Recent Commercial Posts
Commercial Fire Loss!! Are you prepared??
When a local business burns we all give pause. We all rise up to support in any way we can. Here at SERVPRO we inspire to be prepared. Ask us how.
When owning a business, it is not a question of if we will have a disaster but when. These issues can be something such as and IT services breech, to a cataclysmic event such as a total business loss of building, materials, merchandise, equipment. Among some of the most devastating occurrences to a business is a fire. These business interruptions can be devastating. Not having a plan can make it that much worse.
Fire damage is one of the most devastating forms of loss that can occur within a business. There is so much damage beyond the fire itself. There can be toxic smoke, soot and sediment that lands on everything along with water damage. Depending on where the fire occurs and the type of business you are running can all have an impact on how much damage occurs. As with the large casket fire in East Boston the other day it is an example to us all just how devastating a fire can be. A company that deals with wood, finishes, lacquer, fabrics will ignite and have a fire spread much faster than other companies none the less the damage can and will be extensive.
When there is a commercial loss there are many other lives affected beyond your own. The business owner has to worry about the employees, customers, facility, equipment and many other things. What really happens and what is the process to fixing it.
Well before the fire is put out the items that catch on fire will release chemicals into the air within the smoke rendering it very unsafe to breath in and very corrosive to anything it happens to settle on over time. When someone arrives to put out the fire you are now adding water damage to the soot, smoke and fire damage. Often the damage can create holes in the structure expose unaffected and affected areas to outside elements causing even further damage. Once the fire is out the physical assessment of the property, equipment and merchandise must begin. Another problem as in the recent casket company fire is the building is a total loss. Meaning months of sifting through for a true cause and waiting for judgments from the insurance companies. It also means either rebuilding the facility from scratch or finding a new facility all together. Which ever ends up happening things will take time to get back to normal.
There is a lot more that a commercial property owner or business owner must assess. One of which how will this impact their business, employees, and clients. These are not as tangible as the physical items are. The impact affects all three different ways. Most of which will be determined by the length of time it will take for the business to re-open.
Business interruption is a tough one to swallow. There must be safe guard measure taken to mitigate your damages until all the repairs can be completed. This can include temporary tarps one roofs, board ups on windows doors or even sides of buildings. Removing all the wet materials from the building to reduce the risk of mold and fungus growth. This can include but is not limited to clothing/fabric, insulation, paperwork, wood, drywall etc..
Employee interruption can prove difficult. They have bills to pay and often your insurance will not be covering their lost wages. Waiting around for things to get going again is not always feasible for them. For your business if you do not have business interruption insurance you many be covered for every day you are not open making money. Subsequently in the event that the building is deemed a total loss you can expect some employees to move on for other reasons. They may not be willing or able to get to a new location.
Clients that are displaced do not have the loyalty they once did. They will seek out alternatives even within just a few days. While this is ok for the short term as time moves on things change. Once a client is in the habit of a certain location, they do not adjust well to change but will adopt a new course of action should it solve the problem at hand, meaning getting your product from somewhere else. A location move can mean you need to start with a whole new pool of clients as many will only drive just so far for an item.
Just remember when there is a fire loss at a commercial property there a lot of moving pieces. You need to surround yourself with those with the know how to get you back up and running as soon as possible. Developing a core group of professionals adept at each aspect of your business is essential in getting you back up and running as soon as possible. Having no options in times of an emergency can become very costly. Developing vendor relations now while you have the time to negotiate pricing, establish a procedure, and build a rapport significantly reduces the cost on the back end when these services are needed in an emergency. At SERVPRO of Arlington Somerville and Charlestown we strive to aid, assist, and educate our clients in all aspects of emergency services. This will allow you to be better prepared when disaster strikes. We will work with you quickly to make it “Like it never even happened”
Large Commercial Loss.... What do you do first?
Having a plan before an emergency strikes allows you to be more likely bounce back. "Like it never even happened"
Did you know that SERVPRO team member and staff receive extensive training on commercial property losses? There are more moving pieces to a commercial property loss than a residential loss.
While the scope of the work is the same, remove the damaged materials, clean the affected areas, dry out the area. Many businesses have special requirements. Some need to stay open during the process. Others are dealing with food and or patient care. Certain businesses have sensitive documents that require specialty handling. Patient privacy and HIPPA regulations many times dictate who can handle their documents.
Immediate responses are essential to getting things back on track. Coordination with priority responders for gaining access to the facility. Scoping out the loss along with developing a plan. Communicating with IT services, plumbing, electrical and cubical management companies is pivotal. Ensuring that each moving piece of the business is coordinated.
Larger commercial projects require more resources, staffing, equipment and time. Major damage can result in significant business interruption. Everything from the entrance that employees use, where they park along with where they will be working. Has their equipment been damaged, document access been restricted or destroyed?
