Recent Commercial Posts
What Does it Mean to be Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned?
Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned
Butter blocks cholesterol. Pet food extends dogs’ lifespan. Vitamins prevent the flu. Shoes help you lose weight. Just because a company claims something in its marketing, it doesn’t make it true. This also applies to companies offering cleaning services to mitigate COVID-19 without the expertise to back it up.
“There are a lot more people doing ‘COVID cleaning’ now who have no experience with infectious disease control and are not qualified to be doing this service,” said Jason Sadler, mitigation estimating manager for SERVPRO of Northwest Charlotte. “They're just doing it because there’s not much work for them right now and they need to make money somehow.”
Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned
While Charlotte and surrounding communities start to get back to business, many people are still hesitant about gathering in brick-and-mortar locations such as restaurants, businesses and public spaces.
Since the pandemic hit, there’s a new sense of what it means to be ‘clean.’ It’s not just standard janitorial, carpet or surface cleaning, it’s about proactive and defensive viral pathogen cleaning for commercial locations.
“SERVPRO has 50-plus years of experience in biohazard decontamination and biochemical spill remediation,” Sadler said, “So when we say we offer a professional COVID cleaning service, our team has the training and experience to ensure a higher standard of clean.”
Advanced viral pathogen cleaning program
Because each business and brick-and-mortar facility is unique, the SERVPRO team consults with customers to tailor a commercial cleaning program around their needs. For example, the COVID cleaning needed at a burger restaurant may differ from an insurance office.
Once a plan is established, SERVPRO’s deep clean experts - armed with air scrubbers, thermal foggers and proprietary EPA-approved hospital-grade solutions - go in and clean and decontaminate following standards set by local authorities and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
COVID cleaning across the country
SERVPRO of Northwest Charlotte is part of a national network of 1,700-plus franchises. While we’re locally owned and operated and part of the Mecklenburg, Lincoln and Gaston communities, our company also has national accounts spanning the country. Some of our large commercial clients have hundreds if not thousands of buildings in dozens of states.
“These clients have vetted us to perform the same consistent services we’re performing locally for their other locations all over the country because they know they can make a phone call to one person who's going to pick up every time and take care of them,” Sadler said.
“When you see the Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned shield posted on a window or the home page of a business website, you can walk in knowing that business has committed to a higher and safer standard of clean and the facility was cleaned properly by a professional COVID cleaning company.”
24-hour emergency services
SERVPRO of Northwest Charlotte’s commercial restoration and cleaning technicians are employees, not contractors, which means our team can respond faster to emergencies with the most advanced cleaning equipment and products. To learn more about COVID commercial cleaning assistance or request a free quote, contact us anytime at (704) 393-7890 or request help online.
Smoke: The Most Onerous of Odors
Removing Odor from Property
In the battle against stenches, there’s one that defies even the most skilled odor removal and deodorization experts: Nicotine.
“The key to eliminating odors is to remove the source. But nicotine is made up of very, very small micron-level particulates that can embed themselves into damn near anything,” said Jason Sadler, mitigation estimating manager for SERVPRO of Northwest Charlotte. “So if nicotine is the source and it’s in and on every crack, crevice and surface, it becomes quite the task to try and remove it.”
Masking and other shortcuts are powerless against cigarettes and cigars, Sadler said, and even extensive cleaning doesn’t offer assurance.
The stinky reality
“Let’s say you buy a property where it has been smoked in for years. You’d probably have to remove or replace everything that’s either pushing or pulling air or made of porous materials,” he said. “Things like HVAC systems, exhaust vents in bathrooms and carpet and padding just hold onto that odor and can’t be salvaged.”
Sadler added, “If you wet wash walls with certain types of cleaning products, you might be able to eliminate a good bit of the odor, but it’s tough to guarantee removal of that nasty yellowing and nicotine or smoking-type odor.”
If you plan to head to a grocery store or big-box retailer this weekend to rent a carpet cleaning machine or take advantage of one of those $99 specials for commercial carpet cleaning, Sadler offers a word of caution.
“It’s not realistic to think you can bring a machine home and use it to get rid of the cigarette or cigar smells in your carpet. And as far as those commercial carpet cleaning deals go, those are for general cleaning, not nicotine removal,” Sadler said. “Bottom line. Even if it looks cleaner, that doesn’t mean it is cleaner.”
Odor removal and deodorization
The science of identifying and eliminating odors in your property can be complicated because they can come from a variety of sources both inside and outside your building, office or other structure. SERVPRO of Northwest Charlotte has local experts trained to identify and eliminate offensive odors using air scrubbers, thermal foggers and deodorization agents. For questions, contact us anytime at (704) 393-7890 or request help online.
