Recent Commercial Posts
Contact SERVPRO of East Brownsville & South Padre Island to Help Businesses Avoid COVID-19
SERVPRO OF East Brownsville & South Padre Island is an essential business in the RGV. We remain Faster to any Size Disaster, and crucially, can help prevent a disaster.
Call us for proactive cleaning. We follow the guidelines from the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) and from FDA (U.S. Food & Drug Administration) for cleaning frequently-touched surfaces, electronics, porous surfaces (such as upholstery and carpet), and non-porous surfaces (such as stainless steel, tile, and laminate).
SERVPRO works with businesses to help their employees and their communities avoid COVID-19. Our highly-trained technicians use hospital-quality cleaners and disinfectants.
RGV can count on us to follow the current guidelines for the cleaning and disinfection of the wide range of businesses in the area, including:
- Senior-living communities
- Restaurants and other food-service businesses
- Grocery stores and other retail spaces
- Dental office
- Other medical facilities
- Automobile service and rental companies
- Community centers
- Correctional & detention facilities
If your business is not listed above, don’t worry. We most likely have the equipment and supplies to clean it.
Call us at 956-747-3020 any time of day or night, any day of the week.
We are Here to Help®
Deep Cleaning Has Never Been More Important for Businesses in Brownsville
SERVPRO® wants commercial businesses in Brownsville, TX to know that we have the specialty training to deal with biological contaminants similar to COVID-19, and can provide deep cleaning and disinfecting services for your facility.
We use EPA-Approved Cleaning Products
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), recommends cleaning high-touch surfaces with a labeled hospital-grade disinfectant with claims against similar pathogens to the coronavirus and follow CDC and local authority recommendations and guidelines. According to the CDC, high-touch, porous and nonporous surfaces such as doors and doorknobs, light switches, phones, tables, tablets, bathroom fixtures, keyboards, handles and common areas should undergo routine cleaning and disinfecting using specific protocols.
Call Us Today For a Proactive Cleaning
When your business needs specialty cleaning and disinfection services, SERVPRO® of East Brownsville & South Padre Island wants to help. We are on call 24 hours a day and have the specialized equipment necessary to provide the deep cleaning services you need. Call us today at 956-747-3020.
The Different Levels of Commercial Damage
One of the areas SERVPRO of East Brownsville & South Padre Island has the capability to handle is commercial damage.
There are so many factors that can contribute to commercial damage occurring such as fires due to unforeseen circumstances, facility usage which puts wear and tear on your property, down to the most basic water damage. No matter the source of the damage, this downtime can be costly both to your business and your customers. When damage at your commercial property happens, how do you know to what level and extent? Below we have a grading system we use to determine the level of which your property is assessed and categorized to begin mitigation.
Small commercial loss typically involving 15,000 square feet or less of affected floor space. If the facility was entirely affected, examples of a small commercial loss may include but are not limited to, a stand-alone retail establishment, a small church, a daycare facility, a small shopping center, a small warehouse or manufacturing facility, or a stand-alone administrative building. A Level 1 loss can also be a small portion of a much larger structure.
Midsize commercial loss typically involving 15,000 to 60,000 square feet of affected floor space. The building or buildings involved are usually multi-level or greatly divided spaces. If the facility was entirely affected, examples of a Level 2 loss may include but are not limited to, a small multi-family property, a midsize church or school, a small shopping center, a multi-tenant administration facility, or a midsize warehouse or manufacturing facility. A Level 2 loss can also be just a portion of a much larger structure.
Large commercial loss typically involving more than 60,000 square feet of affected floor space. The building or buildings involved will likely be large multi-level structures. If the facility was entirely affected, examples of a Level 3 loss can include but are not limited to, a large church, hospital, school, or university; a large multi-family property; a mid- to high-rise retail or administration facility; a large industrial, manufacturing, or warehouse facility; or a large strip-style shopping center or shopping mall. This is the level at which it would be appropriate to refer to the project as a “large loss.” Once our team determines the level of loss, the property is further assessed, and a team of appropriate size is dispatched to get the job done quickly and efficiently. If you have damage at your Commercial property. Give SERVPRO of East Brownsville & South Padre Island a call at 956-747-3020
SERVPRO'S ERP Commercial Profile Plan
Be Proactive Before Commercial Water Damage in Portsmouth
Business owners in Brownsville plan for many contingencies. Employees call in sick or quit, equipment breaks, income ebbs and flows, suppliers fail to meet deadlines, seasonal demand disappoints, or surprises. One crucial concern under the radar until it demands attention is an unexpected water loss. Whether leaky plumbing, storm activity, or appliance malfunction drives the disaster, the future of your business depends on minimizing harm and a fast remediation.
