control team to assess the extent of the water in the business or water in the home. Using high-tech equipment, like hygrometers and infrared hydro-detectors, the team will be able to spot water in the home or water in the business that has seeped into hard-to-spot places. Once the extent of damage to the flooded home has been accurately assessed, the team will move onto the next phase of the water cleanup.
At this point, the team will bring in the real heavy machinery, truck-based, industrial-strength pumps and sophisticated vacuum systems that will begin extracting water in the home or water in the business at rates as high as a couple thousand gallons per hour. This is a job that must be undertaken by professionals. A homeowner attempting water extraction will cause incomplete removal of the water. It will also lead to crucial delays, which may increased the risk of permanent damage many times.
The next step is the commencement of drying the home, its contents and its structure.
The flooded home will be outfitted by application-specific drying systems, which are capable of removing thousands of pounds of moisture from material and the air each hour. The drying process may take as little as a half hour or as much as a full day. But at the end, the home will be water-free, and the risk of any further or permanent damage from the flooding event will drop to zero.
The last step is sanitization and cleansing. This removes any nascent mildew or mold formations as well as eliminating any lasting smell.
When there is a pipe break or supply line break, the single best thing a homeowner can do is rapidly get in touch with the restoration professionals. While a pipe break or supply line break is always a serious occurrence, it can be contained and handled by professionals. A supply line break or pipe break should never cause a catastrophic property loss.
Visit http://www.SERVPROnewtownyardleypa.com for more information on water damage.
Media Blasting: Restoring to Former Condition
When stubborn fire or mold stains get you down, let SERVPRO pick you back up with our access to professional media blasting techniques.
A recent anniversary – 21 years in the business – was announced by my business-related social network computer program. Of course, I realized that the milestone – completing my second full decade in the restoration industry - was approaching, but I didn’t realize that the programmers at LinkedIn would announce it to my entire business and social network. It wasn’t until I started receiving messages of congratulations that I took a minute myself to reflect on the last 20 years – over two decades in the restoration business.
It made me think about what it means to restore. According to Webster’s dictionary, restoration is the act of “…bringing (something) back to a former condition.” During this reflection it occurred to me that one of my passions – a love of history – was a big part of my daily grind. Don’t get me wrong, not every project involving restoration has historical significance, but many do. Enough do that it makes me feel a real connection with the past; a sense of accomplishment when a restoration project restores a structure to a “former condition” - a time and place in our collective memory.
Copper Country Gem
In a recent trip to Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, I was thrilled to learn the project we were working on would be part of a much larger restoration program taking place in the historically significant city of Hancock. This gem is located in the U.P.’s “copper country” - an area known for its rugged, forested terrain, its massive annual snowfall, and the remoteness of the region – a peninsula itself extending out into Lake Superior. From Detroit it takes longer to drive to Copper Harbor than it takes to drive to Washington, DC. Most importantly, the area is best known for its natural resources, in particular rich, accessible deposits of copper ore - so pure and abundant that it would supply the demand of the growing nation, and its need for copper, in particular copper wire, for decades.
Our project was located on the main drag through this historical town, whose heyday was during the region’s copper mining boom. But this wasn’t the only ongoing restoration project; it was just one of many, timed to coincide with the restoration of the entire historical business district. (See picture #1) The entire district, street and all, was undergoing a sort of renewal. The activity was all around us, the ongoing restoration set the city street abuzz with the hum of construction equipment, and busy workmen – very much like the days when copper ore fueled this area. Today it’s education, construction, high-tech, and tourism that make restoring the former condition important.
Restoring to Former Condition
I was invited by a local contractor – through his purchase of our media blasting equipment with included, on-site training – to help with the restoration of an interesting old building (See picture #2) right in the middle of this district. A retail establishment from the 1800’s with an actual soda fountain and ice cream counter, the interior was completely clad in stamped tin panels that had been painted numerous times. (See picture #3)
The project itself was fairly simple. Once the determination was made that the paint did not contain lead, a protocol was established for stripping the paint by blasting with walnut shells. Crushed black walnut shell propelled by compressed air – clean, green, and simple. The process was fast and effective – removing multiple layers of paint quickly (about 5 square feet per minute) with no damage to the surface of the stamped panels. (See pictures #4 and #5) Clean-up was limited to sweeping and vacuuming and the end result was truly a restoration of the former condition.
Different Types of Blast Media
Restoration is not, of course, just a term we use for historical structures. When we consider media blasting as part of restoration, we look at a number of contemporary applications. Closely related to walnut shell blasting, is another agricultural blast media corn cob meal. The blast medium is not the entire corn cob, rather it’s the dried, crushed, and screened-to-size center of the cob – just the inner white portion. This blast method is most commonly associated with the blasting of log structures – new and old. Almost all log cabins, lodges and homes are blasted during construction to clean the logs, and present a more uniform appearance across the structure. The effects of blasting can easily be seen when you look at a partially blasted log structure. (See picture #6) Many log buildings also require refinishing from time to time, with media blasting as the preferred method for stripping back to a “like-new” former condition.
