Recent Commercial Posts

Commercial Fire Alarm Systems

3/22/2019 (Permalink)

Commercial properties are held to a high level of maintenance to ensure safety of all occupants.  These buildings include:

  •  Office Buildings – including serviced offices.
  •  Industrial Buildings – warehouses, distribution centers and garages.
  •  Retail/Restaurants –  includes shopping centers, leisure facilities and pubs.
  •  Other non-residential properties such as entertainment venues, hotels, nursing homes, medical and self-storage complexes, as well as many more

Legal requirements for commercial fire alarm systems

As you can imagine, there is a lot more legislation concerning the installation, placement, testing and maintenance to regulate fire alarms in commercial premises than in residential buildings. British Standards provide guidelines that should be complied with and failure to do so is seen as a breach of a responsibility towards safety and can be punishable by law.

Fire alarms systems play such a key safety role in commercial buildings and there are a lot of lives potentially at steak. If the fire alarm systems are not sufficient then harsh penalties can be given, including hefty fines and in the case of extreme negligence, this can even result in imprisonment if lives are lost as a result of an ineffective approach to fire safety.

In addition if a fire does occur on a commercial property,  insurance policies may be voided if it can be proved that the fire alarm and smoke detectors were ineffective.  Be sure to test your alarms!!

How Does Commercial Insurance Work?

3/22/2019 (Permalink)

Your insurance policy will cover certain perils, which are causes of damage such as fire or theft. Coverages included in your policy are called inclusions, whereas perils not covered in your policy are called exclusions. It’s important to know what is covered in your policy and what is not covered.

Here are some of the primary items covered in a commercial property insurance policy due to loss from a covered peril:

  • The building, owned or leased
  • Business equipment loss
  • Damage or loss due to wind, hail, fire or theft
  • Accidental damage of property
  • Business Interruption (lost business income)
  • Electronic data
  • Interruption of computer operations
  • Valuable papers and records
  • Forgery or alteration
  • Accounts receivable

Of the covered items in a commercial property insurance policy, the most important items to cover are the building and the business’ assets contained within it. Business interruption, which covers a loss of income when your business is forced to suspend operations due to a covered event, is also necessary coverage in the property insurance policy.

For more information, reach out to your local insurance provider.

How to Prevent Commercial Fire Sprinklers from Freezing

2/5/2019 (Permalink)

Mineral fiber insulation is one of the primary ways to reduce the risk of sprinkler system from freezing. Although insulation alone may not prevent freezing when temperatures are cold enough for an extended period, properly installed insulation can significantly reduce the chance of sprinkler systems freezing.

A basic knowledge of heat flow will make clear how insulation is used to reduce the chance of sprinkler pipes freezing, according to the Insulation Institute.

How Heat Flow Works

Heat moves from warm areas to cold areas, and insulation slows the flow of heat. Insulation does not stop heat flow, so it is important that the pipes are installed in areas within or close to the heated part of the building and insulation is placed between the sprinkler system pipes and the colder outside.

Insulation’s property to slow heat flow is expressed as R-value. The greater the R-value the greater the ability to slow heat flow. It is important that the heating system remains on to supply heat to the building. If the heating system fails and the temperature goes below freezing for a long enough time the heat in the water will move to the colder areas and the pipes may freeze.

Another strategy to reduce the chance of pipes freezing is to use “heat tracing,” which is a flexible electric resistance heating element typically controlled by a thermostat, which is wrapped around the pipe to supply heat when needed, but this will not help when the electric power is out.

Options for Using Insulation to Reduce Freezing

Properly installed mineral fiber insulation is a practical method to reduce the chance of wet pipe systems (or those that always contain water) from freezing. Below are illustrations to show some possible designs for insulation systems for fire sprinkler systems which contain water. Note there are many other acceptable systems which will reduce the chance of sprinkler systems freezing and the systems shown are not guaranteed to prevent pipes from freezing.

Why You Should Clean Your HVAC System Regularly

12/27/2018 (Permalink)

Why should you have your HVAC system cleaned?

NADCA addresses this question in a short simple answer: because they get dirty over time and they have the potential to contain large amounts of dust and particulates.

