Owning a commercial property can be incredibly fulfilling; however, just like owning a home, it also comes with many challenges. One of those challenges is dealing with water damage. Knowing how to prevent and how to spot potential water damage can help commercial property owners avoid catastrophe and get back to business efficiently.

Spotting Water Damage in a Commercial Property 

Although seemingly harmless, water can be incredibly destructive. As many have seen with major flood events like Hurricane Harvey, extensive water damage can cause major complications for properties that can leave them unusable. Even the most well-built structures can suffer the effects of water damage at some point in time. 

With this in mind, commercial property owners should consider the following signs when determining if water damage is present:

Apparent Physical Changes 

In most cases, it’s visible when water damage is present in a structure. Business owners may notice dark watermarks on the ceiling that could indicate a roof leak. If a roof leak is present and left untreated, the area can grow and appear bloated, flaky, or even warped. This type of damage can also be present in the walls. 

Flooring can suffer water damage as well, particularly after a flood or if a building has a sprinkler system in place. A leak from above can easily turn into a workplace hazard and even damage the sub-flooring if left undetected or untreated for some time.

The Presence of Mold 

If there is a leak in a commercial property that has been undetected or untreated, mold is likely to also be present. This is because constant moisture can create the ideal environment for mold to grow. In commercial properties, mold can most often be an issue in the ceiling or floors if there has been sitting water after a flood, a burst pipe, or even a roof leak.

Luckily, mold can be easily seen and detected through scent. Musty odors inside a property can quickly point to the formation of mold. This is especially important because as mold grows over time it can cause structural damage to a building and will need to be torn out and treated and/or remediated by a professional.

Apparent Increase in Utility Costs

Looking at a commercial property’s monthly utility bills can indicate the building has a leak. If it is apparent the water bill has drastically increased but a cause cannot be determined, it could be an undiagnosed leak. 

In the event a commercial property owner cannot determine where in the building the leak is coming from, they should contact a plumber. Plumbers have the knowledge and tools to safely examine a property to locate a leak and provide a solution.

The Presence of Rust 

If a commercial property owner notices that rust is present on equipment or a building’s air conditioning (AC) units, it is likely due to water damage. This can be a sign of an old leak in the area that was never addressed. Property owners should consult with a professional to determine the extent of the damage.

How to Prevent Commercial Water Damage

Having water damage can be incredibly stressful and costly to deal with; however, taking the necessary steps to prevent it can help businesses avoid water damage. Some tips for preventing commercial water damage include:

Having a Preventative Maintenance Plan 

Having a preventative maintenance plan in place can help keep a commercial property safe and secure from water damage. This includes regularly inspecting areas that are prone to leaks and water damage, such as a building’s roof and plumbing system. Different portions of the property should be inspected at different intervals. For instance, doors, windows, and gates should be examined each year, while the roof can be checked and coated every five years to prevent damage.

Conducting Regular Water Damage Inspections 

While conducting regular inspections for water damage can be time-consuming, it is a lot more beneficial financially than having to go through the process of restoration. Having professionals inspect the property at least once a year can help detect leaks through monitoring humidity using spot sensors.

Reviewing Applicable Insurance Policies

Insuring property against water damage can be incredibly tricky. While some forms of sudden or accidental water damage can be covered, damage caused by a flood or natural disaster is often not covered. Because of these discrepancies, commercial property owners must purchase additional flood coverage in addition to having a standard commercial property policy. Consulting with legal counsel can help ensure all aspects of the property are covered in the event water damage occurs.

Commercial Property Coverage Attorneys

Ensuring a commercial property is covered for potential water damage is important, so business owners can protect their livelihoods and avoid costly repairs. Despite this, insurance providers can still attempt to delay, underpay, or flat-out deny valid coverage to make more money for themselves. At Raizner Law, we understand just how upsetting this can be. If you need assistance with a commercial property claim, we can help. Contact our office today to discuss your needs.

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