Getting to Know John “JT” Tolin, Mitigation Operations Manager
John “JT” Tolin, Mitigation Operations Manager
In our new “Getting to Know ..” blog series, we’ll meet some of the energetic and knowledgeable employees behind SERVPRO of Northwest Charlotte - the ones who help make any size disaster “Like it never even happened.” For Mitigation Operations Manager John “JT” Tolin, working at SERVPRO is a family affair. He oversees project managers, file coordinators and six full-time mitigation crews, including his son, Jakob, a crew chief. JT recently celebrated his fifth anniversary with the company and talked to us about his path to SERVPRO of Northwest Charlotte and some notable commercial cleaning and restoration projects.
Q: How did you get into the field of catastrophic loss restoration?
A: I had been out of the Marine Corps for a few years and was in between jobs. I saw an ad for a service master looking for a crew chief for a cleaning crew. I thought, “If there's one thing Marines know how to do, it's clean!” I answered the ad, and it just snowballed from there. I’m now coming up on 30 years in this business.
Q: You’ve managed projects all over the country - from 9/11 to natural disasters to oil spills. Which one had the most significant personal impact?
A: The previous company I was with managed five separate properties and handled five different losses in New York during 9/11. That one hit home for me because I grew up in New Jersey and traveled in the area. I’d look across the river and see the towers all the time. The scope of the devastation and everything else made that a very emotional job to do.
From a logistics standpoint, Hurricanes Katrina and Rita were the most challenging projects I've worked on - trying to feed, get supplies to, and find housing for 100 people. When we first started working in that area, we had a 2-hour commute each way to-and-from the job sites. We’d work a 10-hour day and then have to drive back to wherever our lodging was.
Q: When and how did you join the SERVPRO of Northwest Charlotte team?
A: Just over five years, ago I was with another restoration company, working on the road and traveling extensively. A friend of mine knew (SERVPRO owners) Danny and Penny called me and said, “I know someone who’s looking to fill an operation manager’s position. Are you interested?” I said, “Sure, let’s talk.” It was that easy.
Q: Tell us about your role as mitigation operations manager.
A: Our project managers are on the job with the crews every day, while also reaching out to adjusters and serving as a go-between with customers. I communicate with the managers and crews every day about the status of every job. I read all the notes in our system to make sure we’re communicating with the customer and documenting everything properly. Near the end of a project, I connect with the customer and ask, “Did everything go OK? Do you have any questions? Are there any issues I can help you with?" Hopefully, the project has gone smoothly, but I'm here to help resolve it if there's a problem.
Q: At times, you’re juggling 20 different projects at once. How do you keep track of everything?
A: SERVPRO has a proprietary work center software system called DryBook, which was developed in conjunction with insurance companies. It allows us to capture and monitor all the steps of a restoration project according to industry best practices and standards. Everything is documented and most rates are pre-negotiated with the insurance companies - what materials need drying or removal, what equipment is placed at a job, and the dry standard for specific materials. It also generates reports and billing details for customers, which makes it easier for them and us.
Q: When it comes to catastrophic loss restoration, why do certification and continuing education matter?
A: It helps to make sure we're meeting all of the insurance company and industry standards, which are continually changing, along with EPA guidelines and OSHA standards. We know what the dry standard is, we know what is clean is, we know the correct way to remove mold. And we also have the latest technology, treatments and equipment for moisture detection and measurement, water extraction, drying, sanitizing and odor removal.
Q: What else do you think gives SERVPRO of Northwest Charlotte a competitive edge?
A: Excellent leadership from Danny and Penny and well-trained employees with positive attitudes. We’re to have a team of quality people who treat our customers with empathy and respect, focusing on excellent service, mutual respect and fairness. Most of our technicians and crew chiefs have been here two-plus years, so we’re not continually training new people and don't have a lot of turnovers. We also try and keep the same crew on the job from start to finish. That helps with consistency and communication and gives the customer a comfort level. Most of our new people are here because we’re continuously growing as a company.
We’ve also developed valuable relationships with insurance adjusters and commercial property management groups in the area. They’ll call us and say, “I've got a problem customer. Can you go fix it?" Or, "I've got a big fire, and I need it taken care of properly." They know we're going to do the job properly and take care of the customer, which makes them look good.
Q: What’s the most frustrating aspect of your job?
A: Managing people's expectations can be the most challenging part at times. It's sometimes difficult to get people to understand we’re not an emergency service, like a fire department, where we are waiting for calls. Some customers expect us to be at their home or business in 15 minutes but we may be in the middle of working on another job. We need to close out what we’re doing and unload and reload the truck with everything we need before we can get to them. While they wait, we encourage customers to review our emergency tips on fire damage, water damage, biohazard and sewage damage and mold damage
Q: Share a story about a local project that required complicated coordination and logistics.
A: A couple of years ago, there was an accidental fire in the Johnson & Wales University gym. It was an interesting job because there were 30-foot ceilings and we needed lifts to clean them. We were working with all our contractors who were doing demolition in the gymnasium while others were cleaning. But we had to keep everything separate, so there wasn’t any cross-contamination. It took about three weeks to get them cleaned up to reopen their facility and let students back in.
