Engineer Inspecting Metal Roof To Avoid Expensive Commercial Property Repairs

Most Expensive Commercial Property Repairs

If you own or are the property manager for a commercial building, you know from experience that upkeep and repair costs are just part of the job. However, there is a difference between small repair expenses and the major problems that some commercial properties encounter. The most expensive commercial property repairs can take a deep cut out of your revenue and potentially lower the value of the building. In this article, we’ll review several of the most expensive property repairs—and how you can potentially avoid them altogether.

Foundation & Structural Issues

For obvious reasons, any issues with either the foundation of the building or its structural integrity are problems that require your immediate attention. Here are a few examples of what can go wrong with either:

  • Foundation: As the building settles and the soil moves underneath it, the foundation can begin to crack, sink, or experience other issues. This can compromise the structure of the building itself. Often, soil stabilization or foundation repair is required to ensure that the building remains safe to occupy.
  • Structural: Issues with the foundation can lead to the building walls being damaged. In other cases, a termite infestation can eat away at important supports, causing others to bear too much weight. If your building has a basement, flooding or water damage can accelerate structural issues for the rest of the building.

So, how do you avoid a major foundation or structural issue? Typically, for less than $1,000, you can hire a NCSEA licensed structural engineer to inspect your commercial building. If you have any reason to suspect there may be a problem, this inspection costs far less than that associated with doing nothing and having to pay for significant foundation or structural repairs down the road, which can run in the tens—if not hundreds—of thousands of dollars.

Flooding & Water Damage

Cleaning up water damage in the aftermath of a flood represents a serious expense for any property owner. Flooding and water damage can actually cause some of the most expensive commercial property repairs. This is because the removal of water and mold remediation requires the services of a professional and can often run in the tens of thousands for a medium or large-sized commercial building.

In cases where flooding was caused by a natural event, such as excessive rainfall, the damage may be covered by your insurance policy. However, most policies do not cover water damage caused by:

  • Leaking Roofs: If your building’s roof has a leak, water damage and mold growth are sure to follow.
  • Pipe Bursts: In the winter, pipes exposed to freezing temperatures can have the water inside of them freeze. In turn, the ice expands and puts pressure on the pipe’s walls. Eventually, with enough pressure, the pipe bursts.
  • Failed Water Heater Tanks: If your building uses water heaters to supply hot water at the tap, you need to be aware that the pressurized tanks have the potential to leak or burst near the end of their lifespan.

In nearly all of these situations, proactive maintenance can prevent disaster. Have your building’s roof inspected at least once every year, and quickly address any roof leaks. You can prevent your property’s pipes from freezing by insulating exterior pipes and keeping your furnace in good working condition. Finally, have water heaters regularly inspected by a professional plumber in your area, and replace aging water heaters if they begin to show signs of damage, such as leaks or cracks in the tank wall.

Importance of Preventative Maintenance

When it comes to keeping your building in great shape, you’re not alone. In this section, we’ll review two important aspects of your commercial property that are best maintained with the assistance of a professional: your HVAC systems and your roof.

Commercial HVAC Maintenance

Your commercial heating and cooling systems are crucial to the indoor comfort and climate control of the building. If your building loses heating in the winter, it can become uninhabitable and its pipes could be at risk of freezing and bursting. In the summer, a failed ventilation and cooling system can quickly cause the temperature and humidity inside to spike, leading to lost workdays, business, and revenue. Any of these outcomes on their own represent a major expense. Add in needing to repair or replace the commercial HVAC system, and you could be on the hook for tens of thousands of dollars in repairs.

Preventative maintenance can make a major difference when it comes to the efficiency, effectiveness, and longevity of your building’s HVAC systems. Our recommendation is that you have a professional HVAC technician out to inspect and tune up your property’s air conditioner, heating, and ventilation systems at least once-per-year. The applied expertise of an HVAC professional can ultimately be the difference between a comfortable building and disaster.

Commercial Roof Maintenance

Roof problems can be a major headache and expense for property managers. Most often, the problem starts with water: rain, snow, and ice. Any pooling water on the roof is bad news, which is why it is crucial that your building’s gutters are clear and can effectively drain water off of the structure. As snow builds up during the winter months, have it removed from the roof to prevent excessive weight from building up.

Then, when everything thaws out in the spring, have a professional roofer out to inspect the roof and ensure that flashing, drains, and the roofing materials all remain intact and in good shape. As with everything else with your building, a little preventative maintenance can go a long way. When in doubt, bring in a professional for an annual fall roof inspection or routine maintenance.

About Author: Amanda Lee is the senior editor and communications specialist at King Heating, Cooling and Plumbing, a professional HVAC company in Oak Forest, IL. Besides HVAC topics, she also enjoys writing about home energy and indoor air quality as she has been working within the HVAC industry for more than ten years.

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