How to Prepare for Water Emergencies
The perfect solution for commercial water damage in Brownsville is to avoid it. Unfortunately, plumbing lines and appliances age and exteriors cannot withstand every severe storm. There are common-sense steps a business owner can take to limit the harm to structural components, contents, and operations. Here are a few ideas you and your staff can implement:
- Locate important documents off-site in secure storage or digitize
- Encase records in waterproof bins and store away from plumbing and spaces prone to flooding
- Dedicate space for inventory above flood lines and far from plumbing, windows, and doors that could admit water
- Raise equipment off the floor
- Ensure all staff know the location of the main water shutoff
- Invest in regular inspection and maintenance of water risks such as plumbing, roofs, gutters, and appliances
Partner with Us -- the Emergency READY Plan (ERP)
SERVPRO offers a unique safeguard for our commercial customers. Contact us far in advance of any water event and schedule a no-obligation assessment of your physical layout and a discussion of how you conduct business. We use this information in a couple of ways to ensure a water disaster does not destroy your life's work:
We make recommendations for adaptations you put in place now to reduce the effect of any water damage on your day-to-day routines and money-making opportunities
We outline a plan of attack in case water damage occurs, personalized for your needs and space. The plan permits our Institute of Inspection, Cleaning and Restoration Certification (IICRC)--trained managers and technicians to begin responding immediately if the worst happens.
We allow you to share additional details through the use of our mobile app, creating your Emergency READY Profile. The two documents together are a concise digital document accessible 24/7 for our crews.
Common Water Issues for Businesses
For a commercial property owner in Brownsville, TX, unexpected water problems can be a big issue. Fortunately, a water damage professional can help you assess, clean, and repair damages from any flooding or leaks you may have. Here are a few of the most common water problems a business may face from leaking pipes to foundation cracks.
1. Pipe Breaks
A pipe break can occur in a number of ways. Over time, the pipe can age and loosen in its fittings, or extensive use can lead to pinhole leaks. Extreme heat or cold can also affect a pipe’s integrity. A blocked pipe can lead to pressure buildup and eventually burst.
2. Plumbing Backup
Blocked plumbing can even lead to a toilet backup or sink overflow. When a pipe is blocked, water can take the shortest path out regardless of its intended flow path. Blockages can occur from a number of things, including the buildup of water minerals over time inside a pipe or someone pouring a solidifying material, such as plaster or grease, down a drain.
Extreme weather conditions can also lead to leaking pipes. Cold temperatures can cause the water in pipes to freeze and expand. The expansion puts pressure on the pipe and can create a crack or even cause it to burst altogether. If you know cold weather is coming, you can check with a local professional about what preventive measures to take.
4. Foundation Cracks
Foundation cracks can also become a problem leading to water damage. Water can seep through any cracks and pool, leading to further issues such as mold. Any cracks should be investigated and assessed as soon as possible to determine the best course of action.
Water damage can happen to a commercial property. Fortunately, a professional can fix the damage caused by leaking pipes, foundation cracks, backed up toilet, or weather, and help you repair your property.
Are Sump Pumps the Best for Damage in a Brownsville Store?
Water damage is nothing to play with, SERVPRO will walk you through every bit of the damage
With a sprawling commercial property like a department store in Brownsville, substantial water loss incidents can quickly spread to affect a wide area of the building. As troublesome as this might seem, fast response to the emergency can limit the irreparable effect on your stock in the store and the possibility of restoring flooring and other shelving fixtures rather than tearing them out and letting our general contractors replace them.
Many extraction tools can help in interior flooding scenarios where water removal for Brownsville department stores is vital. We strive to provide the best equipment for every disaster, and in many cases, the ideal tool for standing water loss incidents in your store is electric portable submersible pumps. These lightweight units boast a quiet, continual draw of standing water to a designated discharge point, allowing our SERVPRO team to gain control of a widespread water loss emergency effectively. However, sump pumps might not always be the best – or only – extraction equipment necessary to get the job done.
While you can look to sump pumps to be a reliable option for any depth above two inches, even this small depth can still leave a substantial amount of water that air movers and dehumidifiers could spend weeks attempting to dry out. Instead, once down to the level where sump pumps can lose their prime, our SERVPRO technicians can switch to wet-vacs and light wands to remove the rest of the surface water.
While standing water, in general, can be addressed by the portable electric pump, oversaturation of carpeting in the primary shopping areas of your store cannot get absorbed by this popular option. Instead, our professionals utilize weighted ride-on extraction units that can move consistently through the area. This approach is even more effective if our team can move racks of clothing, standalone shelves, and tables to other unaffected areas of the store to allow unhindered access for moisture removal.
Your department store can need many things to look and feel like it did before the water loss incident, and our SERVPRO of East Brownsville & South Padre Island team is here to help. We have sophisticated equipment and drying tools to make water losses “Like it never even happened,” when you call (956) 747-3020.
Bio-Hazard Cleaning For Your Commercial Business. What Makes Trauma Cleanup Important?
If your commercial business needs Bio-Hazard Cleaning, Our expert technicians are always here to help!