Strategic containment barriers should be set up in multi-use buildings that allow the work to be done with out risk of cross contamination. Many times, multiple floors will have been affected in these large buildings. Working with property managers allow us to get into all floors quickly to ensure building safety through building stabilization, wall ceiling and floor demolition. Along with clear moisture mapping to ensure structural drying, all mechanicals and air systems can be cleaned as well.
Many businesses that maintain large file systems, such as lawyers, doctors’ offices, veterinarians, hospitals, tax accountants need special care with their documents. If they have not transitioned over to a scanning system, the documents will need to be salvaged. There are special freeze-drying chambers to accommodate such a process. Some of these some businesses handle special documents covered by HIPPA regulations or client/ patient confidentiality. Do those coming in to handle these personal documents have the proper certifications or security clearance to handle them?
Coordination is key when dealing with a large loss. Making sure all the appropriate connections ahead of time is essential to creating a seamless remediation process. Developing relationships with a variety of vendors before problems arise ensures that immediate response times are kept to a minimum. Just some of the vendors we build relationships with are temporary Labor, scaffolding, high lift equipment, document drying, ice house, moving companies, portable power, dumpster/waste companies, desiccant/ climate control, portable toilet services, dry cleaning, construction, emergency/ temp fencing, board up & roofing, IT services, fine art restoration, as well as temporary warehouse space.
The best way a business can recover from any disaster is to be prepared. Does someone in your company know where all the shut of valves are for your floor or the entire building? Where are essential electrical shut off locations? Where is the HVAC unit kept? What is the emergency evacuation plan for the building and where is your companies meeting place? Aside from emergency personnel who is the first person you should be contacting?
If even one of these questions cannot be answered you need to create an Emergency Ready Profile. Preparing you, your building, staff and tenants.
Why having an actual office can grow your ROI
Why having an actual office can grow your ROI...
Do you offer products and services to a client? Have you given up paying for physical space and set up shop in your garage with a desk in the living room? You may want to think again
While cost savings and a reduced back end operating cost is always important it may not be the best way to maximize your profit margins and control cost. There is a new emergence and longing for a connection from consumers. They are seeking out the differentiator. While still price driven they strive for the best for their money and many times the personal touch and extraordinary service that online outlets lack is just what they are looking for. Many are willing to pay a little extra to get so much more. There is an element of connection that is lost with only an online venue for goods and even services.
There is a shift with many consumers looking to enhance their experience with personal connections. The ability to stop into the local shop and talk to “Jerry”; have all your questions answered, items received, and problems solved immediately. Without a call tree, 40 lines of script back and forth with what seems like a computer or even a sent email into the abyss hoping for a reply up to a week later.
Having a fixed location can set you apart from your competition. So you are service driven company, how could spending money on an office possibly help you? Let us take a look at that. Which one of your key competitors has an office? How knowledgeable are you about your industry? What information would you like clients to know about that won’t fit on flier? Bet your wondering why we just asked you all these things.
If you have something your competitors do not you are already better off. An office can be a way to differentiate yourself. Clients can come into your office sit with you; understand what you are doing and how you can help them. Providing them an option other than their home gives you more control over the situation and could lead to better job conversion.
Your knowledge of your industry can prove pivotal if you have an office. You can hold seminars or lunch and learns for potential clients. This will show you are an industry leader and provide a smaller more intimate one on one learning environment to interact with potential clients. It also allows you to separate the more challenging things you come across. Common and frequently asked questions can be explained one time to a larger group reducing lost production time.
Developing a sense of who you are can earn you bonus points and getting to know the community beyond those you currently know is essential for growing your business. Most industries cannot rely on repeat and referral only. There was a time you actually went out and got new clients, you would not have a business if you had not. Why did you stop, get it going. Every year through attrition you lose up to a third of your business. What are doing to replace it?
The office can be the perfect way to engage, educate and encourage new clients to choose you over a competitor. One to one meetings you have control over, educational seminars to prove you’re a leader in your industry, Q&A sessions for potential new clients to get to know you and the services you offer. Win win all round..
So work on finding that office and get out of the truck, garage, or house and stop letting your business run you.
Game changer if you have a fire at your business
Fires at your business are devastating. Knowing what to do and who to call is a game changer..
Fires at a business can be debilitating. There are many facets of business interruption that occur. Having to close your doors to clients, employees and revenue are the most disastrous. Many times businesses without a solid plan do not reopen. We are here to show you some ways to prevent that from happening. Timely responses are going to be your best friend when disaster strikes. Proper communication will provide you with a true scope of the damage as well as an explanation of how it will be handled.