Energy Savings

According to the U.S. Department of Energy, 25 to 40 percent of the energy used for heating or cooling is wasted. Contaminants in the heating and cooling system cause it to work harder and shorten the life of your system. Although filters are used, the heating and cooling system still gets dirty through normal use. When an HVAC system is clean, it doesn’t have to work as hard to maintain the temperature you desire. As a result, less energy is used, leading to improved cost.

Indoor Air Quality

Indoor air quality is one concern that building managers and building inhabitants have when they decide to investigate HVAC system. Through normal occupation in a building, we generate a great deal of contaminants and air pollutants, such as dander, dust, and chemicals. These contaminants are pulled into the HVAC system and re-circulated 5 to 7 times per day, on average. Over time, this re-circulation causes a build-up of contaminants in the ductwork.

While a contaminated HVAC system doesn't necessarily mean unhealthy air, the situation may be contributing to larger health issues or harboring contaminants that could cause serious problems for people with respiratory health conditions, autoimmune disorders or some environmental allergies.

Understanding Your Commercial Insurance Policy

12/27/2018 (Permalink)

According to the Insurance Information Institute, for small businesses without specialized risks, a Business Owners Policy—or BOP—may offer the basic property and liability coverage that you need. But if your company is growing in size and complexity—or you face specialized risks due to the nature of your business—you may want to consider purchasing a Commercial Package Policy, or CPP for short.

Customized insurance under one policy

Like a BOP, a CPP enables you to bundle various types of coverage within a single policy. However, while a BOP has limitations—it is only available for certain types of smaller businesses and covers only a few types of risk—Commercial Package Policies are available for a wide range of businesses, and can be better customized to the specific needs of your business. Most CPPs begin with:

  • Property insurance- Covers damage or destruction of buildings, equipment, inventory and more.
  • General liability insurance- Covers costs if someone is injured at your business or from using your product or service.

From there, you can add a range of coverages to your CPP, including:

  • Business income insurance- Also known as business interruption insurance, this replaces lost revenues and covers extra expenses in the event that your business has to shut down or relocate due to fire, wind damage or other covered losses.
  • Business vehicle (or fleet) insurance- Covers vehicles owned and used by your business.
  • Business crime insurance- Covers losses from burglary, computer fraud, employee dishonesty and other business crimes.
  • Commercial umbrella liability- Increases and broadens liability coverage, filling in gaps left by other coverages.
  • Electronic data processing coverage- Covers costs associated with the loss or damage of electronic data processing media or equipment.
  • Equipment breakdown—Also known as boiler and machinery insurance, this covers losses from the malfunction of heating, electrical, air conditioning, telephone systems and other equipment.
  • Employment practices liability—Covers costs tied to disputes with employees over termination, discrimination, sexual harassment and other employment issues.
  • Inland marine—Covers the transport of goods over water and land, providing comprehensive protection for assets that are moveable or mobile in nature, while in transit—such as from a warehouse to a store—or in storage.
  • Pollution liability—Covers costs related to pollution, including clean-up and personal injury.

A range of other types of insurance—covering professional liability, supply chain risk, terrorism, farming or ranching losses, and more—can also be included in a CPP.

What a CPP doesn’t cover

A CPP can provide your business with coverage against a broad range of risks. That said, it’s important to recognize that your CPP will not include:

  • Directors and Officers (D&O) liability
  • Health and disability
  • Life insurance
  • Workers compensation

These coverages must be purchased separately; discuss your additional insurance needs with your insurance professional.

Larg Loss

6/21/2018 (Permalink)

Most commercial property owners have a facilities management team in-house. Some larger organizations may even have disaster remediation equipment, pumps, air movers, dehumidifiers to name a few, on site as well. When disaster strikes they are equipped to respond in a timely fashion. What happens when the disaster exceeds the capabilities of those internal resources? That is when you call us, SERVPRO Norwood West Roxbury. We have access to both the certified technicians and state-of-the-art equipment to handle any size disaster. Our Emergency Team is on call 24 hours a day which makes us faster to any size disaster. Any building, any disaster – we have everything needed to make it "Like it never even happened." all under one roof! Call our Emergency Response Team today.

