Recent Commercial Posts

What Should I Include in My Commercial Fire Damage Claim?

4/24/2021 (Permalink)

Empty room, burned, walls, ceiling. Everything completely burned Fire damage in Manda, TX.

What To Include In A Commercial Fire Damage Claim

If your Manda, TX, business has been damaged by fire, you’re probably aware of the importance of filing your commercial property insurance claim as soon as possible. After all, the sooner you can file a claim, the sooner funds can be released and fire damage repairs can begin. However, acting too quickly can result in accidentally omitting some damage from your insurance claim, leaving you with inadequate resources to complete necessary restoration work. Before submitting a claim to your insurance adjuster, make sure you haven’t overlooked any of these common types of damage.

1. Structural Repairs
Damage to your building’s structure may be obvious, especially for parts of the property that have been burned or destroyed by flames. However, the intense heat from a fire can also damage window and door frames, warp glass, and weaken structural components like steel and iron.

2. Mitigation Expenses
Many insurance policies require that you take steps after the fire to prevent further property damage. The cost of any fire mitigation measures, such as boarding up windows and doors or installing a tarp to cover roof damage, should be included in your claim.

3. Water Damage Remediation
Water damage is frequently a corollary of fire damage, usually due to the large volume of water used to put out a fire. Water can seep into porous surfaces and can damage electronics, equipment, and inventory. Wet surfaces and high humidity quickly become an ideal breeding ground for mold, which can spread rapidly through your building. Remember to include the costs of professional water remediation and mold testing in your insurance claim.

4. Smoke and Soot Cleanup
Smoke and soot often affect the entire building, including areas far from the fire. Smoke can cause staining and discoloration and is highly damaging to electronic devices. Lingering smoke odors often require professional odor removal.
Taking the time to complete a thorough property insurance claim can ensure that all your fire damage repair and restoration expenses are covered.

3 Things To Include in Your Business Continuity Plan

4/17/2021 (Permalink)

Paper with words BCP Business Continuity Plan Update your business's continuity plan.

3 Things To Include in Your Business Continuity Plan

Most businesses in New Sweden, TX, have a continuity plan in place to help ensure that they can function in an emergency. These plans should be kept up-to-date and looked over thoroughly on a regular basis to help ensure that they contain pertinent information and that everyone knows what to do. Here are a few things you may want to consider including in your plan.

1. A Plan For Operation

After flooding, one of the first things to consider is how to keep the business in operation while repairs are being made. In some cases, only minor repairs may be needed allowing disruptions to be minimal. In other more extreme circumstances, it might be necessary to consider moving to a separate location until the property is restored. Consider including plans for a variety of scenarios.

2. Emergency Numbers

Another recommended section to include in a continuity plan is the numbers you may need in an emergency. These may include insurance agents, your IT specialist, and even the information for a local storm damage restoration service. Having these numbers in an easy-to-access location may help you save time, as well as help ensure that everyone knows who should be contacted in each planned scenario.

3. Recovery Strategies

In many cases, you may want to include recovery strategies for any problems caused to your company by storm damage. These may include approximate costs of operations, budgeting concerns, how long alternate modes of operation may be required while repairs are being made, and ways to show your customers that your company is still running strong. Having these plans made beforehand can help you be prepared if an emergency should happen.
When updating your business's continuity plan, it is important to include plans for how the company can stay open after an emergency. You may also want to include contact information for insurance and restoration companies, and outline strategies for recovering from the damage. If you have any questions about the process a professional may be able to help.

5 Places to Check for Mold Growth at Your Business

1/27/2021 (Permalink)

ceiling damaged by water and mold growth Mold growth on ceiling tile

Mold Prevention Tips

Business owners live with this nagging concern in the back of their heads: is there mold growth in the building? Because mold remediation can be costly, a diligent business owner in Austin, TX, knows the likely places—bathrooms, basements, kitchens, and storage rooms—and keeps them clean and dry. But there are a number of other sneaky places where mold can grow. For true mold prevention, here are five to keep an eye on.