First and foremost you must have a plan of action you will take prior to any major disaster. Whom it is you will be calling to get you back to normal. What company do you have to do the remediation process?? What you do not know, So you will be calling your agent they will know who you can call Right??? They are closed or on vacation. So you are going to call in a claim to the insurance company??? Where is your paperwork, in the desk where the fire just occurred? Probably as you have never had to use it before. So now without a plan you have just spent the better part of an hour trying to find someone to call.
Over an hour has passed and you are stuck in an endless call tree waiting for your insurance company claim department. Did you know most remediation companies can show up within 4 hours of the initial call. Many times it is much earlier than that. Starting the process of cleaning up your damage sooner rather than later will reduce the secondary damage that many insurance companies will not cover. . With solid knowledge of the claim process and the need for their services most insurance companies do not need prior approval or a claim number before services are started. Calling a restoration company and having one already in mind can save you valuable time.
There are restoration companies out there that provide emergency preparedness plans that are accessible from an app on your phone. All important contacts right at your finger tips. Filing a claim directly from the app allows you to put into motion the clean up process to ensure there is no lapse in executing a plan. These plans can also show emergency responders where your major shut off valves are so they are able to keep themselves safe as well as stop any additional damage from occurring.
Although a fire may be contained on one floor, the damage caused by the fire may affect other floors within the building. As a business owner your focus is on handling the job promptly and properly to minimize disruptions to your customers, employees and vendors. Prompt action by a professional helps reduce secondary or long term effects allowing you to return to business as usual. How you can prevent additional damage until a professional arrives is.
1) Limit movement within the affected area
2) Place towels, sheets or old linens on areas where traffic will occur to prevent additional contamination or tracking soil into unaffected areas.
3) DO NOT ..>DO NOT attempt to wipe off or remove any soot that sits on any walls furniture or stationary object. This can push the soot and odor deeper into the material making it more difficult or impossible to remove later.
4) DO NOT attempt to clean any carpets or upholstered furniture without speaking to a professional.
4) Turn off and or unplug all technology in affected areas and do not turn on until you consult a repair service
5) DO wipe chrome faucets, appliances or other non porous surfaces ( NO Stone counter tops do not count) The apply a light coating of lubricant.
A professionally trained individual is the best way to ensure that you have the most effective cleanup possible following a fire. Attempts to clean up the damage can result in improper drying resulting in mold. Smudging in the soot deeper into the materials can result in inability to remove the damage and lock in the odors.
Not every fire damage is the same but there are some basics of treating fire damage that remain constant.
What to expect:
Smoke and soot removal
Water Removal and dehumidification
Many times restoration companies will contact you back to arrange services within 1 hour. Their arrival is usually no later than 4 hours after that initial phone call< many times earlier. They will communicate the scope of work and how things need to be handled within 8 hours. This ensures a solid foundation for getting you back up and running as soon as possible. They are available 24 hours a day 7 days a week including holidays so that you can start getting back to normal right away.
Commercial Buildings Yeah we do that.....
There area a lot of commercial properties in and around the Boston area. Is yours protected?
Did you know SERVPRO of East Boston provides services for your commercial properties?
Serving the local community when disaster strikes is always important. So is maintaining the cleanliness of your property as well as restoring it when an unforeseen issue occurs. Our services are not limited to residential
Many times business owners and property owners will call us to assist in a thorough cleaning quarterly. This helps maintain high standards while taking the pressure and time off of your staff to focus on the money making aspects of the business. Restaurants in particular reach out to us due to the strict standards set forth by the board of health. When the grease has begun to build up, or the walk-in had just too many articles of food under the floor grate they will call for a once over.
Ok so what is a once over? It is a team of people that clean every nook and cranny, wiping it all down. It can mean trash removal, disinfecting, duct cleaning, brick cleaning, and even air quality checks. The list is exhaustive as we will customize every aspect of your needs to ensure your project is done.
When you do have an emergency is it important that you get back to normal as soon as possible with as little interruption to your clients and their access to your goods and services. There are so many reasons business interruption can occur but the most common for businesses are cooking, electrical, heating, arson, smoking and combustible materials. I see you already shaking your head, we only have a microwave and a coffee maker here. All of our employees go outside to smoke and our wiring is up to code. We do not have any combustible materials in our office and who would set fire to the building.
Guess what each and every one of the things listed above are plausible. While some may be more inclined to happen than others they are the top reasons for damage. We are able to help with each and every one in addition to a few extras. Think your building is too large or small for our services? Think again we have access to a full arsenal of resources to scale up or down based on the projects needs.
Emergency Ready Plans:
What do you do in an emergency? Who do you call? Great you know the plan, does everyone else? What happens when and if you something happens and you are not around? We have a solution for that. It puts vital information at your fingertips immediately. These plans outline where key shut off valves are within the building to mitigate damages. It will also supply everyone with immediate points of contact for starting the process of cleaning up as soon as possible so that loss of business can be reduced as much as possible. Ask us today about these FREE PLANS.. Yes you read that right. FREE>>
Water and Fire damage cleanup:
While this sounds straightforward enough there are a whole set of rules that come with the proper cleaning up of this sort of damage. Water damage rule number 1 just because you cannot see it does not mean it is not there. Unless you have moisture meters and know what the resting state of the building is vs the area where the water damage occurred you cannot tell if it is dry or not.