Norwood – 781-769-9125

West Roxbury – 617-323-3677

Are You Ready For Disaster To Strike

6/5/2018 (Permalink)

How many of you here have insurance? How many of you have insurance for your business in the form of a disaster recovery plan?  The Emergency Ready Profile, or the ERP, is a FREE, no-strings-attached centralized repository for critical facilities information. A well rounded business contingency plan is comprised of three components: incident response, disaster recovery and business continuity. The ERP encompasses two of those components, incident response and disaster recovery and grants us insight to the potential size and scope of a project prior to arriving on sight. The benefits of an ERP are a decrease in both response and recovery time – saving our customers money! Moreover, SERVPRO has partnered with the Red Cross and their Read Rating Program; a comprehensive assessment will help you to put all of your preparedness 'ducks' in a row. The information contained in our ERP can be used to create your baseline assessment. You never know when disaster will strike. Call us for you FREE consultation today!

Water Main Runoff

6/5/2018 (Permalink)

What would you do if a water main burst and covered over 30,000 square feet of your warehouse with almost an inch of water? You would want someone to arrive onsite fast and remediate the entire problem, not just the visible water, but also the excess moisture that could ruin a product line with mold and mildew. That is exactly what happened to a local sporting apparel manufacturer. From Air Movers to Dehumidifiers, Generators to Power Distribution Boxes we have access to a wide array of water remediation equipment and the certified technicians to get the COMPLETE job done right! We began the drying process in the middle of the week and completed it by the very next weekend. All of our equipment was removed over that weekend and the warehouse space was ready to receive deliveries that very next Monday morning. How are we able to accomplish this, we offer our commercial clients flat rate pricing which allows our technicians to take whatever steps necessary to expedite the drying process with minimal disruption to business operations. Does your commercial property need remediation services? Call our disaster recovery team today!

Are You Ready For Disaster To Strike

6/5/2018 (Permalink)

How many of you here have insurance? How many of you have insurance for your business in the form of a disaster recovery plan?  The Emergency Ready Profile, or the ERP, is a FREE, no-strings-attached centralized repository for critical facilities information. A well rounded business contingency plan is comprised of three components: incident response, disaster recovery and business continuity. The ERP encompasses two of those components, incident response and disaster recovery and grants us insight to the potential size and scope of a project prior to arriving on sight. The benefits of an ERP are a decrease in both response and recovery time – saving our customers money! Moreover, SERVPRO has partnered with the Red Cross and their Read Rating Program; a comprehensive assessment will help you to put all of your preparedness 'ducks' in a row. The information contained in our ERP can be used to create your baseline assessment. You never know when disaster will strike. Call us for you FREE consultation today!

Pipes That Are Vulnerable to Freezing

12/13/2017 (Permalink)

Are you a Landlord? The winter months bring certain property maintenance concerns that all landlords need to be aware of. When the temperatures drop, one major issue that could come up is a frozen water pipe. I will discuss the types of pipes that are most vulnerable to freezing.

Pipes That Are Vulnerable to Freezing

There are some pipes that are more vulnerable to freezing than others: 

  • Exterior Walls- Water pipes that are located along the exterior walls of a home can be vulnerable to freezing. This is because they may not have the adequate amount of insulation protecting them from the exterior temperatures.
     
  • Attics and Basements- Pipes that are located in attics or in basements may also have a greater tendency to freeze. These pipes may not receive the same amount of heat as the rest of the property. If these areas are not used as living space, they also may not be properly insulated.

4 Signs of Frozen Pipes

12/13/2017 (Permalink)

Are you a Landlord? The winter months bring certain property maintenance concerns that all landlords need to be aware of. When the temperatures drop, one major issue that could come up is a frozen water pipe. I will provide;

4 Signs of Frozen Pipes

There are a few clues which can help you determine if you have frozen pipes at your property:

  • The Temperature Is Right- Pipes will not freeze if it is not cold enough outside for them to do so. Water does not freeze when it is 60 degrees Fahrenheit outside, and neither do pipes. When the temperature falls to 32 degrees Fahrenheit or lower, you should begin to take precautions to prevent vulnerable pipes from freezing.
     