Historical restoration and blasting of log structures are certainly interesting, and may also be profitable. Most restoration contractors, however, must rely on more run-of-the-mill applications. One of the more profitable media blasting applications is fire restoration. Blasting of fire losses can be done with many media, but baking soda blasting as a medium has proven its efficiency time and again. When stripping soot and light charring from wood, crystalline baking soda cuts through the offensive material quickly exposing a virgin wood surface, while minimizing excess damage. (See picture #7)
Baking soda also brings the additional benefit of odor reduction through neutralization – chemically changing the pH of soot and char. Media blasting with baking soda is not just for wood restoration. Masonry, including concrete foundations, can be cleaned with the same method. (See pictures #8 and #9) Concrete foundations are very common in fire damaged structures. At $2 per square foot paid for most fire restoration blasting, it’s easy to see why this is both effective and profitable. Restoring structures to a former condition is one of the main advantages to using media blasting.
Common Blasting Problems
In the process of looking back at the past couple of decades, I couldn’t help but remember some of the other “restorations” I’ve seen. In particular, I’ve been called in by many of my contractors to actually help them restore their blasting operations – restoring their results to former condition. Media blasting is a fairly simple operation. Blast machine filled with media connected to an air compressor – what could possibly go wrong? That’s actually a very funny question to someone who knows all the things that can go wrong. Some of the most common problems we encounter are operator inflicted – examples include; overfilling the blast machine, allowing compressed air to flow backwards in the system, not repairing damages to the machine properly, etc.
I recently ran across a pneumatic control line that had three different areas of improperly repaired damage:
- A duct tape repair at the trigger connection (just not adequate for a high pressure line).
- A splice in the middle of the lines where they were completely cut at one time (reduces air flow, not recommended).
- Another duct tape repair at the inlet fitting. (See picture #10)
The operators using this control set-up would be fighting an uphill battle in most cases.
Caring for Blasting Equipment
Another area that often requires restoration in a contractor’s blasting operations is the proper care and maintenance of the equipment - again related to the operators of the system. A recent trip to a two different contractors helps to illustrate the problem.
In the first example, the machine, and all of the hoses were in disarray. It was very obvious from the mold growth on the un-cleaned pile of hoses that the operators did little, if any, cleaning, or maintenance of the system after its last use. (See picture #11) Their media blaster was in similar condition, full of unused media that had absorbed moisture and turned into clumps. I’m sure that over time, their blasting results in the field were probably lack-luster, as well.
In the second example, the machine and its parts were clean and organized. (See picture #12) A clean machine doesn’t necessarily mean a working machine, but it is some proof of the fact that at least some care and maintenance are given to this system. It can also be easily assumed that this team will have a better shot at profitability when blasting.
Training + Maintenance = Win
Please be aware that operator neglect of a system is often not entirely the fault of the operator. At first glance, that statement may seem illogical, but hear me out. Many of the contractors I deal with see technician turn-over as high as 100% each year, or two. When new technicians come on, are they trained in proper blasting procedures? Are they instructed how to maintain a blast system? Is it even okay to wash the blast hoses? Is it okay to leave media in the machine?
Most technicians don’t instinctively know the answers, and they are unlikely to take it upon themselves to guess. Most find it easier to do nothing, rather than make a mistake and ruin something. I also find most technicians will do what they are instructed to do, but don’t do what they’re not told to do. Is this lazy? Or, is it just a lack of instruction or understanding?
The bottom line is operator training and continuing education is the responsibility of the contractor. If turnover is high, your reliance on recurrent training should be as well. Demand training with the purchase of new equipment. Rely on your media or equipment supplier to provide annual service calls. This is where attention is paid not just to the equipment, but also the training needs of the operators.
Restoration, the act of restoring to former condition, is not just something we do make money, it’s something we need to constantly do to stay competitive, and productive. A clean, well-maintained system will be just one of the results. (See picture #13) A team of knowledgeable, effective media blasting technicians will be the other. (See picture #14)
Spring Cleaning: Tidying Up Your Restoration Business
SERVPRO is the professional cleaning company your family can trust!
March 9, 2017
We’re almost a quarter of the way through 2017. Some of you have experienced weather events that have boosted revenue and contributed to a strong start for the year. Others may be behind your revenue and profit forecast (business plan) for any number of reasons. Whatever your situation, now is the time to take specific actions to improve your likelihood of success in 2017 and beyond.
We’ve all read articles that outline how to be better leaders and improve business results. I’m going to take a closer look and provide guidance on a focused “spring cleaning” list of management activities that will have an immediate and lasting impact on your organization.
