A Facility Manager’s Emergency Water Remediation To-Do List
Property owners and facility managers can have a huge workload added to their to-do list when interior water damage occurs. Whatever the cause, damage to your property's assets can cost you and your tenants time, productivity, and revenue.
When a water disaster occurs, your first step should always be securing the premises, which helps limit damage and protect the facility's occupants. Safety should be a priority from the onset, so consider this when reacting to any crisis.
Has your facility suffered extensive interior water damage? Here's what to do for emergency water remediation!
1. Understand how water damage can occur in a commercial building
There are several reasons why water damage might occur in a commercial building. Some of the most common sources are:
- Heavy rainstorms and hurricanes that lead to flooding
- Broken water pipes
- Excessive temperatures cause pipes to freeze and break
- Old pipes that leak, crack, or break or need to be replaced
- Roof leaks
- Water heater failure
- HVAC problems
- Broken, damaged, or malfunctioning sprinkler heads
- Water from sprinklers or fire hoses to extinguish an internal fire
- Drain lines
- Restroom overflow
Keeping these causes of water damage in mind makes it easier to identify the risks before it's too late. Regularly conducting risk assessments in your building is an important task for facility managers, but they often don't realize how important this task is until problems arise. If you identify risks, never put off having them resolved.
2. Know exactly who to contact if a water disaster occurs
The next thing you need to know if a water disaster occurs is who you should call. First, you'll need to call a trusted asset care service provider who knows your space and security protocols. After this, contact your tenants' key executives and EHS personnel to keep them informed. All tenants will want their business to be operational as soon as possible, so managing their expectations on this will be crucial.
You'll also need to notify your security company to ensure they are surveying the area to look for further damage that needs assessment and attention. With water, it is common for the initial emergency to cascade into other complications and damage to the building. The safety of your building's occupants should remain a priority throughout all stages of your water damage remediation, so do everything you can to avoid unnecessary risk.
3. Know how to protect yourself and your inspection or first response team
Before entering a building with water damage, ensure that you and the members of your inspection team wear appropriate protective clothing and equipment. Depending on the extent of the damage, this can include:
- Durable, water-resistant footwear
- Protective goggles
- Rubber gloves
- Disposable N-95 respirator masks
Cordon off all risk areas to restrict access, and then walk around the facility's perimeter to ensure there's nothing you're missing. Based on the severity of the incident, consider turning off all gas, water, electrical power, and utility services. This precaution might seem unnecessary, but where water damage is concerned, you never know the true extent of the damage until some time has passed.
It's also good to immediately inspect the foundations of the premises and check retaining walls for cracks and other significant damage. Recording your observations is essential at this stage because it helps ensure that escalating damage and after-effects are realized as soon as possible.
Once you enter the building, take comprehensive notes and photos of the scope and extent of the water damage on areas such as floors, walls, furniture, computers and electronic equipment, and other valuable furnishings.
Note: You should always assume that the facility's flooring, walls, furniture, contents, and any standing water inside are contaminated, which means you should also be ready to take precautions to avoid mold, spores, and airborne pathogens.
Fungal growths can cause air-quality degradation and pose significant health risks to building occupants. To protect yourself against future risk of fines or litigation, you should ensure that your water damage cleanup procedures are compliant from the outset. The golden rule is, if in doubt — have it checked out!
4. What you should look for when searching for water damage experts
Experienced property and facility management professionals will advise you only to trust the services of remediation technicians who meet all IICRC® standards for Class A facilities.
Very few companies meet all of these standards — but Corporate Care and a few other trusted companies do. If you're unsure about the company you've contacted, reputable companies will gladly share their credentials with you.
Pro Tip: Finding a reputable company can take up valuable time you don't have in a crisis, so make sure to find one before you ever need to utilize their services. When you connect with Corporate Care, we'll send a team to assess your building in advance. If disaster strikes, we'll already be familiar with your environment and security protocol and know precisely how to respond!
5. How long will drying time take for operational purposes?
While each case will be different, you should expect it to take an average of 3-7 days for a commercial property to dry out after water damage. While things like weather conditions, the types of materials used on the property, and the damage's severity will impact this – expect a trusted remediation company to keep you updated.
At Corporate Care, we offer 24/7 moisture monitoring software to provide regular updates and give you a more accurate estimate of drying time.
6. How to prepare for natural disasters in advance
Everyone knows that natural disasters are largely unpredictable, but this doesn't mean that you can't prepare in advance. With the right network of partners in place, you can react to natural disaster situations more quickly with significantly reduced risk.
If you are a client of Corporate Care, you should know that we mobilize days before major predicted weather events. We do this by deploying resources wherever our clients need us, from coast to coast. Because we're already familiar with their interior spaces and security protocols, we can respond quickly — reducing the duration of work required and saving money.
Corporate Care’s services to remediate water damage caused by catastrophic events include:
- 24/7 emergency water remediation response
- Documenting all areas of all buildings (including moisture maps and supporting data, recorded observations, digital photography, moisture measurement, and infrared images)
- Removing all contaminated and affected material from the interiors (concentrating on the areas with active mold growth)
- Providing non-stop, 24/7 air scrubbing and filtration throughout the disaster recovery process
- Pumping out hundreds of gallons of water per day from the affected buildings
- Removal of clear, gray, and black water
- Implementing advanced structural drying and chemical-based decontamination of all the structural surfaces and fixtures (deemed to be repairable)
- Document and furniture drying
- Test readings for indoor relative humidity and direct moisture
- Removing all baseboard and wall surface material as determined by the levels of contamination measured and moisture readings taken
- Removing all damaged materials, including acoustic tiles, trim around partition glass, doors and millwork, appliances, fixed objects in target areas (such as restrooms), and tile wall surfaces
- Employing biocidal agents to decontaminate all structural surfaces
- Documentation to substantiate compliance
If your water damage remediation team is not offering all these services, we recommend looking for an alternative service provider. The most important thing for you to know in a crisis is that the services you've hired someone to do are being carried out correctly and effectively. Water damage is time-sensitive, so choosing the right service provider is vital.
Corporate Care – Proactively solving. Ever evolving.
Corporate Care has over twenty years of experience in offering insight to property owners and facility managers on how much water damage could cost you and how much a water remediation plan can save you.
With our data-driven approach, we monitor and measure results to establish care plans that help reduce operational expenses and keep your business moving. Our customer app delivers comprehensive, real-time reporting so you gain complete service transparency and peace of mind.
From water damage crisis response to the ongoing preservation of your valuable interior surfaces, Corporate Care is a restoration and maintenance partner for all.
To learn more, please visit our water damage remediation page.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: How long does it take for a team to get onsite to start the remediation process?
A: 1 to 4 hours, depending on drive time. We are available and respond 24/7/365.
Q: How much do your services cost?
A: Depending on the severity of the water damage, your Corporate Care point of contact can provide a “Not to Exceed” (NTE) price for the initial response. We would then follow up with a detailed estimate based on the initial findings and estimated timeline for the work.