Any site business where a significant traumatic event took place must be cleaned as soon as possible. There are many reasons why a trauma, and crime scene cleanup process like what we offer at SERVPRO of East Brownsville & South Padre Island is vital for your needs.
- Stop Pathogens from Spreading Many bloodborne pathogens could spread around a property after a traumatic event. These includes pathogens produced due to significant blood loss or other cases where bodily fluids might be spread out around a property. A trauma cleanup process neutralizes, and removes all pathogens from an area, and also clears them out of the air so they will not be at risk of spreading.
- Replace Fabrics and Other Surfaces- Sometimes the surfaces in a trauma cleanup site might be stained with blood, and other pathogens to the point where they have to be replaced. The cleanup process can help identify surfaces that might have to be replaced, depending on the amount of damage a space experienced.
- Critical for Emotional Purposes- Many events that require trauma cleaning services can be devastating. These include moments like a death or a significant injury that led to blood loss or the spread of other pathogens. By cleaning out a space, it will feel like normal once again. It is also easier for professionals who are removed from an event to perform the cleanup.
The trauma cleanup process can be difficult, but a professional team like us at SERVPRO of East Brownsville & South Padre Island will help you take care of any cleaning issues. Get in touch with us if you need help with cleaning a troubling space during a tough time.
Commercial Water Damage Cleanup You Can Trust.
Our SERVPRO technicians assisting a commercial after a large water loss.
When your commercial business has suffered from water damage, it can be very overwhelming. First, you have to figure out how to get rid of all the water, fix what is causing the problem, and then you have to dry everything out and do any repairs. It can be very time consuming and can put business days to a hold. It is best to call in a professional to help take care of water damage so that you can get things cleaned up the right way.
Our Water Technicians and professional and highly trained to clean up water and extract water and repair all of the damage. They know exactly what to do to safely perform any and all cleanup and repairs in your business. They have advanced water removal tools and large commercial fans to dry everything out. They know exactly what can be saved and what is a total loss. A water damage company will know if your carpet can be dried out, and used safely, or if it would be in your best interest to get new carpet. They can also repair walls, baseboards, doors, flooring, and anything else damaged by water so that your business will look great and will be free from weak spots that could potentially cause problems if not restored properly.
Unfortunately, where you find water, you can usually find mold. Your restoration team can treat any and all mold growth safely to keep your employees and customers from getting sick. They can also keep mold from coming back by treating and killing all mold to make sure it is gone for good.
Contact our office if you need help cleaning up water damage. SERVPRO of East Brownsville & South Padre Island can handle the job.
Keep Your Business Safe and Clean With Expert Mold Damage Repair
A local Commercial Building Was Affected By Water Damage and Was Left Untreated Which Lead To Secondary Damages.
After a flood or other major water damage mold can become a very real problem. Its always safer to have mold removed from your business quickly, even if its not particularly dangerous. Not taking care of mold damage in a timely manner can cause safety and health issues for your customers and staff. One of the best ways to keep your business safe and clean is by trusting a professional to handle any mold damage repair you need. Mold is well known for potentially causing respiratory and other health issues, and this is especially true if you are exposed to it constantly in your business. Even if you can't see all of the mold, it is possible that it has spread into the structure of your home. When this is the case, and the damages are deeper than the surface level, mold can also lead to structural and safety issues .
Taking care of mold damage can be difficult, especially if you don't know what to expect or don't have experience getting rid of mold. It is often better to trust a professional with mold damage repair because they have the skills and knowledge needed to remedy the problem completely. This is critical if your mold problem has affected many aspects of your home. Trusting a professional with your mold damage repair will ensure the problem is completely and safely taken care of, and you will be much less likely to experience more mold in the future.
Services We Provide For Commercial Buildings
A Before and After Picture of A commercial business flooring that was in need of a deep cleaning.
What many of you didn't know is, SERVPRO of East Brownsville & South Padre Island offers many services for commercial buildings for very reasonable prices. If you feel that your Brownsville business is in need of some deep cleaning, Call the cleaning experts at SERVPRO of East Brownsville & South Padre Island. We have highly trained and certified technicians that have the knowledge and skills to get your commercial business looking squeaky clean as well as Our highly advanced equipment and cleaning products.! What SERVPRO provides is HVAC duct cleaning services, Carpet cleaning services, Tile cleaning services, Mold remediation services, Water mitigation and Extraction services for when disaster strikes, as well as deep cleaning you whole commercial business. If you feel that your whole business needs some cleaning or simply just your carpets and flooring cleaned and polished, Remember, Green means clean!
Commercial Cleaning Services: Questions To Ask Proffessionals
SERVPRO Of East Brownsville & South Padre Island commercial cleaning services.
Office appearance is always an important part of a company’s image, and so is asking questions. A clean and well-lit work space and reception area can make a lasting favorable impression on employees and customers alike. If you are considering hiring commercial cleaning services to improve the appearance of your office, here are five questions to ask potential providers.