  • There Is Frost on the Pipe- For pipes that can actively be seen, such as those under sinks, you may be able to see frost that has accumulated on the exterior of the pipe. This can serve as a warning sign that the pipe is frozen before you ever try to turn on the faucet.
     
  • No Water Is Coming Out of the Faucet-  Is there a lack of running water. If you or a tenant turn on a kitchen or bathroom faucet and only a slight trickle of water or no water at all comes out, the water pipe leading to the faucet may be frozen.
  • Strange Smells- Is there an odd smell coming from a faucet or drain. If the pipe is partially or completely blocked, the only way the odor can escape is back up in the direction of your property.

5 Guiding Principles Of Drying

12/6/2017 (Permalink)

The IICRC (Institute of Inspection, Cleaning and Restoration Certification) is an independent, certification body that sets and promotes high standards and ethics within the inspection, cleaning, restoration and installation industry. It is regarded as the international industry standard to be used by restoration companies. One of the standards they have set, which has been accredited by ANSI (American National Standards Institute), is the S500 Water Damage Restoration Standard. This standard identifies five guiding principles for remediation companies to follow when drying and restoring wet building materials and its contents. These principles are:

  1. Safety of workers and occupants
  2. Documentation of conditions and work procedures
  3. Mitigation
  4. Drying
  5. Cleaning and repair

I will go into more detail and provide some examples later, but for now let me briefly describe the five principles. 

Principle 1—Safety First

Safety is everyone’s responsibility on a water damage work site. A primary concern in water damage safety is protecting our technicians. In addition, our technicians make sure they inform and protect occupants from whatever safety issues may arise during a project. Observing appropriate safety procedures ensures that both our technicians and clients remain healthy and safe while in unhealthy or unsafe environments. 

Principle 2—Documentation 

Our technicians inspect the areas where water has intruded to identify the extent to which water has migrated through materials and how much damage has occurred. They talk with building occupants about their observations to help further define the nature of the water damage. The information gathered in this initial inspection is documented and used to plan the needed emergency procedures.

During the process of drying a building, our technicians conduct ongoing inspections. They inspect and measure moisture conditions inside the building and in materials affected by the water. Information gathered during these ongoing inspections is documented and used to determine whether wet materials are drying properly. 

When the structure and contents are considered dry again, our technicians conduct a final inspection. This information is documented to show the building materials and contents have been restored to acceptable conditions. Not only do our technicians document the conditions of the building, but also the work procedures they followed to address those conditions. 

Principle 3—Mitigation

The major concern with any wet building is to prevent damages caused by water and moisture from becoming worse. Effective mitigation of a water intrusion will reduce the amount of damage a property suffers and thus also reduce the cost of restoring the property to its condition before the loss. Mitigation is important because it helps our clients recover more quickly from the water loss event. 

The goal of mitigation is to control the moisture and contamination. Our technicians will check for the source of moisture problems in the building. This source of moisture or water must be stopped before any drying of the building can be successful. While the building owner is ultimately responsible for correcting the route cause of the water damage, we offer subcontracting services to help make the remediation process as uncomplicated and trouble free as possible for our clients. 

Mitigation also controls any microbiological contamination resulting from the moisture. Contaminants are contained to prevent their spread from affected areas of a building to the uncontaminated areas. 

Principle 4—Drying Buildings and Contents

Our goal is to reduce the time that building materials and contents are excessively wet. The more quickly items are returned to a dry condition, the less damage they will suffer. The drying process involves some basic procedures:

Remove excess water. Removing the excess or bulk water is an important procedure in drying a building. Water can be removed from a building in two ways—extraction and evaporation. Extraction is the more effective way for removing enough water to speed the process of drying. Every gallon removed by extracting means much less time will be required to remove water with drying equipment.

Enhance evaporation of moisture. Restorers set up drying equipment to remove moisture through evaporation and dehumidification. Air movement speeds the evaporation of moisture from wet materials.