1. Ceiling Tiles
If you notice discoloration on ceiling tiles, that indicates a leak which means that there is a prime environment for mold growth. Roof leaks, HVAC systems, and other mechanical systems that are prone to leaking or condensation make it more likely for your ceiling tiles to experience water damage.

2. Carpet
Spills drips, and floods can cause mold to grow on and under carpet. It's important to clean up water from carpet as quickly as possible to avoid damage. This includes proper drying and ventilation. When in doubt, contact a water damage restoration professional for help.

3. Electrical Equipment
Gaps around outlets and cables that allow moist air to flow in and out can cause mold. One mold prevention tip for these areas is to caulk around outlets and cable boxes.

4. Ductwork
During summer months when the air conditioning is running all day, moisture can build up inside and outside the ductwork of your HVAC system. If this happens, you'll ultimately be blowing mold into every room of your business. One prevention strategy is to be careful of where the temperature is set. Another is to replace ducts that have linings built in which tend to accumulate more debris and, therefore, mold.

5. Paper
Stacks of paper that are stored in even slightly damp environments can grow mold fairly quickly. If your office keeps a lot of paper on hand, be sure that it is stored in an area that is dry and well ventilated.
Mold prevention is an important aspect of running a safe business. Keep an eye on sneaky places where mold can grow in order to avoid costly remediation.

How Do Restoration Experts Clean Up Commercial Fire Damage?

1/4/2021 (Permalink)

Firemen putting out fire in old building Commercial fire damage in Manda, XT

As soon as a fire in a commercial building goes out, the property owner should contact restoration experts in Manda, TX. Restoration professionals clean up every sign of fire and smoke damage as quickly as possible. Every day that a fire limits operations can prove costly for businesses. A restoration company should arrive on site within hours and take the following measures to assess, mitigate and clean up fire damage.

Inspect the Fire Damage

The first goal of restoration professionals involves determining the effects of fire on building materials and contents. An expert inspection of damage informs all of the following measures:

  • Documenting damage for insurance purposes
  • Estimating total costs of restoration
  • Mitigating primary and secondary damage
  • Scheduling cleanup and restoration

An inspection will determine whether a loss is partial or total. Ruined building materials must be torn out and disposed of and contents should be taken off site for cleaning or reported as losses. A total loss may require rebuilding a structure and replacing all contents.

Mitigation and Cleanup Measures
Mitigating fire damage may start by covering up breaches in the roof, walls or windows of a structure to limit access and exposure of materials that can be cleaned and restored. Cleanup may start with the extraction of standing water, removing debris and treating soot damage. Even after all surfaces have been cleaned, it may still be necessary to remediate smoke damage.

Restore Affected Areas
The affected areas of a structure should be cleaned and rebuilt during restoration. Any materials remaining intact must be sanitized and may require repainting, first with a primer resistant to soot staining and then a fresh coat of paint. Specialized soot and smoke cleaning methods may be used to clean contents. Thermal fogging or ozone or hydroxyl treatments may be necessary to eliminate stubborn smoke damage at a commercial building in Manda, TX.

3 Steps To Take if Water Damage Has Affected Your Electronic Devices

12/14/2020 (Permalink)

Breaker box with the word CUT THE POWER! Turn off the electricity in your building

Take The Following Steps If You Find Yourself With This Issue

Water damage in your building can come from a variety of sources. Whether there’s flooding from a storm in Cele, TX, or a broken appliance that has overflowed, excessive moisture can cause problems. One such problem is flooded electronics. Electricity and water are not a good combination.

1. Turn Off Electricity in the Building
Flooded electronics can be a safety hazard, so you should avoid handling any of these devices if the power is still on, particularly if there is still flooding in the building. The best action to take in this situation is to locate the breaker and turn off the power to the building. Once this has been done, you can begin unplugging items from their power sources.

