Storm damage can really be disastrous when maintaining commercial properties. As with most natural disasters, even the best planning in the world can’t stop a storm from happening; there’s no guide that can stop mother nature from rolling a dice with which location gets hit, but there are a number of things that you can do to limit, mitigate, and protect against the effects.
Taking preventative steps to protect against storm damage isn’t something that you can leave to the last minute. Instead, you should be constantly assessing your risk, and taking steps to leave yourself in the best position you can be at all times. A couple of these ideas and a couple of hours work can be the difference between tens of thousands in repairs and lost business costs, especially if your commercial premises are in a location that’s already at risk.
KEEP YOUR TREES AND PLANTS MANAGED
One of the more frightening aspects of a storm is its capacity to uproot and drag entire structures, trees, and objects around. In fact, a large percentage of storm damage to property in general comes from tree and plant matter.Branches can break, limbs can snap, and poorly tended or rooted plants can be wrenched from the ground. Any of these parts can fly at speeds fast enough to shatter a window, injure a person, or break something valuable.
Employing a gardening or pruning service to tend to any trees, especially Eucalypts that may be congregating around your property, can mean the difference between minor and major damages.
Simple pruning may get rid of dead weight branches just looking for an excuse to fall (and remember, Eucalypts are notorious for dropping branches even under the most stable of conditions, which is why campers are told never to pitch a tent under one). In more serious conditions, you should consider having decrepit shrubs and trees removed entirely from the premises before a storm does it for you.
Your chances of being hit by a lightning bolt aren’t completely known, but National Geographic predicts about a one in seven hundred thousand chance every year (at least for Americans).
Unfortunately, this reassuring statistic doesn’t extend to buildings, which (as they’re obviously larger than humans) tend to accumulate a lot more damage overall. In fact, using that same statistic from the United States: while people aren’t injured by lightning particularly often, over one billion dollars is done to buildings by lightning strikes annually in terms of structural damage and repair costs. This means that they account for between 3% and 5% of all commercial insurance claims, which is a gigantic statistic for such a ‘rare’ event.
Installing a lightning protection system can be the difference between being a part of the statistic or not. They act as grounding tools, allowing any lightning to discharge harmlessly upon it and spread out in such a way to maximise only the chance of the rod itself being hit. Remember that a lightning strike isn’t just harmful in the immediate impact radius. It can be enough to knock something out of order, but lightning hitting an electrical or combustible material can cause fire.
Electrical fires aren’t easy to put out, and as water conducts electricity, a storm and electrical fire can be a dangerous combination for any workers on site.
DRAIN THE WATER AWAY
Invest in adequate drainage solutions, and pursue intelligent design decisions that increase the ergonomics of your existing ones. Storm drainage serves multiple purposes, and is doubly important for anybody with a flat office roof.
Firstly, it stops the accumulation of pooling on your roof; on a day to day basis, this can create stagnant, smelly ponds, but over time it can also leak into cracks within your roof (especially in older buildings where the waterproofing membrane may have cracked even slightly due to time).
During times of heavy buildup, having the ability to quickly drain excess water prevents you from accumulating huge damages from commercial flooding, which can in turn cause large scale erosion of soil, as well as turning outdoor areas into a temporary marsh.
HOW’S YOUR WATERPROOFING?
Waterproofing membranes can buckle and crack over time, and if yours hasn’t been looked at in a decade or two, which is surprisingly likely, it might be time to reconsider how safe you are in a storm. Waterproofing a property means locking down every angle, including adequate sealing for any pipes or ventilation that might be there, any outdoor or balcony areas, and any exterior surface at all (including the roof).
Membranes are sturdy, but they ultimately have a shelf life just like any other. Bad draining can also accentuate this massively, as long term buildup of water can massively lower the lifespan of a most waterproofing solutions. If you’re fixing one, check the other isn’t also in dire need of replacement.
Power Integration are certified Master Electricians that can offer intelligent and creative solutions for electrical works at your commercial property