Remove water vapor by dehumidification. Dry air acts like a sponge to absorb moisture from wet surfaces. Wet, humid air is processed through dehumidifiers to remove water vapor and produce dry air. Air movers circulate the dry air from the dehumidifiers across the wet surfaces to speed up evaporation.

Control temperature to enhance moisture removal. Our technicians will control the temperature of air conditions in order to increase the rate of evaporation. They also maintain certain temperature levels to increase the operating efficiency of dehumidifiers. 

Principle 5—Cleaning and Repair


Once our technician's inspection confirms moisture content of the structure and contents has reached the drying goals, the drying services are done. The structure and its contents are now ready for restoration services to begin. We have a full stable of vetted, bonded and insured professionals that can perform the restoration process for our clients. 

The bottom line with any water damage scenario is simple, the key to preventing further water damagerespond quickly and we are faster to any size disaster.


Before I discuss each principle in greater detail I will explain how we "Respond to The Loss".

Responding To The Loss - Water

12/6/2017 (Permalink)

Water can deliver significant damage to property and its contents. Response time is paramount to mitigating the extent of the damage. We pride ourselves on being, “Faster to any size disaster”. Our technicians respond promptly to all water related calls. When responding to a loss our technicians will follow a four (4) step process in adherence to the IICRC S500 5 Principles;

1 - Inspection of the loss – They will inspect the impacted area to scope the extent of damage and to evaluate how far water has migrated through the building. The inspection service is called “scoping.” Scoping water damage means the technician looks carefully at the area affected by the water and examines the area to determine the extent of water damage. The technician will conduct several activities when scoping or inspecting water damage, including: 

  • Gather information about the structure.
  • Identify potential safety and health hazards (S500 Principle 1, Health & Safety).
  • Evaluate the amount of damage to structural components and contents items.
  • Make preliminary determinations about the mitigation and restoration services required.

It is during this time that our technicians are actively evaluating the disaster (S500 Principle 2, Documentation) in totality to determine the scope of the damage by answering questions like:

  • What is the category of water?
  • To what extent did water intrude into the building?
  • How far did the water go?
  • How many materials got wet?

2 - Emergency services (S500 Principle 3, Mitigation) -The goal of emergency actions is to protect structure and contents from further damage, establish a safe environment, extract water, and begin drying the structure and contents effectively.  

3 - Monitoring services (S500 Principle 4, Drying Buildings and Contents) - Monitoring activities during the drying process are essential to ensure the drying process is working properly. This also allows for good lines of communication with all stakeholders — the insured, the adjuster, and the agent. Our technicians complete monitoring reports to show the effectiveness of the drying system. Monitoring services continue until the structure and contents are dry.

4 - Restoration services (S500 Principle 5, Cleaning and Repair) - Once everything is dry, the last step is restoration—cleaning and repairing everything to return both structure and contents back to preloss condition. Restoration services may include repairing structural materials, reinstalling carpets, and cleaning affected areas of structure and contents.  

Key Questions of Restorative Drying

Once on site our technicians are trained to answer the following key questions while performing the first 3 steps mentioned above.

  1. What materials and contents are wet?
  2. How wet are the affected items?
  3. Are structure and contents items drying?
  4. Are structure and contents dry?

The answers to these questions are documented and used to make drying decisions while performing emergency and monitoring services.

The answers to the first two questions enable our technicians to determine how big or small the drying job will be. The aim of inspection is to learn what building components got wet and how wet they are. These questions show how big the challenge will be to return everything to a dry condition.

The answers to the last two questions will help our technicians track the drying progress of the building as it moves from wet back to dry. Throughout the monitoring services, our technicians will check whether building components are drying. Are they making progress from wet to dry, and is the rate of progress acceptable? Are they dry? Only when the answer is “yes” to this final question will the impacted area be ready to have restoration services begin. To be clear, restoration services CANNOT begin until ALL we building materials and its contents are shown to be dry again.

Principle 1 - Health & Safety

Safety is everyone’s responsibility on a water damage work site. So Principle 1—safety—is a concern at the beginning of an inspection.