2. Do Not Turn On the Device
Along with being unsafe, turning on devices while they are still wet can lead to electronic damage. Any objects that are still on, such as those powered by batteries, should be turned off if it is safe to do so. Avoid the temptation to test any devices before all moisture has been thoroughly removed.

3. Have Electronics Inspected and Repaired
Depending on the device that has been affected and the severity of the water damage, you may be able to simply drain some items on your own. Particularly sensitive electronics or those that have been completely submerged should be looked at by a professional. A cleanup and restoration service can often perform these tasks for you to ensure the device does not suffer permanent electronic damage.
If you have important or expensive electronics in your commercial building, these should be treated as quickly as possible after water damage has occurred. Flooded electronics can rust quickly which may make repairs difficult. The water can also cause some devices to short circuit. The easiest way to minimize this damage is to have these items taken care of by a professional.

Expect the Unexpected When a Toilet Overflows

11/4/2020 (Permalink)

Overflowing broken toilet A toilet overflow can cause major problems in your Austin, TX building

Expect the Unexpected When a Toilet Overflows

A toilet overflow is seldom a simple problem in a commercial building, especially when it happens in a multi-story building. The resulting sewer damage is likely to go through the flooring and contaminate the ceiling below and the contents of that room. A professional water mitigation team in Austin, TX, will take the following actions to restore the impacted rooms:

  • Inspection and assessment of the property
  • Removal of contaminated water
  • Removal of affected ceiling and flooring materials
  • Tear out of contaminated insulation
  • Dry out of area disinfection

The technicians from the sewage company will also investigate and determine what other materials have been tainted by the dirty water. They will either restore or replace as necessary.

The Impacts of Sewer Damage
The water from a flooded toilet is known as dirty water or black water or a category 3 water spill. It is a situation that requires fast remediation. The presence of dirty water in a building is a danger to human health. It can contain pathogens and other substances that should not be touched by human skin. Technicians will use protective equipment such as gloves, masks and eyewear as they clean up the spill. They will also utilize specialized equipment and techniques to restore a building to its original condition.

The Importance of Quality Remediation
A building that has experienced sewer damage should be cleaned to the highest standards. Approved disinfectants should be used to clean any surfaces that have been in contact with black water. The area should also be dried out with industrial fans and air dryers. This removes excess humidity from the building and reduces the possibility of secondary damage such as mold growth. A trained team of technicians will be able to handle water problems both large and small, including a toilet overflow that jumps floors. A commercial building with water damage should be addressed by a qualified and certified restoration company.

3 Tips for a Flood-Proof Flower Bed

10/6/2020 (Permalink)

SERVPRO Logo. Creating curb appeal that can withstand heavy rains can help your home weather any storm.

Homeowners with flower beds always welcome a good rainstorm — that is, unless it results in outside flooding. However, you can create landscaping that can handle all of that extra water. Construct a flower bed that stands up to heavy rain drainage with these three tips.

1. Choose Flood-Tough Plants
Certain plants are built for handling heavy rain and runoff. They are native to areas that get a lot of precipitation, so they can exist in standing water and not develop root rot or other issues. Here are some plant families that are made for outside flooding:

Shrubs and small trees
Varieties of wildflowers
Pine trees such as Colorado or white spruce
Perennials like daylily and hosta

These are just a few examples of plants that are good for soaking up water.

2. Go Heavy on the Mulch
Along with keeping weeds down, mulch is good for water control. Do not skimp on thickness or weight. Lay a thick layer of heavy hardwood mulch in your beds to help soak up water and keep the mulch from floating away. If it does and you see signs of water damage to your foundation, you should call a storm damage professional for an inspection.

