Win, Lose or Draw – Mother Nature versus Your Commercial Property
It’s World Cup mania! Whether or not you are a soccer fan, the excitement of the 2014 World Cup is contagious. Let’s face it – we all love to root for the home team. From the exciting win over Ghana to reeling in disappointment over a tie with Portugal, then to lose to Germany and still advance to the next round (which is amazing), World Cup fever has taken control!
These teams are the primed for a major competitive battle, having practiced and played beyond what most would be willing to do just for the chance to be considered best in the world. Which is why something like a last-minute goal to tie up the game is so devastating for the U.S. soccer team – it’s having that elated feeling of victory only to fizzle out in the last seconds. And yet they continue to play; to persevere for that chance at winning again.
It’s interesting to think about how often we stand up to adversity, even in our everyday lives. Take Mother Nature for example. Talk about an unfair match! Yet we, and our building envelopes, go toe to toe with her regularly. From tornadoes to high winds to massive thunder storms, Mother Nature puts up quite a fight. The question is do we hope for the best or are we taking steps to ensure that our properties are prepared for an epic battle?
“When determining the best course of preparedness for a property, it is critical to consider the most expensive component of that building, which is typically the commercial roof,” said Steve Little, KPOST Company president. “You would not consider showing up at the World Cup without having practiced and learned plays. The same is true for property management. You want to be prepared to take on inclement weather by understanding the roofing components, life span and appropriate preventative maintenance to ensure longevity.”
Setting the Game Plan
When deciding on the next steps to ensure your commercial property receives the right type of preventative maintenance and you are prepared for anything Mother Nature can throw at you, it’s important to start with a thorough understanding of the state of the building materials and the associated warranties. This means having a sense of what type of maintenance has been previously performed, the materials used and how well they have been maintained, and the repairs performed in the past.
“If you have a prescriptive program that provides solid documentation on what materials were initially used during the building of the property, the warranty period of the materials, and the assessments and maintenance work performed, you have a track record that ensures you truly understand the state of your property. Think of it like a CarFax for your building,” said Luke Legrand of Conner-Legrand, Inc. an independent manufacturer’s representative of roofs, walls and skylights. Luke and his team work with architects, general contractors and building owners to ensure the best product is used for the project. They have the flexibility to recommend multiple products, rather than a single manufacturer line, and are well-equipped to make judgments on the best materials.
“To understand the importance of the right materials, you should first consider that a building is an active entity,” said Luke. “Some buildings may be bought and sold multiple times, so ensuring you know what materials were originally used as well as the maintenance plan not only help provide insight as to the value of the property, but also in how to budget for maintenance and replacement going forward.”
Because proper maintenance is important, it would seem logical that this would be a priority. Just like the soccer players train to play in the World Cup, obviously property managers and building owners would prioritize preventative maintenance. Unfortunately, this may not be the case, and if you have inherited a building without good records, you may be in for some unpleasant surprises, particularly when Mother Nature decides to pay you a visit.
See a Leak? It’s Too Late!
If Tim Howard, the American goalie could have anticipated that amazing shot by the Portuguese player Varela, he would have adjusted appropriately. Unfortunately he could not and what was certain to be a rousing victory ended in a draw. The truth is we don’t often get to have a tie with Mother Nature. In fact, without property assessments and maintenance, she will most likely win!
“Buildings expand and contract as the environment heats and cools, and so do building materials and components. However, some materials will move more than others,” said Luke. “Of greater concern are the intersections where different types of materials meet. Manufacturers will give you a lifecycle that is based on their materials, but the wear and tear that occurs at these intersections can impact the overall building envelope. A building owner can benefit greatly from learning to look for issues before they become problems.”
By the time you see water inside the building, there is a build-up of water elsewhere that can wreak havoc throughout the building and outlying structures, including, but not limited to mold. And that’s only with a small amount of water. If there is a major weather event, then the wind gusts can rip up parts of the roof, while water seeps into places it should not be.
Mother Nature can unleash her wrath at any time. If your property relies on consumer dollars then the perception that you are not caring for your building can cost you more than the commercial roof repair. It can cost you losses in consumer confidence and negative tenant opinions resulting in revenue loss.
“Think about those establishments that depend on consumer traffic in the building. A retail business that has to block off floor traffic to prevent slip-falls not only presents a poor image, it has a large liability exposure. Consider a high-end restaurant with roof leaks; consumer confidence can be shaken and they simply may not return,” said Luke. “By the time you can see a leak, it becomes an emergency call, which always costs significantly more than planned and scheduled maintenance. Building downtime or operations disruption can be very costly, and is usually avoidable, or at least minimized with proper planning.”
Get Your Game Face On
It’s tough enough to prepare for a major tournament like the World Cup. Hours upon hours of practice and preparation go into competing for the top slots. Fortunately, the same number of hours is not required to prepare for battle with Mother Nature. What is required is a cohesive plan delivered from your trusted roofing professional that ensures you are assessing and maintaining your commercial roof. Doing so will save you money on repairs and keep your reputation intact.
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You can find more tips and information in the KPOST Company white paper “If Farmer’s Predict a Rainy Season, Can You Keep Water Out of Your Building?“ Download your free copy and learn more about extending proper roof inspections as well as great tips for keeping water out of your building. Download now!