Oh and that soot you see all over the wall LEAVE IT ALONE… chances are you will clean it wrong and will not only make is worse but push it into the very fibers of whatever material it is on and make it impossible to get out. I bet you did not know that there are 3 different kind of smoke damage? Wet smoke, dry smoke, & protein fire residue, each one requires different treatments and some are invisible to the eye. Due to each cause of damage being different and having different chemical reactions that cause the residue it is important to understand analyzing the situation and selecting the right solution will be the only want to ensure that your problem is solved correctly the first time.
Mold & Air Quality:
Have you ever cleaned up a water loss with your own in house team? Did a pipe break get cleaned up professionally but everyone forgot about the duct work? Do you have a lot of employees calling out and taking sick days? This all costs time and money which is valuable. Have you ever looked internally to see if the culprit could be the building itself? Many times these overlooked areas of money saving attempts can be the cause of such issues. Providing proper air quality that is free of mold and contagions will keep your staff as healthy as you can control and in turn reduce time away from the office.
There are a lot of commercial properties in and around town. Is yours protected? If you are not sure we can assist you with your building give us a call and just ask chances are if we cannot assist we will surly know who can. SERVPRO of East Boston is here because life interrupted is no fun. 617-567-3777 serving the East Boston, Chelsea, Revere, Winthrop, & Charlestown areas .
Flies in School ... A lesson to be learned
Local high school had a sewer line break went unnoticed until the school was infested with flies. The importance of assigned duties, & proper training
Did you know that SERVPRO helps schools stay up to code with clean healthy environments for your children. We will even respond to emergency clean up situations. Having seen in recent news the fly infestation that occurred at a local Chelsea School we were compelled to spread the word.
We can give schools a once over deep cleaning after summer breaks or vacation weeks to make sure that students come back to a fresh clean environment ideal for learning. If your school has recently updated its equipment or has a lot of broken desks and older books to get rid of let us know we can haul it away to free up more space for learning. Did one of the kids in protest vandalize the school in some way in protest of an event that occurred at the school let us know and we will respond to quickly get you cleaned up and back to normal learning . Prolonged distractions can be detrimental to the education process and even emotionally upset students if it was derogatory.
Smell something funny, see something on a wall that does not look just right, or some new visitors that you know should not be there. Well we are here to tell you if you can see it, smell it or even hear it the problems is far worse than what is within the range of our senses. It is very critical that you call in professionals to detect not only the immediate problem but also have the knowledge to detect the root reason that the problem exists in the first place.
Let me explain, with the case of the Chelsea school the problem was a fly infestation. They did not just appear for no reason. They had to have a ripe environment with an adequate food and water source, and an over abundance of sewer water was just the thing. The flies were not really the problem a broken sewer pipe was. Having gone undetected for an undetermined amount of time allowed for the flies to blossom and become the major issue that it was forcing a school closure.
We see this all too often within businesses and a lot of damage can occur from not having an assigned person trained to look for the subtle signs that prevent a much larger issue. Dedicating one person to do a once over the entire building daily and making notations of any odors, visual changes, as well as any animal or insect changes is pivotal to building health.
Along with several incidents of that same person not having the authority or not knowing what to do if there are changes to the environment. Emergency Ready Plans for businesses guide the individuals on the front lines through policy, procedures and protocols to make sure that issues are addressed quickly and correctly. They can be customized to the needs of your facility and can include evacuation routes and meeting points. Main points of contact in case of an emergency and closest emergency service locations can also be included. As a preparedness plan I ask you, if you asked your primary team where the water and electrical shut valves were for the building will they be able to tell you? Most will not our preparedness plan will put all that information at your fingertips from where ever you are.
It is a mobile app that will keep each locations information separated as well right at your fingertips. The best part is it can be shared with whomever you would like to share it with so long as they download the app to their phone. A version that can be edited is available to the key players while a non-editable version can be sent out to local managers.
No one plans for an emergency but having a plan in place and having people that know what to do should an emergency arise can be the difference between a slight issue and a major emergency. Working with a company whose network spans the country ensures 24 hours 7 days a week availability and response time mitigates the damages and provides solid clear cut direction for your staff.
Our staff is trained to clean and sanitize building materials, surfaces and contents following the restoration industry standards along with using FDA registered cleaners and disinfectants. Bleach does not get it done on pesky situations. Call the professionals at SERVPRO of East Boston to ensure your next problem does not become a major problem.