Q: What do you enjoy most about your job?
A: I like the chaos of my job. I like it when we're busy and I have to coordinate the guys and move the chess pieces around the board. I like the challenge of having six teams and 20 jobs to do - making sure they all get taken care of, and they all get done well.
Q: Finish this sentence: “If I didn’t work at SERVPRO of Northwest Charlotte, I’d love to spend my days … ”
A: Riding my motorcycle with my wife and brewing beer.
SERVPRO Commercial Services: The MVP for Property Manager Emergencies
SERVPRO Commercial Services: The MVP for Property Manager Emergencies
As the go-between for property owners and tenants, property managers have to juggle many responsibilities -- finding new tenants, fielding questions and complaints, performing inspections, overseeing landscaping and maintenance repairs, securing the property, and ensuring the building’s appearance remains tiptop.
Fortunately, when it comes to handling fire, water and contamination cleanup emergencies, property managers have a secret weapon that’s just a phone call away: SERVPRO’s Disaster Recovery Team.
We get it. There’s never a convenient time to clean up from fire damage, water damage or a biohazard contaminant. Every minute spent cleaning and restoring a business or property results in lost time, revenue and productivity.
When a disaster or emergency strike, our commercial services team is ready to respond -- 24 hours a day and seven days a week -- regardless of a commercial property’s size or scope of the damage.
From retail to residential and manufacturing to motels, SERVPRO’s commercial services team helps make it “Like it never even happened,” so property managers can focus on their other roles.
- If a husband and wife test positive for COVID-19 just two days after vacating their high-rise apartment, we’ll get it Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned in no time so it’s ready for the next tenant.
- If a massive storm floods a mom-and-pop ice cream shop, we’ll respond immediately to tackle initial storm cleanup and damage mitigation and rebuild the affected areas.
- If there’s a funky smell coming from somewhere in a 10,000-square-foot manufacturing plant, we’ll locate the source of the offensive odor and eliminate it.
- If a fire sprinkler system fails during the grand opening weekend of a retail boutique, we’ll clean the property and manage the restoration process - from start to finish.
- If an electrical fire breaks out in the middle of the night at a restaurant dining room, we’ll restore it to pre-fire condition -- from fire and smoke damage to odor control and upholstery and fabric cleaning.
- If an older apartment building has mold infestation from a slow roof leak, we’ll prevent it from spreading to other parts of the building and remove it through our commercial mold remediation process.
24/7 restoration and cleaning services for commercial buildings
Although SERVPRO of Northwest Charlotte is part of a national network of 1,700-plus franchises, we’re locally owned and operated and part of the Mecklenburg, Lincoln, and Gaston communities. Our commercial services team members are employees, not contractors. That means when property managers call us about an emergency water leak or hazardous cleanup, we can respond quickly.
For questions, contact us anytime at (704) 393-7890 or request help online.
Plan for the Unthinkable
When running a business and owning a commercial property, there are a lot of details that go in to securing the facility. Setting up insurance, hiring the correct employees or companies to perform maintenance and ensuring the building is in tip top shape.
It is also important to know where all of the emergency shut offs are. SERVPRO of Northwest Charlotte is here to provide a FREE service to help you feel more comfortable. Water losses and fire losses in the commercial industry can be devastating. Our main concern is helping you be able to return to performing your work in a safe environment. We have a program known as the Emergency Response Plan. We will come out to your sight, locate all of the electrical breakers, the water shut offs and so on. This document can be printed and given to who is in charge of facilities on site, or can be accessed through our FREE application that can be downloaded on a phone or tablet device.
The document will explain in detail, as well as showing photos, of the locations of all the important "to knows". We also include all of the emergency departments that everyone may not be aware of. We include the information of the nearest hospital, the local fire department, the local police department, the water company and the electric company, etc. This program is to help you prepare and stop disasters. Are you prepared?
Reactive Disinfecting - "Like it never even happened."
When someone known to have COVID-19 is exposed to a workplace or facility, the response must be thorough and swift, while keeping employees and customers safe and minimizing disruption to business operations.
A confirmed coronavirus case requires corporate and commercial business owners and property managers to immediately respond to avoid further exposure. In these emergency situations, SERVPRO of Northwest Charlotte recommends enhanced or reactive cleaning as the most effective way of deep cleaning and disinfecting commercial spaces "Like it never even happened.”
How does reactive cleaning work?
To institute and maintain a healthy and safe work environment, we customize services based on the specific needs of a facility. Our primary and most effective cleaning technique involves hand wiping surfaces and fogging. This process uses an ultra-low volume or electrostatic sprayer to apply disinfectant to surfaces. We also may use a cleaning protocol developed by a third-party industrial hygienist.
