The Dangers of Water Intrusion in Your Commercial Building
When water intrusion occurs in a commercial building, it can have even more devastating effects than in a residential structure. Moisture intrusion can occur in a variety of ways at a business building, just as it can at any residential building, starting with leaky roofs, cracks in the foundation or the basement walls, and other entry points as well.
When water intrusion does occur in a commercial building, the contents of that building can become damaged such that the cost of repair or replacement rises significantly. For instance, if computers or other valuable equipment were being stored in a commercial building, there could be a total loss, or at least a significant loss when that equipment is damaged by water.
It’s also very possible that HVAC equipment like furnaces or air-conditioners could become damaged by water intrusion, and the cost of repairing such equipment could be prohibitive. Even without such expensive equipment, lighting, elevators, and security equipment could suffer when unanticipated moisture penetrates into a commercial building to cause damage.
If you don’t have a professional waterproofing consulting service examine your commercial building periodically, and conducting a water intrusion inspection, it’s entirely possible that long-term problems like the growth of toxic mold could be occurring. This can cause health issues for any of the building occupants, especially those who already have respiratory issues. Due to these factors, it is very important for most businesses to periodically conduct a water intrusion detection process, ideally carried out by a water intrusion expert.
Typical Types of Water Intrusion Issues
Over a long period of time, some of the most common issues associated with water intrusion in commercial buildings have been identified and categorized. As you might have expected, one of the most frequently occurring water intrusion scenarios is when there is leakage through the roofing system of a commercial building. The real danger of this is that the leak can go undetected for a longer period of time, because it is hidden from view by ceiling panels which have been installed, or by HVAC equipment which is placed above the area of occupancy.
Leaks in drain pipes are also a common problem, as are sewage backups which create biohazard situations, and could be severe enough to require evacuations of occupants. Sometimes the water supply piping from a city or town can become ruptured, and that will cause a high volume of water to be dispensed in a commercial building, most likely with a significant cleanup necessary.
One of the more subtle types of water intrusion that can occur is when there is moisture intrusion which takes place in one or more places around the building envelope. This can happen when humid air from outside is pulled in through gaps or cracks in the building structure. It’s very easy for dampness to form and accumulate in such areas as unventilated floors or service areas, and in wall voids, since these typically don’t see much air circulation, and the water can just accumulate from there.
Then of course, there are also the more spectacular scenarios of water intrusion which can include hurricanes, floods, overflowing of nearby rivers and streams, significant snow meltoff, or even just severe rainstorms which strike a particular region. All these represent very possible scenarios which can develop into water intrusion situations for your commercial building.
Water Intrusion Prevention
Most of the various types of water intrusions which might affect a commercial building will fall into one of two categories: internal or external. External causes are those which come from outside the building, such as heavy rains or flooding, whereas internal causes might be leaky plumbing or moisture which develops in dark areas with little circulation.
Regardless of how moisture intrudes on your commercial building, there are some steps you can take to prevent it, so you don’t experience costly water intrusion repair bills, and so that your building does not produce health hazards for the occupants. It can be very helpful to have a water intrusion specialist inspect your premises periodically in order to determine that the built-in systems are functioning properly.
As an example, drains and gutters should be cleaned regularly so they can transport all moisture away from roofing, and roof flashings and sealants should be properly maintained as well. Proper drainage should be in place around your building, and there should be new gaskets installed on windows and doors periodically to prevent moisture penetration.
Plumbing systems should be inspected regularly for any sign of failure or worn out parts, and signs of staining or discoloration should be examined promptly to determine their causes. Proper drainage from all HVAC equipment should also be verified, so that water accumulation doesn’t occur around the system itself.
In order for you to respond quickly to any identified water intrusion, you will need to have a plan prepared for such situations, so that you can act quickly to limit any damage which might occur. Part of your plan should be to identify the source as quickly as possible, so that the source can be stopped, and no further water intrusion will take place.
Most people don’t feel qualified to investigate sources of water intrusion like this, so they prefer to leave it to the experts. This method is in fact one of the best ways to ensure that you have identified all sources of water intrusion, and that they have been properly addressed, so that there will be no further damage. A qualified professional will generally survey the entire commercial building with a moisture meter and an infrared camera, so that nothing will be missed.
All water-related activities will be documented and treated in the most effective way possible. Naturally, all instances of water intrusion will then be repaired in a manner which prevents any further damage, and discourages any recurrence of the water intrusion.
Water intrusions should be taken seriously, because they can cause major damage to a commercial building, and can raise serious health issues for the occupants. Your best bet for identifying and remediating water intrusion issues is to engage the services of a water intrusion specialist, so you can be sure that nothing is overlooked. With modern equipment and years of knowledge and experience, a water intrusion expert can keep your commercial building free of unwanted moisture intrusions, so both the building and its occupants will be unaffected.