3. Divert Your Downspouts to a Rain Barrel
Even if you clean your gutter system regularly to prevent backflow, a lot of water rolls out of downspouts into the flower beds edging your house. Installing a diverter and rain barrel lets you choose where water flows, avoiding oversaturation. The diverter goes inside your downspout and can be switched to let water flow out the end of the spout or into the barrel. As a bonus, you have extra water for gardening during dry spells.

Outside flooding is a serious concern during the rainy season in Austin, TX. Creating curb appeal that can withstand heavy rains can help your home weather any storm.

Do Your Employees Know How To Use a Fire Extinguisher?

4/19/2020 (Permalink)

Man using fire extinguisher to stop fire in the office. Concept of protection and security Make sure all your employees know how to use a fire extinguisher

Do Your Employees Know How To Use a Fire Extinguisher?

It's your responsibility as an Austin, TX, business owner to make sure your workplace is a safe place for employees and customers. With this in mind, you may have a fire extinguisher, or several, located throughout your property. It's also required that you provide training for your employees on how to use the device. Most training include the simple-to-remember PASS method:

P for pulling the pin that breaks the tamper seal.
A for aiming low at the base of the fire.
S for squeezing the handle that releases the extinguishing agent.
S for sweeping the device side to side slowly until the fire goes out.

Repeat the PASS technique as often as needed until the fire no longer reignites. Many employees and customers may already feel comfortable with this part of your fire safety training classes, and there are other skills and facts to include throughout the year.

Cover All Areas of Extinguisher Usage
The PASS method is just one part of using a fire extinguisher appropriately. It's also important that employees alert other of the fire, especially if alarms haven't already gone off. There should be a designated member of the staff with the responsibility of contacting the fire department. Everyone in the building, including the person using the extinguisher, must have access to a safe path of evacuation. It's imperative that heat, flames, or smoke do not get between this person and the exit.

Make Sure You Have the Right Extinguisher
There are several types of extinguishers, so you must be sure to have the right device for the type of work you're doing. The best way to determine which device is right for your situation is to ask your local Austin, TX, fire department. For example, the Class K device is specifically meant for a kitchen fire, especially if grease and oil are present.
Workplace safety is an important responsibility. Fire damage cleanup and remediation professionals may also be a source of information. Be sure to provide routine training on the use of the PASS technique, evacuation routes, and your updated fire safety plan, in addition to installing the correct fire extinguisher.

Keeping Your Business Safe During Thunderstorms

2/6/2020 (Permalink)

Lightning strikes and the words "Storm Damage." Thunderstorms and inclement weather may be hard to predict.

As a business owner in Austin, TX, it's important to keep your workspace and employees safe during inclement weather. Storms can develop quickly and bring damaging rain, wind, hail, and lightning. A severe rainstorm may lead to flash floods, which can create dangerous travel conditions. High winds during thunderstorms may also down trees and create power outages. Debris and hail may be blown into structures and cause damage. Here are some ways to prepare your workplace for severe weather.

1. Storm Preparation

Before severe weather hits, take steps to secure your buildings. It's a good idea to discuss thunderstorm and lightning safety with your team, make a list of items to bring inside should a storm hit, and make an emergency preparedness kit. To prepare the exterior of your building, keep trees and shrubs trimmed, secure any loose flashing, and consult with a local fire department regarding lightning rods.

2. Storm Response

During an intense rain storm, keep calm and put your preparation plans into action. Keep yourself and your employees safe by taking shelter in a secure area of the building. Choose a place that is away from windows, skylights, and glass doors, as these are more likely to be broken by strong wind or hail. Use battery-powered TVs and radios to listen to emergency updates from local or national weather services.

3. Storm Recovery

Once the storm has passed, continue to make safety a top priority. Listen to radio or TV stations for updated information or safety instructions. Some areas or roads may be inaccessible due to downed power lines or flooded roadways. Keep yourself and your employees out of storm-damaged areas. If you need assistance with flood cleanup or storm cleanup, contact professionals in emergency restoration services immediately.