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) also recommends opening windows and doors to increase air circulation and closing off all areas used by the infected person. Wait 24 hours (or as long as possible), then clean and disinfect offices, bathrooms, common areas, shared electronic equipment and any other areas the infected person may have used.
There’s no need for additional disinfecting once it’s been more than seven days since the sick person used or visited the facility; however, business owners should continue routine proactive cleaning and disinfecting.
Commercial cleaning expertise using specialized products
While there’s currently no product tested against the COVID-19 strain of the coronavirus, SERVPRO of Northwest Charlotte follows all guidelines provided by the CDC and local authorities. That includes using a labeled hospital-grade disinfectant and other EPA-approved products.
Additionally, we’re a Clean Trust Certified Firm through the Institute of Inspection, Cleaning and Restoration Certification (IICRC), the certifying body for the cleaning and restoration industry. Many employees on our 30-person team hold certifications in applied microbial remediation and structural drying, rug and carpet cleaning, odor control, water damage restoration, upholstery and fabric cleaning, fire and smoke damage restoration, and lead-based paint activities and renovation.
24/7 reactive cleaning assistance
Although SERVPRO of Northwest Charlotte is part of a national network of 1,700-plus franchises, we’re locally owned and operated and part of the Mecklenburg, Lincoln and Gaston communities.
Our deep cleaning experts are employees, not contractors. That means our team can respond faster to reactive cleaning emergencies with more resources and the most effective equipment. For questions, contact us anytime at (704) 393-7890 or request help online.
Staying Ahead with Disinfecting Cleans: The importance of proactive cleaning through COVID-19
Proactive cleaning through COVID-19
Being a proactive corporate and commercial business owner or property manager means taking control of a situation by causing things to happen instead of waiting to respond after things happen. This ‘staying ahead’ approach is especially critical for Charlotte-area businesses during the current coronavirus pandemic.
For example, your office may not have been exposed to COVID-19, but you still want your employees and customers to feel secure. One way to maintain a healthy and safe work environment is through proactive cleaning.
While it doesn’t prevent or protect buildings from future contamination, proactive cleaning provides peace of mind. It ensures environments are thoroughly and professionally cleaned, according to Centers for Disease Control (CDC) specifications.
How does proactive cleaning work?
Deep cleaning and disinfecting has moved up on the list of priorities for businesses and institutions, but how does proactive cleaning work? SERVPRO of Northwest Charlotte has developed a proactive cleaning and disinfection protocol based CDC specifications.
Through years of experience in dealing with biological contaminants, we’ve identified three categories of contamination:
- Proactive cleaning when there aren’t any confirmed coronavirus cases or known coronavirus exposure.
- Cleaning for possible coronavirus exposure.
- Reactive cleaning when there’s a confirmed coronavirus case.
Proactive commercial cleaning goes beyond the scope of work that a regular janitorial team performs daily. It involves a facility or structure deep cleaning and disinfection -- from kitchen vents to carpets to manufacturing equipment.
Steps may include cleaning porous and nonporous surfaces, disinfecting nonporous surfaces, cleaning and disinfecting equipment, tools and supplies, and disposing of waste.
Planning for deep cleaning
Before conducting commercial cleaning, we ask customers for floor plans of their building or facility ahead of time. If floor plans aren’t available, our production manager will visit the location before the start of the project to determine how many people we’ll need, the best way for our team to move through the building, where we’ll start and end and if we’ll split up our team, so one group cleans the office while others take care of the warehouse.
Having a proactive cleaning strategy in place before the work begins allows our deep cleaning experts to tackle the project efficiently and thoroughly.
24/7 commercial cleaning assistance
SERVPRO of Northwest Charlotte is locally owned and operated as part of a national network of 1,700-plus franchises. Our deep cleaning experts are employees, not contractors, which means our team can respond very quickly and with more resources. For questions, contact us anytime at (704) 393-7890 or request help online.
The Deep Clean: Disinfecting workplaces, offices and facilities
Disinfecting workplaces, offices and facilities. SERVPRO of Northwest Charlotte is ready to help 24/7/
During an unprecedented global public health issue, “disinfecting” means more than singing a 20-second tune in your head while washing your hands. With coronavirus and COVID-19 affecting our everyday lives in some way, deep cleaning is now incorporated into our routines as part of the new normal.
This especially holds true for corporate and commercial business owners and property managers who are stepping up their sanitizing game to institute and maintain healthy and safe work environments. Proper cleaning and disinfection routines can significantly reduce or eliminate coronavirus on surfaces and objects in workplaces, offices and facilities.
Commercial cleaning = Peace of mind
While the majority of Charlotte-area businesses haven’t been affected by coronavirus contamination, owners are using this time to stay proactive through commercial cleaning. With many employees now working from home and essential facilities operating with minimal staff, it’s a convenient opportunity for deep cleaning.