1. Do You Get Ride Of Germs In Addition To Surface Cleaning?
Germs quickly pass from person to person and decrease productivity while increasing employee absenteeism. A commercial cleaning service should be professionally equipped to handle limiting the spread of germs, and keeping your office healthy as well as clean.
2. What Hours Do You Work?
Many cleaning services work off-peak hours to accommodate their clients needs and wants. Nighttime cleaning when the office is empty, it limits the disruptions caused by a cleaning service passing through a work area. However, if your company has odd hours, you might want to discuss this ahead of time with any potential commercial cleaning services and ask if its possible to tailor a work schedule to meet your company's schedule.
3. Do You Use Environmentally Friendly Products?
Consumer's have raised concerns about the excessive use of harsh chemicals used for cleaning. Advanced equipment and modern cleaning products have been designed to thoroughly clean an office using environmentally friendly cleaning techniques. If the use of Environment friendly cleaners is a priority for you, ask your potential commercial cleaning services about their products and their preferred methods to ensure they share your concern for the environment.
4. What Are Your Contract Terms?
As any business arrangement, They usually make you sign a contract or agreement of services if you require ongoing cleaning services. Review the contract for cancellation terms in the event that you are not fully satisfied. Also, be sure to ask for references and check online reviews prior to signing an agreement. At a minimum, the contract should include a description of services to be rendered, the agreed payment terms, and require the cleaning service provider to maintain proper insurance.
5. Do Your Employees Undergo Training?
The quality of employee training makes a difference in terms of quality of work and reliability. Ask commercial cleaners about their training regimens and what specialized cleaning equipment employees will use on the job. Before granting a cleaning service unsupervised access to your facility, you may also wish to inquire about the employment background check process and employee turnover.
Hiring a professional commercial cleaning company is one way to keep your business looking neat and polished. Whether you are looking for a one-time or seasonal cleaning, or if you need services on a recurring basis, SERVPRO Of East Brownsville & South Padre Island can make a significant difference in the overall appearance of your company facilities.
Choosing The Proper Drying Equipment for Commercial Restoration
Drying after water loss in commercial building.
Selecting the Proper Drying Equipment for Commercial Restoration
Imagine a disaster has just struck your business caused by a fire or flood from a terrible storm.After making sure everyone is safe, what are your concerns about your business? Can I stay open? Can I get supplies from my vendors? How long will it take to get the place back together? How are we going to pay for it all? at SERVPRO of East Brownsville & South Padre Island, Our job is to help answer these questions and provide the best overall solution. What we need to do is combine these concerns and needs with equipment available on the market to produce the best result. The fundamentals of drying dictate that adding energy (heat) to a material while passing the driest available air over its porous surface will invoke evaporation of unwanted moisture from the material and thus the building itself We have special fans for getting your business dried quickly and also a pump to get all that water out.Here at SERVPRO of East Brownsville & South Padre Island,We provide a variety of drying equipment specifically used when water damage has taken place in your business our equipment gets the job done right and in a matter of hours to get you back in business on time! So whenever your business needs to get dried, Consider SERVPRO We got you covered!
Commercial Carpet Cleaning-How to be successful at it.
Old-timers in the carpet cleaning industry remember when hot water extraction (HWE) of office buildings, retail stores and other commercial accounts was profitable, effective and the preferred cleaning method.
Then national maintenance management companies appeared on the scene.
Their business model was to bid low on national accounts, take a healthy cut right off the top and find a cleaner desperate enough to clean Commercial carpet cleaning with hot water extraction commercial carpet at little or no profit. Effective cleaning was no longer a priority. Low price was king.
High production rates and low equipment costs of encapsulation cleaning allowed local owner-operated companies to successfully compete on price, provide a clean appearance and still be profitable. Encapsulation cleaning, in several variations, became an increasingly popular method for commercial carpet cleaning.
How can hot water extraction cleaners provide a high level of service and profitably compete in this environment? That is the question I put to several leading cleaners around the country. Here are some of the key components for success that I was able to compile from my research.
Don’t despair. Although it seems they are everywhere, national management companies actually control only a fraction of the carpet that needs to be cleaned.
Develop a marketing plan. This can be based on geography by targeting an area where many prospects are clustered, or it can be based on targeting a specific type of business. Management of company “A” likely knows and interacts with management from companies “B,” “C” and “D.” If you impress company “A” with your service, the others will hear about your services.
Whatever your marketing plan might be, put it in writing and commit to following through. Visit quarterly each company that you target.
Newspapers like to cover positive news about local businesses. Provide well-written press releases to editors of the business sections. Other businessmen are likely to read that portion of the paper first.
In addition to having a website targeting residential clients, create a website that targets commercial prospects.
Help your prospect to select a service plan that meets their budget and their needs.
Give them options. Options could include how often various areas are cleaned, perhaps with a mix of HWE and encapsulation. You might offer training for the in-house staff to care for spot, spill and stain removal chores between professional cleanings. This has the added benefit of making the cleaning job easier if many of the spills were removed when they were fresh — long before your team arrives.