Know Where to Focus
The first box to check on your list is confirming your key people understand where they need to focus. Identify the three most important people in your organization, other than yourself. Then sit down with each of them, one-on-one, and go through the following:
The main business objectives you are focused on achieving in 2017. There should be no more than four or five. This will confirm for them what is most important.
Which objectives each of your people are expected to achieve. Having measurable targets takes your expectations from subjective to objective. One of your business objectives, for example, may be to improve gross profits from 45% to 48% of revenue. Translate that larger objective into more specific targets that your operations or production manager can control, track, and manage. You may agree to targets for reducing the time it takes to complete jobs or making sure that change orders are completed and signed by the customer 100% of the time when there is a scope change.
Translate the monthly revenue targets identified in your business plan into the number of jobs that need to be completed and invoiced each month, based on your average job size. Discuss with your sales or business development people how many referral sources will be needed to produce the target number of jobs and how much call activity is required. Translate your business objectives into clear expectations for each person’s activities and results.
Provide Meaningful Feedback in Real Time
Effective communication is fundamental to sound management and leadership. Providing consistent feedback, both positive and negative, to your people is a core skill. As you have one-on-one discussions with your key people, include the following:
Establish a firm time when you will meet with them each week. This ensures that you will devote time specifically to them and the expectations you have of them (and vice versa). It also assures them that they will have the opportunity to discuss any issues they want to cover with you or need help with.
Tell them about three situations where they have been successful, or that they have handled particularly well, since the start of 2017. These must be specific, objective observations of their strong performance. Most managers do a great job of pointing out to their people when they do something wrong, hoping to eliminate mistakes and improve productivity. People don’t thrive in an environment of constant criticism. Great managers and great motivators understand what Tom Hopkins said: “Keep your eyes open and try to catch people in your company doing something right, then praise them for it.”
Talk about three areas that are not going well or not being handled as you expect. Again, give details; specifics of situations they should have handled differently or results that need to be improved.
Discuss how you will work together to improve in the areas that need improvement and how to continue or expand on the positive results. Create a specific action plan that includes follow-ups that will take place during your weekly meetings. Remember to let each person lead the discussion on what steps should be taken. The actions should include commitments for both of you, not just your employee.
Lead Instead of Dictate
Just because you are the boss doesn’t mean that your people will do what you say. If they don’t respect your authority they will perform at what they believe is the minimal level needed to protect their job. Help your managers connect with the objectives and use their own experiences and resources to achieve them. This is especially true with younger employees, i.e. millennials, who want to be given the authority to make decisions and to be included in solving the problems of the organization.
Identify the one or two most pressing issues in each person’s range of responsibility. These could be driven by the problem areas that you outlined in the feedback you provided. Give them the responsibility and freedom to solve the problems or issues in their own way, while letting them know you are there to support and assist them as needed.
Make sure your direction doesn’t shut down their thinking process. Listen more than you talk in these situations. Let them explore the problems and find their own solutions. Otherwise, you run the risk of your team thinking less for themselves and becoming dependent on your knowledge and answers. Listen to make sure they don’t get too far off track, and use your regular one-on-one sessions to get updates on their progress.
Deal with Conflict Directly and Fairly
The workplace is a fertile breeding ground for conflict, as there is no shortage of emotionally charged issues among team members. Employees are keen observers of who takes action when needed and who doesn’t. They respect managers who confront difficult situations, just as they lose respect for those who typically avoid them.
Identify one or two areas of conflict among your people that you have been avoiding. Be honest with yourself and think about the interpersonal issues that are most damaging to your team and your business.
Get input individually from those who are involved in the conflict. As a mediator, you need to understand everyone’s perspectives and the situation from all viewpoints. Your goal is to understand the source of the conflict. It is important to get beyond a single incident that may have led to the visible evidence of a conflict. Probing questions like “When do you think the problem between you first arose?” will help to uncover the real issues.
Request solutions from all parties. Question them to solicit their ideas by asking “How can you make things better between you?” Then just listen. At this point you want to move the discussion away from finger pointing and toward ways of resolving the conflict.
Bring the parties together. Express the importance of working together as a team and having trust in one another. Communicate what you have learned from each of them regarding their perspective on the situation. Present ideas and possible solutions that come out of your discussions with the parties involved. Get the people to shake hands and agree to one or more of the solutions you discuss.
Reduce the potential for future conflicts. Ask each of the parties what actions they will take to prevent conflicts from arising in the future.
Management and leadership are multifaceted endeavors requiring a complex set of skills. Mastery of the fundamentals provides a foundation on which to build a more effective and successful organization. Those you are developing as managers will learn from your examples and become more effective. Use the opportunity of “spring cleaning” to sharpen your leadership skills, help to develop the key managers in your organization, and get your business moving in the right direction to successfully achieve your 2017 objectives.