Knowing a workspace or business has followed COVID-19 exposure and cleaning procedure guidelines provides peace of mind for employers, employees, vendors, clients and customers. They can feel confident the environment was thoroughly and professionally cleaned according to Centers for Disease Controls (CDC) and local authorities.
Examples of high-touch surfaces
In the workplace, frequently touched surfaces are tables, hard-backed chairs, doorknobs, light switches, countertops, handles, desks, toilets, faucets, sinks, fixtures and electronics (phone receivers and keypads, computers, keyboards, tablets, touch screens, kiosks and remote controls).
Other commercial spaces may include sales counters, water fountains, soda and snack machines, kitchens, break rooms and food areas, bathrooms, meeting rooms and classrooms, shelving and racks, carpets, rugs and drapes, furnaces and air conditioners, stair and escalator handrails, elevators, and playground or fitness equipment.
How long does coronavirus stay on surfaces?
While the World Health Organization doesn’t know how long COVID-19 survives on surfaces as an infection threat, it appears to behave like other coronaviruses. Studies suggest coronaviruses may last on surfaces for a few hours or up to several days, depending on the surface type and the environment’s temperature and humidity level.
Products to eliminate germs and viruses
Several chemical germicides are effective when used in proper concentration for a sufficient length of time, including chlorine, hydrogen peroxide, detergents (soap), iodine-based antiseptics and alcohols. The Environmental Protection Agency provides a helpful list of registered disinfectants and products for use against COVID-19.
If you don’t have access to a disinfectant product, you can clean with a chlorine bleach solution. For floors and more substantial surface cleaning, use five tablespoons (1/3 cup) bleach per gallon of water. For spray bottle applications, mix four teaspoons of bleach per quart of water. You can also use any alcohol solution that has at least 70% alcohol.
Techniques for cleaning and disinfecting workplace surfaces
CDC offers these everyday steps for cleaning and disinfecting.
- Always wear gloves to protect your hands from harsh chemicals.
- Never mix cleaning products.
- Always clean with a detergent or soap and water solution before disinfecting. This removes COVID-19-carrying particles on surfaces, which reduces the viral load before disinfection begins. It allows the disinfectant to be more effective against the remaining virus.
- To properly disinfect using Clorox or Lysol wipes, be sure to clean only one item at a time. To sanitize the surface, let it remain visibly wet for 10 seconds. Sanitizing reduces germs to a generally safe level. To disinfect, use enough wipes to keep the surface wet for four minutes, which will kill all surface germs.
- Always follow the directions on disinfectant products by letting the liquid remain on the surface while it does its cleaning job. If you spray cleaner on a surface, then immediately wipe it off with a dry paper towel, it reduces its germ-killing effectiveness.
- For homemade chlorine bleach solutions, use a cloth to apply it to surfaces and let it stand for 3 to 5 minutes before rinsing with clean water.
- When cleaning soft surfaces, such as carpet, rugs and drapes, use soap and water or safe-to-use cleaners. If possible, launder the items according to the manufacturer’s instructions (using the warmest appropriate water setting) and let the pieces dry completely.
Commercial cleaning levels
SERVPRO of Northwest Charlotte is a member of the Institute of Inspection, Cleaning and Restoration Certification (IICRC), the certifying body for the cleaning and restoration industry. We adhere to CDC and local authority guidelines related to COVID-19 exposure and cleaning procedures. Our primary cleaning technique includes hand wiping surfaces and fogging, a process that uses an ultra-low volume or electrostatic sprayer to apply disinfectant to surfaces.
We focus on three levels of disinfecting: proactive, high-touch and enhanced or reactive cleaning. Proactive cleaning measures, such as a single wipe of high-touch surfaces and fogging applications, are suitable for facilities without any known cases of COVID-19 exposure. A workplace or facility that may have been exposed through an employee or vendor will require multiple wipes of high-touch surface areas and fogging.
When someone known to have COVID-19 has been exposed to the workplace or facility, we recommend enhanced or reactive cleaning. In these cases, we customize services based on the specific needs of a facility. And, we may use a cleaning protocol developed by a third-party industrial hygienist.
Additionally, the CDC recommends opening windows and doors to increase air circulation and closing off all areas used by the infected person. Wait 24 hours (or as long as possible), then clean and disinfect offices, bathrooms, common areas, shared electronic equipment and any other areas the infected person may have used.
24/7 commercial cleaning assistance
Although SERVPRO of Northwest Charlotte is part of a national network of 1,700-plus franchises, we’re locally owned and operated and part of the community. Our deep cleaning experts are employees, not contractors, which means our team can respond very quickly and with more resources. For questions, contact us anytime at (704) 393-7890 or request help online.