Include information about up sells. This is a great way to increase your profit from an account.
One easy add-on is office chairs. Include information in the bid that office chairs can be cleaned for $5 each when you are on-site for carpet cleaning. When carpet cleaning time approaches, remind them to leave out any chairs they want cleaned.
Cubicle dividers and protector for high traffic areas are other items that can be offered at a good profit margin, even when bidding for the carpet portion of the job is competitive.
If you also provide water damage restoration services, you may want to help your client develop a plan on what to do in case of a water emergency.
This information can be very valuable for a business to have, quickly, when the need arises. The plan should include how to contact your company at any time (day or night), any day and any holiday.
There can be a fee for this added service, as well as a retainer, to assure they have high priority for service. This may become extremely important in the event the business is the victim of a catastrophe. When that happens, demand makes it difficult to receive prompt service from restoration companies. You can be the solution.
Being efficient is obviously a significant aspect of being profitable. Here are some suggestions that have proved helpful for commercial carpet cleaners.
Inspect the layout of the building. Decide in advance where to park for the most efficient hose runs, where vehicles won’t need to be moved (or moved less often). Know the location of water hook-ups, where water can be dumped by your auto pump-out systems and the location of electrical outlets for vacuum cleaners. Have this information on the work order. Don’t waste time once the cleaning team is on location.
Use corner guards around cubicles. Solution hoses can be snagged easily.
Use of an electric-powered rotary wand will be less fatiguing and allow cleaners to work efficiently throughout longer jobs.
Drag wands with wide heads are additional options that allow thorough cleaning with reduced operator fatigue than experienced with a typical scrub wand.
When you encounter a spill or other stain that could possibly wick back, mark the location with a piece of masking tape. Come back at the end of the job to apply an anti-wicking encapsulation product.
Teamwork is important. Most commercial cleaning jobs involve more than one team member. The procedure should be clear so that each person will know which task to move to next as he completes each portion of the job.
Plan breaks so that the wand is always moving. A team member who is vacuuming or applying prespray should work for enough ahead so that he can stop for a break when needed. Then he will begin extracting while the other team member benefits from a break.
A janitorial cart can be an effective way to move cleaning products, hoses, buckets, heaters, tabs and even a vacuum cleaner from one location to another and from one floor to another quickly and conveniently.
The highest percentage of soil encountered will always be dry soils. Excessive amounts of dry soil will definitely slow the cleaning process.
Take the time to educate your new client on the value of dry soil management. This is especially important on commercial glue-down carpet.
Huge amounts of dry soil can hide in the dense pile. Not only will this soil slow the cleaning process, but it contributes to wicking, looks bad between cleaning and shortens the life of the carpet due to increased abrasion and wear.
Training your client on the use of sufficient entryway mats and the importance of rotating in clean entry mats on a regular schedule will benefit the customer and significantly reduce the amount of time you need to spend on vacuuming and cleaning. Mats should be placed at every entrance and should be long enough so that those entering the building must walk several steps across the mats, thereby removing as much tracked-in soil as possible.
Include instructions on proper vacuuming and how to be sure the vacuums used in the building are operating effectively.
Use of a quality counter-rotating brush machine as part of your dry soil removal process opens up the pile, allows more soil to be removed and speeds up your cleaning process. It also lifts the pile, and improves carpet appearance.
Luckily SERVPRO of East Brownsville & South Padre Island can clean your commercial carpet. We have highly trained technicians with Commercial and Residential carpet cleaning experience. No job is too large or small. Please call for a free quote.
5 Whys in School Remediation Projects
Have you ever been driven crazy by a young child who keeps asking “Why?” That kid may be onto something. Developed by Sakichi Toyoda and used by automotive companies and other industries to improve safety, quality, productivity and cost, “5 Whys” is a tool used to identify the root cause (origin) of a problem. Simply asking “Why?” at least five times can help you move past looking at symptoms of the problem and onto addressing the root cause of the issue. For example:
- Why is there mold in this classroom? Mold grew where condensation formed on the ceiling.
- Why did condensation form on the ceiling? When chilled air entered the room through a diffuser in the ceiling, it came in contact with warm, moist air and condensation formed around the diffuser.
- Why is there warm, moist air in the classroom? Humidity permeates the walls of the building during warm weather. Since air conditioning was installed, the windows aren’t opened much anymore and some of the window seals are no longer tight.
- Why isn’t the moisture being removed by the air conditioning? The HVAC system is set not to run between midnight and 6 a.m. on weekdays, and it does not run on weekends.
- Why doesn’t the HVAC run during the evenings and on weekends? To reduce consumption of electricity.
Once you know the root cause, you’re in a better position to address the real issue.
Renovated Schools, Real Issues
Renovation can be a cost-effective way to get few more decades of use out of an old building. Schools that are more than 50 years old were designed and built during a time when energy efficiency was less of a concern. Since buildings from that era “breathed” more and classroom windows were opened and closed during the school day, moisture build-up and mold growth was less of an issue.