Thunderstorms and inclement weather may be hard to predict. Use these tips to keep your business and your staff safe in the event of a severe storm. Taking some basic safety precautions can lessen the damaging effects of a major rain storm.

4 Steps of Fire Damage Restoration

2/3/2020 (Permalink)

Flames in a ware house. Whether the flames have affected only a small area or have ruined a large portion of the building, you should have the damage taken care of.

After a fire in your Austin, TX, building, fire damage restoration will need to be done. If you have not experienced this process before, you might not know exactly what to expect. The following are some of the things that will be done to get your building looking great again.

1. Inspection
Before anything else can be done, an inspection will need to take place so the restoration company can determine the extent of the damage. They will look over each area of the building and locate affected rooms and items.

2. Mitigation
After inspection, the next step in fire damage restoration is mitigation. This is done to keep damage from spreading and becoming worse. During this stage, missing areas will need to be covered with tarps or boards to keep out rain and debris. If water was used to put out the fire, areas may be blocked off to keep water from spreading.

3. Cleanup
Because smoke and soot travel through the air, smoke cleanup should be done in the area surrounding the primary damage, even if the flames did not reach that far. Smoke carries acidic elements that can cause damage and corrosion to surfaces as well as belongings. Electronic devices and equipment should be inspected before use to prevent damage.

4. Restoration
The final step in fire damage restoration is to make the repairs and restore the building to its previous condition. Some materials may need to be replaced, and if the fire was severe, workers may need to completely rebuild certain rooms or areas.

Repainting will likely need to be done as well.
Whether the flames have affected only a small area or have ruined a large portion of the building, you should have the commercial fire damage taken care of by a professional. A fire damage remediation company will be able to clean the area thoroughly and make repairs quickly without sacrificing quality, so you can get back to business.

How To Prevent Mold Growth in Your Facility

1/8/2020 (Permalink)

Mold growth on the ceiling of a property Mold also appears near roof leaks

How To Prevent Mold Growth in Your Facility

Mold prevention in a large commercial facility can be difficult. That’s because facilities contain some of the key ingredients that mold needs to thrive: darkness, moisture and organic nutrients found in dust and dirt.
Mold is also hard to contain because the spores often grow in places you cannot see. By the time the mold is visible, it may have already caused severe damage to your Pflugerville, TX, property. Common hiding spots for mold include:

  • Ceiling tiles
  • HVAC systems
  • Electrical equipment
  • Paper
  • Masonry surfaces

Black mold cleanup can be a complicated process and may force you to temporarily close down your facility. That is why you should take the below steps to stop mold growth in your building.

Install Ultraviolet Lighting System

This mold prevention strategy should reduce the spread of mold within HVAC units. Place the ultraviolet light on the duct side of the coils. The light should then kill most of the microorganisms in the ducts before they are transported into the rest of the building.

Properly Train Maintenance Personnel

Mold often appears near leaks or standing water. You should thus make sure that your maintenance workers check for water damage regularly and clean up the liquid as soon as possible. This will reduce the chances of you needing major mold cleanup in the facility. Employees should also immediately address any cracks or holes that could lead to flooding.

Store and Clean Paper Properly

Paper records should be kept in places where you can properly maintain the temperature. Storing paper in humid areas can lead to a buildup of mold.
Meanwhile, any paper damaged by water should be dried, photocopied and discarded immediately. Paper that has been wet for more than 48 hours may require specialized cleaning.
By following the above mold prevention tips, you can limit the spread of this fungus in your facility. Still, because of the extensive darkness and moisture within the building, some mold damage may be inevitable. If this occurs, mold remediation and cleanup specialists can help limit the destruction.