COMMERCIAL MOLD DETECTION & REMOVAL SERVICES
Mold and Your Business. Mold contamination is a growing concern for businesses of all sizes. Mold, a fungus that is found in damp places, can grow almost anywhere moist conditions exist. Left unattended, it can cause health problems as well as serious structural damage to your facility. As your go-to experts in mold remediation, we take a methodical and systematic approach to carefully identify the source of the mold growth and help eliminate mold from your working environment.
WHY IS MOLD A PROBLEM?
Molds gradually destroy the things they grow on and can grow anywhere:
- HVAC system
- Furnishings and more
In your home, all molds have the potential to cause side effects:
- Breathing Difficulties
- Skin irritation
- Allergic reactions
- Aggravation of asthma symptoms
The presence of mold in your building means significant repairs may be necessary. This presents a financial problem for business owners.
If you suspect mold in your business, count on SERVPRO of Northwest Charlotte to quickly remediate the issue and let you get back to business as soon as possible. Once we assess the damage, we'll work with you to create a comprehensive remediation plan unique to your needs. Then, we'll keep you informed every step of the way to ensure we're always on the same page and providing the best work. With our guided expertise, innovative tools and technologies, we'll get your business up and running again as soon as possible.
3 Steps After a Commercial Fire Loss
- Do anything you can to prevent protect what is left: Whether it's tarping your property, shutting off water mains, or putting up emergency fencing, it's up to you to prevent further damage to the property after the fire. If you neglect to do this, your insurance policy might not pay for the additional damages. Call a professional loss consultant who can explain to you what steps you need to take under your current insurance policy plan.
- Talk to people: After suffering such a devastating loss, your first response might be to take a break for a few days and process everything at home. This is one of those times where you are going to have to go against your instinct and talk to lots of people. You will want to start by gathering documentation. Get a fire report from the fire marshal's office. Seek a copy of current building codes from building department inspectors, and ask engineers or architects to write out the extent of the building's damage. Or if you feel you can handle it on your own, hire a reputable licensed public adjuster who will help you with gathering all the information you need, along with helping you process your insurance claim.
- Contact your insurance company ASAP: Amidst everything else going on, it is absolutely imperative that you don’t neglect to call your insurance company to report the damages as quickly as possible. If you take too long to contact your insurance agent, it could cost you big in the long run. You don't need to sign any paperwork or give estimates early on, just let the insurance company know that a damage has occurred.
How Long Does it Take to Repair a Home After a Fire?
The Fire Damage Repair Process
PHASE 1: MITIGATION AND DEMOLITION – 3 WEEKS
First, the mitigation vendor will come out to assess the level of damage in the home. The affected rooms will be tested for soot and smoke damage by using special sponges or gloves, and a high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) vacuum and deodorizer will be used to clean the air. The mitigation vendor will also explain what the demolition and rebuild phase may consist of (if applicable) and determine whether it makes sense to do more complex tasks such as flood cutting, a process that determines the water accumulation in drywall, or tearing down walls and ceilings, and removing floors. These tasks may be necessary when a severe fire occurs as water damage can occur from extinguishing the fire. Lead and asbestos testing may also take place depending on the state the house is in and the year it was built.
PHASE 2: GENERAL CONTRACTOR AND SUBCONTRACTOR – 3-6 MONTHS
Once the home has been mitigated, the next step is called “build back” which encompasses the repairs required to return the home to pre-fire condition. The build back phase is when a general contractor comes in. He or she will assess the damage, write an estimate and send it to your insurance carrier adjuster (if you’re filing a claim). Keep in mind it can take some time to negotiate cost (up to 2-3 months), but once all parties agree and you sign a work authorization, work can begin.
The general contractor often takes on subcontractors to rebuild other parts of the home, such as installing flooring or drywall (or uses an architect for larger losses), so you can get the type of flooring, roofing, etc., you want in your newly restored home.
When all work is complete, you and your contractor will perform a final walk through to review the repairs and you will be asked to sign a Certificate of Satisfaction, which is documentation needed to close out the job.
The Amount of Time Depends on the Amount of Damage
Remember, there’s no one-size-fits-all time estimate for the restoration process. It depends on the size of the house, severity of damage and vendors involved. A small house with light damage could be fixed in a couple of days, whereas a larger job requiring a full gut (or complete rebuild) could take six months or more. It’s always helpful to ask for a scope of the work involved as well as an estimate, so you have a better sense of what to expect for your specific situation.
Here are some other things to consider when a home fire occurs:
- Permits can prevent demolition from happening. For example, you may have to hold off on a rebuild if the building fails lead or asbestos testing.
- Repairs can take time, but it’s also important to be aware of your timeline, especially if your insurance company is covering alternative living expenses (ALE). For example, if you’ve spent 5 months negotiating costs and only have 9 months of ALE, you would have already spent more than half of your ALE before the restoration process began.
- Hire a trustworthy mitigation vendor with proper credentials and good reviews. If the mitigation is not done well, it can create more work for the general contractor.
- Avoid cleaning prior to speaking with a professional company, as it could cause further damage.