When old schools are renovated, improving energy efficiency often involves the installation of vapor barriers and additional insulation, tightly sealed low-e windows, high efficiency HVAC and low energy consumption lighting. Properly engineered, installed and operated, these upgrades can improve both the learning environment and operating budget. Unfortunately, mold still occurs in renovated schools and the mold growth can often be traced back to one or more of these root causes:
*moisture that gets trapped between the outer layer of the building and the vapor barrier
*improperly set supply air that causes negative pressure and/or moisture issues
*HVAC that operated in a manner which allows moisture to build up during times when the building is not occupied.
Of these root causes, preventing moisture from permeating the building is likely to be beyond the scope of the immediate mold remediation project. Adjustments to the HVAC system will probably be done by the Maintenance department or the HVAC contractor. However, the principal or administrator of the school will probably appreciate knowing that running their HVAC at reduced levels during evenings and weekends will probably save them from having to call you back in for another mold job.
Minimizing Collateral Damage
Because “concerned parents” tend to bring a lot more attention to situations than teachers and administrators want, consider the following when conducting your site assessment and preparing your project plan:
Be prepared to complete your work in one evening or over the weekend. Concerned parents will be alarmed if they see people in PPE at school.
When setting up containment, hang an additional poly film visual barrier outside of your transition zone. This visual barrier will give your team a place to stage equipment and supplies in the clear zone and keep curious eyes off your gear.
Remind the newer members of your team that we don’t discuss the work that we do with people who are not on the team. It’s especially important to keep the details of school jobs confidential.
The younger children are, the more sensitive they tend to be to environmental contaminants and to the chemicals that are used to remediate. If the classroom or area is used by special needs students, recognize that this population has a higher rate of being immunocompromised and may have additional health considerations. Cleaners and disinfectants that meet US EPA Safer Choice or Design for the Environment (DfE) requirements meet federal standards for low environmental impact and greener chemistries.
Observe the level of cleanliness in the building before you start the project. Mold needs a food source and inadequate housekeeping tends to promote mold growth. Some schools are kept very clean and others are not. This may be an opportunity for improvement that needs to be discussed with the administrator as part of the project conclusion.
Why the 5 Whys?
Getting to the root cause of a problem will enable you to know what’s needed to correct the issue. Although there are other tools and methods available to help with root cause analysis, 5 Whys is probably the easiest one to use and can be learned quickly. Understanding the concerns related to school remediation jobs and factoring them into your project plan will enable you to effectively help a very important part of your community. So the next time your child or grandchild asks “Why?” give ‘em a hug!
If Mold is a concern in a school building, call on the experts at SERVPRO of East Brownsville & South Padre Island. We are a Certified Mold Remediation Company and have extensive experience in commercial and residential mold projects.
Commercial Restoration--Selecting the Proper Equipment
In the world of equipment many restorers still use the “WOT” method of equipment selection, as in “Whatever’s On the Truck.” SERVPRO of East Brownsville & South Padre Island has once or twice fallen into this practice in its initial stages. We quickly changed that way of thought and adopted a more functional method.
I want you now to consider the “WHAT” method, as in “Whatever the Project Requires.” Have you ever lost a bid when you were sure you charged less per day for air movers or labor than anyone else? You may have thought someone had the inside track and maybe so, but most likely you lost the bid on the total bottom line, not on just the bid price.
As we discussed, it is the occupant that pays rent to the owner, who then pays the bank and insurance. So if we keep the tenants happy, we have a better chance of keeping everyone pleased. A successful selection of equipment and deployment depends on the parameters of the job not what you have on hand.
So what are the parameters? How do I get to the total bottom line? Once again, Zig Zigler says it the best: “You can get what you want if you just help enough of the right people get what they want.”
We now know who the right people are; we just need to provide them with a finished project with as little cost and interruption to their services as possible. This is what they want.
Imagine a disaster has just struck your business: fire, flood, earthquake, tornado or maybe like me by a little hurricane called Katrina. After making sure everyone is safe, what are your concerns about your business? Can I stay open? Can I get supplies from my vendors? How long will it take to get the place back together? How are we going to pay for it all?
Our job is to help answer these questions and provide the best overall solution. This is Bottom Line Drying. What we need to do is combine these concerns and needs with equipment available on the market to produce the best result. The fundamentals of drying dictate that adding energy (heat) to a material while passing the driest available air over its porous surface will invoke evaporation of unwanted moisture from the material and thus the building itself. We call it HAT (Humidity, Airflow and Temperature).
Seriously, let’s look at the parameters individually and deploy equipment accordingly.
The first is, can the business stay open? This is determined by structural integrity: Is it safe for occupancy? Can the occupants vendors supply the occupant with the materials or services needed in order to conduct business on a day to day basis? Is there Business Interruption Insurance?