What You Should Know About Your Commercial Storm Coverage

12/23/2019 (Permalink)

An office desk with water on top due to heavy rain Commercial storm damage in Sweden, TX

Standard commercial property insurance policies cover damage from fire, explosion, burst pipes, storms, theft and vandalism, however, many commercial property policies specifically exclude some types of storm damage. Coverages vary by location and policy. A good place to begin the process of ensuring your business has all of the storm insurance coverage you need is to review your policy with an insurance professional in New Sweden,TX. Some topics you may wish to discuss include:

Types of Property Covered

Expensive or specialized business equipment may need to be scheduled separately to be covered by your policy. Typical commercial property policies cover the following types of property:

  • Buildings
  • Computers
  • Furniture and equipment
  • Exterior signs
  • Fences and landscaping
  • Important documents
  • Inventory
  • Property belonging to other people that is damaged while in your possession

Hurricanes and Windstorms

Damage from a tornado, straight-line winds or thunderstorm is covered by most standard commercial property insurance policies, however many policies exclude storm damage and storm cleanup costs caused by hurricanes and tropical storms. If your business is in a coastal area, you may want to consider adding a storm insurance policy or rider that specifically covers hurricane and windstorm damage. Some coastal areas have residual markets, called Beach Plans, that exist specifically to provide coverage for property in areas at high risk for hurricane damage that the standard market may decline to cover.

Business Interruption Insurance

Business interruption insurance coverage helps cover the cost of expenses that are ongoing while your business can not operate due to damage from a covered peril. Much like with your property coverage, you may need a separate rider to cover you for business interruptions that result from hurricane damage.

Reviewing your storm insurance policy can help you avoid any surprises in the event your business suffers a loss. It can also help you identify any unique risks you may have and work with your insurance professional to ensure your coverage best meets the needs of your business.

3 Tests That Identify Mold

11/20/2019 (Permalink)

Closeup shot of grey mold growth. Be quick and thorough.

When mold spores make contact with water they can multiply, spreading throughout your home and potentially causing damage. That can be deleterious for homeowners. Harder still, the infestation is not always noticeable, hiding instead behind walls or on the carpet. Should you suspect water damage or detect a musty smell, you'll want to act quickly, calling in a mold remediation company in Austin, TX. Allow their environmental hygienist to perform a mold assessment. Here are three tests the specialist may use to determine the level of growth.

1. Bulk Testing
Many times trouble lurks in hard-to-see locations. Therefore, it is customary for experts to ask permission to remove small pieces of the home such as cutting small holes in walls or ceiling tiles. While that may seem extreme, it helps detect flourishing colonies. Results can determine whether black mold or other species are present as well as how much has accumulated. From there, the team can put together a plan to remove any infected areas and begin restoration.

2. Air Testing
A stale odor sometimes means that scum is in the air, so several vials of the atmosphere may be collected from various rooms, and even perhaps during different times of the day. This won't necessarily determine concentration levels, but it is a good indicator that something is hiding out-of-sight. If the mold assessment comes back positive, employees may begin examining the air handler to see if it's contaminated.

3. Surface Testing
Sometimes spots appear along walls, in showers or on the ground. In these cases, swabs can be taken, showing what is present. If it's mold, the company will begin removal and restoration efforts. It could be mildew, though, and that requires different cleaning. The business can help you scrub it away and give tips for preventing further development.

Be quick and thorough. Anytime you suspect trouble with fungus, contact an environmental hygienist to investigate the property and complete a mold assessment. The evaluation can help determine exposure levels and provide information for the sanitizing process.


7/1/2019 (Permalink)

Here is a photo of tenting being implemented on a job.

Water damage can occur from a variety of causes, with varying degrees of severity. In the event that a large structure is only minimally impacted, as opposed to an entire room or building, a method called "tenting" can be used to dry the structure.

By using this technique, we are able to isolate the affected area separately from the rest; that allows us to narrow down our focus only onto the area that needs to be dried out.

Tenting also enables us to efficiently dry materials within the building without having to remove them, which makes it easier to return the structure to preloss conditions. 

Should you encounter a water loss in your commercial building, please call SERVPRO of Pflugerville, and let us put our expertise to work for you!