- Collect all sentimental items to handle/clean yourself to avoid potential accidents while professionals are there.
How to Handle Commercial Water Damage Cleanup
How to Handle Commercial Water Damage Cleanup
Water damage can strike your Indianapolis commercial property at any time and without notice. The effects of commercial water damage can be devastating to a business owner who is now faced with having to cleanup the water damage and reopen their business as soon as possible.
Do you know how to handle water damage at your commercial property? Are you prepared to make the necessary decisions after a pipe breaks, your roof leaks, or the streets flood to protect your property? What is your plan?
Thankfully, this doesn’t have to be as scary as it sounds. A little preparation for a water damage emergency and a plan of action in the event it ever happens can significantly reduce property damage and will get you back to business as soon as possible.
Commercial Water Damage Prevention
Large-scale losses can be prevented by following a few simple guidelines. Know where your emergency water shut-off valves are located, and have a contingency plan in place in case you are not available. Create an emergency plan with directions for what to do in an emergency as well as a list of phone numbers of approved companies to call in an emergency situation. Make sure someone you can trust has the authorization to make decisions if you are unavailable.
It is a good idea to locate a water damage restoration company near you, who provides emergency response before disaster strikes. Do your due diligence and call a few different companies to ask any questions you might have about their services or their experience with companies similar to yours. How quickly cleanup begins will impact the size of the loss.
Causes of Commercial Water Damage
Water damage can happen at any time. Whether from natural disasters, leaking roofs, frozen pipes, sewage backups, or flooding, water damage is a serious concern and a major threat to your commercial property.
Understanding the source of the flooding is essential for proper cleanup, as clean water from a broken pipe or a leaking roof during a rainstorm will be treated differently than floodwaters and sewage backups. Always protect your health, and let the commercial water damage experts handle the cleanup and restoration of your property.
Preventing Mold Growth After Water Damage
Every water damage restoration company is going to be concerned with preventing or mitigating mold growth after water damage in your commercial property. Mold growth can begin 24-48 hours after water damage, and starting extraction and drying as soon as possible after water damage is your best line of defense against mold.
Proper removal and drying of the water is critical after a water damage emergency, and will prevent any long-term problems some experience after attempting water damage cleanup themselves, or by hiring someone who doesn’t have the proper equipment or experience.
Commercial Flood Insurance
Commercial Flood Insurance
What Does Commercial Flood Insurance Cover?Commercial Flood Insurance helps protect your business from the damage costs that come from floodwater. A commercial flood insurance policy will not only protect the location of your business but also the physical contents and assets. A commercial flood insurance policy is designed to protect your business if your floors, walls, ceilings, equipment and fixtures as well as furniture, inventory and business property sustain floodwater damage. Call today to get a quote and find out how easy and affordable it is to add flood insurance protection to your portfolio of business coverages.
Do I Need Commercial Flood Insurance?If your business property insurance doesn’t cover flood damage – and most don’t – you should consider adding a commercial flood insurance policy. Start with a commercial flood insurance quote. Even if you live in an area that doesn’t flood, you’ll need a policy if:
- You run your business in an area that has cold, snowy winters and warm springs. Fast melting snow is one of the top causes for commercial flooding.
- You experience moderate rainfall during the year. Even with moderate rainfall, a drain could become clogged and eventually overflow into your place of business and cause flood damage.
How Does a Commercial Flood Insurance Policy Work?Flood insurance from The Hartford is provided through the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), managed by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). Typically, the government requires a 30-day waiting period on new flood insurance policies. So it’s important to buy a commercial flood policy well before a potential flood event is headed your way. It’s easy to get a quote. Just contact your local agent or call 1-800-296-7542 to speak with one of our flood insurance specialists. We’re eager to answer your questions and quickly assist you in getting the right flood coverage at the right cost for your business. The Hartford is a participant in the federal Write Your Own (WYO) Program, part of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), National Flood Insurance Program http://www.fema.gov/protecting-your-businesses. WYO flood policies are underwritten by the federal government and issued, sold, and administered by authorized private insurance companies, including Hartford Fire Insurance Company, Hartford Insurance Company of the Midwest and Hartford Underwriters Insurance Company. Accordingly, Hartford WYO flood policies are written subject to the rules, regulations, terms, conditions, and availability of the National Flood Insurance Program. All policies must be examined carefully to determine suitability for your needs and to identify any exclusions, limitations or any other terms and conditions that may specifically affect coverage. In the event of a conflict, the terms and conditions of the policy prevail.
Does My Business Need Flood Insurance?
Natural disasters can be devastating to businesses. While damage caused by some types of natural events—such as lightning or wind—will usually be covered by commercial property insurance, you need a special policy if you want protection from flood damage. This Q&A will help you understand this type of coverage and determine if your business needs it.
