As winter starts to set in, the team at Red Rock Facilities Management examines how businesses can deal with flooding when the prospect of heavy snow and rain hovers on the horizon and the potential havoc that may reap for businesses.
We need to prepare for the impact that severe weather may have on the day-to-day running of our businesses.
Experiencing a flood at your business premises can be a devastating event, with costly repair fees and the potential to shut down your operations for weeks or even months. In the worst case, a business may need to move property completely while repairs are undertaken.
If you are unfortunate enough to suffer a flood, there are a few key steps you can take in the immediate aftermath to minimise the damage and risk. Below we’ve listed five you should always follow.
1. Stay safe
If you were forced to leave the premises due to flooding, you need to guarantee it is safe to re-enter before you allow anyone back in. If it has not been done already, you may need to turn off the power to avoid any electrical shocks, and check that the walls, ceilings and floors are still sound. Always enlist a professional to advise you on structural damage.
You should also be sure to wear protective clothing when you re-enter the property to protect yourself against any chemicals, debris or sewage that may have been released during the flooding.
2. Stop the water source
Some floods are caused by a fault in your plumbing system rather than by an act of nature. If this is the case, you can reduce the damage by quickly shutting off the water supply to the property via the main stopcock valve. This can also help you to determine where the leak is coming from. In larger commercial properties, you may need to enlist the help of professional services to identify all the stopcock valves in the building and find which one needs shutting off.
Identifying the source of the leak and stopping anymore water from entering a building can make a huge difference to the amount of damage done to your property and possessions.
3. Document the damage
You will need to document the damage caused by flooding in order to make a claim on your buildings and contents insurance. Before removing any water or attempting to make repairs, you should fully document the flood damage with photos and videos. If you make repairs or remove a lot of water before photographing the damage, your claim and the extent of your coverage could be affected.
4. Contact your insurance company
You should notify your insurance company as soon as possible after your property has been flooded. They will provide you with directions and requirements in order to make your claim, so be sure to follow this advice to avoid lowering the extent of your coverage. This will also involve a site visit to evaluate the damage to the building and any repairs required.
It’s also a good idea to document the damage yourself, plus any conversations you have with your insurance company so you have all the documents and proof you need when it comes to making your claim.
5. Remove the flood water
Finally, once you’ve contacted your insurer and received confirmation that you can begin removing the flood water, you can begin this difficult but necessary task. Using a professional cleaning service may be the best option if you are dealing with a large commercial property. The clean up will also help to identify the full extent of any repairs needed before occupants can return to the building.
Humidifiers can be extremely helpful in reducing the amount of damp in your property, whilst buckets are an obvious and effective tool for removing large quantities of water.
Be aware that you may need to remove portions of your walls, floor and ceiling if it has been internally damaged.
Expert Opinion provided by Red Rock Facilities Management