This is of primary concern, because the occupancy of the building is one of the most important factors when developing an allowable temperature range. If people are going to be in the building shopping, eating or working, then noise and temperature level – as well as equipment visibility – are important considerations. So large equipment located away from customers, with air movers on low, and comfortable temperatures are best. You may even need to constantly relocate air movers for aesthetic reasons.
Make sure everyone involved is on the same page
By the way, a hot-air drying unit works fine here if it is cool and dry outside, or you can use localized or “spot” heating for specific, tough-to-dry materials. If the business will be closed for a few days, we do not have creature comfort or visibility concerns, but we have to check on materials and products in the building before we allow for elevated temperature drying (generally above 80 F).
The building’s design is the second most important consideration. You must understand, this consists of the building’s construction materials and physical layout as well as the contents. Most building materials have no problems handling temperatures up to 120 degrees and most materials, especially the denser or less permeable, actually dry better in these higher temperatures.
Please be careful on total temperature (air or material), because sprinkler systems are part of many commercial buildings and their heads are designed to rupture on temperature, not from sensing flame, and some are rated as low as 130 degrees. (How good is your liability insurance? Want to find out?)
The contents are a mixed bag of every material you can imagine, and many are sensitive to temperature or even low humidity – operational computers or server rooms are obviously concerned with high temperature, but low humidity may induce static discharges into the system, doing serious damage.
You need to consult with the occupants and building engineer about temperature- or humidity-sensitive items, and get them to sign off on any elevated temperature drying so you will not be held responsible for something you did not know was there.
The layout generally determines air mover placement and quantity, but it also very important to the drying system selection: LGRs, desiccants or heat-based systems. Here, the general guidelines are simple: it is much cheaper to rent one big piece of equipment than many smaller pieces, thus decreasing the bottom line.
This is why many commercial projects that have large common areas or hallways use desiccants or larger trailer-mounted heating systems. But if the layout is one of multiple exterior entrances (1,000- to 3,000-square-foot individual units) like condos or hotel rooms, LGR’s are going to be the fit. Layout also includes site access and power availability, as they are also major determining factors, as well as what equipment happens to be available when you need it (as much as I hate to say it, sometimes “WOT” is all we have to work with).
Use the right equipment to suit the project’s needs
Then there is the Question of All Questions: “How long is it going to take?” “It will be dry when it’s dry” is true, but that’s not what I mean. Lately, a lot of focus has been on drying as fast as possible, and that is great in the residential or commercial market when the building is unoccupied, but when a commercial customer needs his facility to conduct business, being out of business even for two days can be unacceptable.
Businesses such as restaurants and hotel ballrooms have planned functions. Since Mrs. Jones will probably have only one 50th anniversary party, are you going to tell her she can’t have the party tonight? Many times you can dry the carpet/flooring in several hours, have it safe for the party and start the wall drying after hours, when the guests have left.
In this case, you are going to spend a few more days drying with increased equipment billing and labor hours, but there would be no business interruption payout, again making the bottom line lower. I call this “Ghost Drying” because you are constantly working on the wet structure, but anyone who uses the facility hardly even notices you are there. You have just made the insurance company, the building owner, the occupant, and Mrs. Jones very happy.
The last word in drying is communication: Be sure that when you are bidding on a project that the owner, tenants, insurance folks and all of your people are on the same page. Just because you know the benefits of how you custom tailored this drying project for them does not mean they understand it.
It is important to start every bid submission with a meeting of all concerned and continue with these meetings on a daily basis until the project is complete. This openness in working together as well as showing concern and understanding for all involved will make you a successful Bottom Line Dryer.
SERVPRO of East Brownsville & South Padre Island carries every type of equipment that might be needed on a Drying project. Commercial or Residential, you can rest assured we have the trained and qualified personnel to determine the equipment needs.
Commercial Sewage Losses--Getting Paid
While most insurance policies exclude coverage for cat 3 water, for decades they were paid out anyway by adjusters. Now, things are changing, and getting category 3 water jobs paid for is not so easy.
For unknown reasons, claims adjusters must have read the 12-year-old fungi and bacteria sublimits on property policies in 2016 and started pulling the trigger on denying claims under the sublimits of coverage.
The relatively sudden change in claims handling protocols on property insurance is evidenced in the 2016 loss experience of Environmental Impairment Liability insurance policies sold to commercial property owners. A mold claim never reaches an EIL policy if the property policy is paying for the loss.
Almost all mold-related EIL claims in 2016 came in from commercial buildings like hotels, condos, schools and shopping malls.
In 2016, there were more mold losses paid on Environmental Impairment Liability (EIL) type insurance policies than from all other sources of contamination losses paid for under that type of insurance. EIL policies were designed for use by industrial firms and waste disposal companies. Today, there are more mold claims under EIL policies than the claims arising from industrial spills, leaking landfills and pipelines.
Almost all mold-related EIL claims in 2016 came in from commercial buildings like hotels, condos, schools and shopping malls. These firms are not traditional buyers of EIL-type insurance policies and almost all of these buildings do not have this coverage in place today. Problem!