Frequently asked questions about flood insurance
Q. Does my commercial property insurance include flood coverage?
A. No. Damage from flooding, including flooding generated by hurricane-generated storm surge, typically is not covered under a standard commercial policy, including a Commercial Package Policy (CPP) or a Business Owners Policy (BOP). Flood insurance is available from the federal government’s National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP).
Q. What does flood insurance cover?
A.Flood insurance covers damage to your building and contents caused by flood. This includes losses resulting from water overflowing rivers or streams, heavy or prolonged rain, storm surge, snow melt, blocked storm drainage systems, broken dams or levees, or other similar causes. To be considered a flood, waters must cover at least two acres or affect two properties. Generally if water comes from above—for instance from rain or melting snow overflowing gutters and leaking onto your inventory—you’ll be covered by your standard commercial property insurance.
Q. What isn’t covered by flood insurance?
A. Property outside your building generally will not be covered. For instance, landscaping and septic systems will not be covered. In addition, flood insurance will not cover damage to your business vehicles, but this can be included in the optional “comprehensive” portion of your business vehicle insurance. Financial losses caused by business interruption or loss of use of insured property are also not covered.
Q. Do I have to purchase flood insurance?
A. If your commercial property is located in a high-risk flood area and you have a mortgage from a federally regulated or insured lender, you are required to purchase a flood insurance policy.
Q. How do I determine my risk for flood damage?
A. Location is the most important factor for weighing your risk for flood damage. Is your business located in or near a flood zone? (Flood map search tools can be found online.) In what part of the building is your businesses equipment and inventory located? Anything housed on a lower floor, for instance, will be at greater risk.
Q. Where can I purchase flood insurance?
A. Flood insurance is available from the NFIP and some private insurers. However, NFIP coverage can only be purchased through an insurance professional; you cannot buy it directly from the federal government. To find a local insurance professional who is familiar with the National Flood Insurance Program, contact the NFIP at 888-379-9531 for an agent referral.
Q. How long does it take to get flood coverage?
A. Typically, there’s a 30-day waiting period from date of purchase before your policy goes into effect.
Q. Does my flood policy cover mold?
A. Damage from mold and/or mildew resulting from the after-effects of a flood is covered, but each case is evaluated on an individual basis. Mold/mildew conditions that existed prior to a flooding event are not covered, and after a flood, the policyholder is responsible for taking reasonable and appropriate mitigation actions to eliminate mold and mildew.
Q. How much flood coverage can I get?
A. Commercial flood insurance provides up to $500,000 of coverage for your building and up to $500,000 for its contents.
Q. What if I need more coverage?
A. You can purchase what’s called excess insurance coverage to rebuild properties valued above National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) limits. Excess coverage includes protection against business interruption.
Get Your Commercial Automatic Toilet to Stop Flushing
1. Uncover the screwdriver slot. Most flushometers have a screwdriver spot for a flat head screwdriver. You may have to uncover this spot. Once you do, use a screwdriver to turn off the water coming from the flushometer.
2. Remove the top lid. Once you have the water stopped, you need to make sure you won't be dealing with this toilet flood issue in the near future. Your toilet-fixing expert can use a wrench to remove the top lid of the flushometer. Some water may come out when you remove the cover.
3. Clean the gasket. With the lid removed, you can now see the gasket. You may notice built up sediment or a clogged weep hole. This device should be able to stop a toilet, but if it is too dirty it may cause a toilet overflow.
4. Get the flushometer ready again. After the gasket has been properly cleaned, you need to get it ready to function again. Replace the cover and top lid. Then turn the water back on.
Taking care of your commercial property means fixing toilet overflow issues and reacting quickly to other potential hazards. No matter what kind of water-related issue you have, you should make sure to react quickly to avoid major water damage to your business. Knowing who to call in a time of crisis can save you a lot of time.
Getting Rid of the Smell After a Fire
Smoke is Sneaky
Once you've been given the go-ahead to reenter the building, you may need the judgment of fire damage professionals to determine what items can be salvaged. Because smoke can permeate various parts of an indoor space, it's essential that you get a proper inspection. Smoke also produces small amounts of carbon in the air, ultimately creating soot, and completely removing the odor from some items can prove challenging.
There Are Different Types
In addition, be aware that there may be multiple soot damage culprits, as there are different types of smoke:
• Dry smoke
• Wet smoke
• Protein fire residue
Although any kind of smoke damage is a hassle to deal with, wet smoke – involving plastic or rubber – can be sharper in odor and harder to address. Dry smoke involves wood or paper and can also be difficult to clean. Protein fire residue, which can be subtle, has a familiar, pungent odor.
Porous Materials are Vulnerable
Every surface likely needs attention after a fire, but the permeable ones are usually trickiest. Items such as curtains, rugs, and other upholsteries probably need to go to the dry cleaner. Another task on your list should involve keeping your cleaned items out of the building until a proper smoke cleaning is complete.