  • A primary concern in water damage safety is protecting employees who will be working in the wet building.
  • In addition, the IICRC S500 Water Damage Restoration Standard highly recommends restorers make “a reasonable effort” to inform and protect occupants from safety issues that may arise during a project.
  • Federal regulations (for example OSHA standards on safe work areas) may apply to water restoration work. Observing appropriate safety procedures will help keep workers healthy while they work in unhealthy or unsafe buildings. The S500 offers a list of safe work practices for contaminated, wet environments.

As mentioned above one of the very first, if not the first, question our technicians will ask themselves is, “What is the category of water?” A common safety hazard in water damages is microbes that grow when excess water affects a building. Various types of microscopic organisms begin to multiply and contaminate the water. The restoration industry categorizes water damages on the basis of how contaminated the water is. The categories are called Category 1, 2, and 3. They are given the names Clean water, Gray water, Black water respectively. One factor that helps our technicians to determine the category is the source of the water.

Clean Water – Water that has been treated or has not been contaminated with waste, such as a burst water line or pipes, rain water, snow or ice melt, etc.

Gray Water – Water that has been used, but does not contain human waste including: discharge water from a washing machine, discharge water from a dishwasher, shower or sink overflow, etc.

Black Water – Water that is highly contaminated with waste. Two kinds of black water situations are flooding and sewage backups.

o   External flooding — Flood waters are very dirty and potentially dangerous. Mud, silt and other sorts of debris may possibly contain disease carrying microorganisms. Rising flood water may take a long time to recede before mitigation and remediation procedures can begin. Structural damage is likely.

o  Sewage Back-ups — This kind of black water damage happens when a commode overflows with human waste or when a municipal sewer line backs up. Sewage waste contains disease carrying microorganisms. If the waste is from a medical treatment facility or hospital, the potential for Blood Borne Pathogens is dramatically higher.

Obviously it is easy to see why quickly identifying the category of water is so important. How and where excess, stagnant water can be “relocated” is determined by the category of water. Clean water can safely be reintroduced into the surrounding ecosystem. However Gray water (in some instances) and Black water must be removed safely according to local Department of Health guidelines. The latter of which can make water remediation projects extremely challenging.  Understanding the type of water and how it can be removed from the structure enables our technician to properly define and communicate the scope of the project. The good news, we have the appropriate extraction and transportation equipment to get the job done correctly and safely!

During the inspection step our technicians also begin to document conditions and procedures (Principle 2). We will dive into greater detail on this topic next week. 

Water Main Run Off

4/26/2017 (Permalink)

What would you do if a water main burst and covered over 30,000 square feet of your warehouse with almost an inch of water? You would want someone to arrive onsite fast and remediate the entire problem, not just the visible water, but also the excess moisture that could ruin a product line with mold and mildew. That is exactly what happened to a local sporting apparel manufacturer. From Air Movers to Dehumidifiers, Generators to Power Distribution Boxes we have access to a wide array of water remediation equipment and the certified technicians to get the COMPLETE job done right! We began the drying process in the middle of the week and completed it by the very next weekend. All of our equipment was removed over that weekend and the warehouse space was ready to receive deliveries that very next Monday morning. How are we able to accomplish this, we offer our commercial clients flat rate pricing which allows our technicians to take whatever steps necessary to expedite the drying process with minimal disruption to business operations. Does your commercial property need remediation services? Call our disaster recovery team today!

Are You "Ready For Whatever Happens?"

3/23/2017 (Permalink)

How many of you here have insurance? How many of you have insurance for your business in the form of a disaster recovery plan?  The Emergency Ready Profile, or the ERP, is a FREE, no-strings-attached centralized repository for critical facilities information. A well rounded business contingency plan is comprised of three components: incident response, disaster recovery and business continuity. The ERP encompasses two of those components, incident response and disaster recovery and grants us insight to the potential size and scope of a project prior to arriving on sight. The benefits of an ERP are a decrease in both response and recovery time – saving our customers money! Moreover, SERVPRO has partnered with the Red Cross and their Read Rating Program; a comprehensive assessment will help you to put all of your preparedness 'ducks' in a row. The information contained in our ERP can be used to create your baseline assessment. You never know when disaster will strike. Call us for you FREE consultation today!