Here is why mold evolving as the #1 source of claims under EIL policies is such an important development to a restoration contractor wanting to get paid for commercial work:
Less than 1% of all commercial buildings are insured under a EIL type insurance policy today;
99% of building owners are needlessly uninsured for mold/bacteria related damages today;
Only claims that are not covered in the property and liability policies of the property owner make it to the EIL coverage for payment;
The amount of mold work country-wide in 2016 was stable to the levels of 2014 and 2015;
The number of EIL policies insuring commercial buildings only grew 8% over those three years;
Which means for EIL policies to get a surge in mold claims, claims adjusters must have started to deny more mold related losses under the standard property policies in 2016 and;
With only a 1% market penetration for the EIL insurance product line in commercial construction in 2016, there must be a lot of property losses where the property owners are not getting the claims settlements they were expecting from the property insurance company;
All this translates to more bad debts for restorers.
Getting paid for sewage loss
The solution to the mold/bacteria coverage gap is a specially designed EIL type insurance policy that insures losses form “pollutants” including all sorts of microbial matter.
Mold-related claims being denied coverage will financially challenge many property owners. A large uninsured property loss could leave a restorer in a lurch financially if the restoration work has been completed before the stakeholders in the building figure out that the insurance coverage is only going to pay a $10,000 sublimit of coverage for a loss that involves a speck of mold.
To make sure a property owner has the money to pay for water restoration work in a world of enlightened claims adjusters, it will become increasing important for commercial property to be insured under and specially modified Environmental Impairment Liability (EIL) insurance policy.
Today, less than one out of 100 commercial properties actually have this type of insurance in place. Which means today less than one out of 100 property owners will have the insurance needed to pay more than $10,000 for a loss involving a speck of mold or bacteria in any sequence to the loss event.
Of course, limiting the coverage for the entire loss to only $10,000 assumes the insurance claims adjuster is paying attention to the exact words in the exclusions for fungi or bacteria in almost all types of commercial insurance policies. On small losses the adjusters tend to ignore the sublimits or errantly apply them to only the part of the loss involving the direct remediation of mold or bacteria. The problem is the bigger the loss, the ones you would never want an uncollectable bill from, the more claims supervisors there are looking at it. The smart supervisors realize every time they pay a mold or category 3 water loss like the sublimits do not exist, they undermine the insurance company’s ability to use the flood exclusion which is built under the same insurance design. As a result, the larger the loss the less likely the property insurance company is going to pay for it.
The solution to the mold/bacteria coverage gap is a specially designed EIL type insurance policy that insures losses form “pollutants” including all sorts of microbial matter.
These new generation EIL-type policies will be marketed under various brand names, we have one that took eight years in research and development to create. We brand named our EIL policy for commercial property the ARMR-HPR insurance program. HPR stands of Highly Protected Risk. The HPR part of the insurance product is we will only insure a property at the very favorable rates if all of the insured locations covered under the policy have an Emergency Ready Plan in place with an approved restoration firm such as SERVPRO of East Brownsville & South Padre Island, and that each building has been walked through by the restoration firm.
With a ERP in place from SERVPRO of East Brownsville & South Padre Island we can insure commercial buildings for about half the cost of an EIL type policy sold without an ERP plan. Typically, the premium for the ARMR-HPR product is less than 15% of the current property insurance premiums, which puts the needed coverage to close the gaps in insurance coverage created by mold and bacteria exclusions and sub-limits on property and liability insurance policies within the reach of most property owners and management firms.
Connecting the dots on all of this it is looking like the mold claims in EIL type policies can only be explained by changes in claims payment practices under traditional property insurance policies. Since 2005, property insurance policies have had sub-limits for mold and sometimes bacteria related damages as little as $10,000. As many property insurance policies are written, the most a claims adjuster should pay for the entire job involving cleaning a speck of mold in any sequence to the project is the amount of the sub-limit. To have adequate coverage for mold/bacteria related work in commercial buildings, property owners and managers need to either dramatically increase the mold/bacteria sub limits from $10,000 to a far larger amount or procure a separate specially designed EIL type insurance policy.
Handling Category 3 Water Claims
The best way to get paid for mold and bacteria contamination work is to have an insured building. More than 99% of commercial building are under insured today for mold or bacteria related losses.
Restorers with EIL policies can help property owners procure this needed coverage for mold and bacteria related losses by providing Emergency Ready Plans to property owners and managers. By encouraging property owner and managers to get insured for what a water intrusion event involving mold or bacteria is likely to cost is the best way to assure you will be paid for the work you do on any loss involving a speck of any form of mold and sometimes bacteria. The best way to get paid for mold and bacteria contamination work is to have an insured building. More than 99% of commercial building are under insured today for mold or bacteria related losses.
Call the experts at SERVPRO of East Brownsville & South Padre Island to set up an appointment for your ERP. It’s a free service so don’t delay. We are always here to help.