Each year, the winter’s temperature changes, bringing cold, wind, and rain causing significant monetary losses to commercial properties through both direct damages to the structures and contents, as well as the interruption of business.
The indirect costs often associated with these types of loss are incalculable. Water weighs 8.34 pounds per gallon and when allowed to collect on a roof can lead to damage. During a heavy rain delivering 2 inches of rain, a 30,000 square foot, flat roof building would have over 150 tons of weight added to the structure. This added weight can easily cause roof collapse, weaken roofing seams allowing water intrusion, or create a permanently sagging roof. Similarly, high rainfall can also collect in surface areas, such as streams and water channels, where vegetation can obstruct the free flowing of water away from properties leading to flooding.
To help you protect and preserve your property, customers, and business interests, we’ve outlined some prevention tips for the rainy season.
- All roof structures and roof coverings should be checked to be sure that they are in good condition. Fix any leaks and repair damaged or missing flashings.
- Check all penetrations through the roof structure for good seal condition, such as skylights, piping, and HVAC ducting.
- Remove all foreign materials, such as leaves, debris, and construction materials.
- Inspect roof drains and overflows scuppers to ensure they are free of debris that may obstruct water flow.
- From inside the building, check the roof for any visible daylight indicating an opening.
- Check downspouts for blockage and make sure that runoff discharges away from the buildings and walkways.
- Make provisions for temporary protection for interior and exterior areas where unrepaired water intrusion has existed.
- Close all windows and check for window integrity.
- Check basement drainage systems and verify sump pump operation.
- Verify that your emergency plans cover preservation and protection of your property over the weekend.
- Check backup power equipment to make sure it’s in proper working order.
- Implement monthly roof inspections during the rainy season and before rainy days.
- Remove vegetation and overgrowth within storm water channels or streams on your property that could impede water flow and cause flooding.
Christopher Drobny, CFPS, CSP, is a senior property specialist with Chubb Risk Engineering Services.