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Fire & Water - Cleanup & Restoration

Top 5 Causes of Commercial Property Damage and How to Prevent Them

6/29/2021 (Permalink)

surveillance camera in a store aisle. Commercial property damage is almost inevitable in the many ways it can occur. However, there are ways to reduce the amount of damage done.

Even though residential and commercial properties are both at risk of property damage, how to prevent either from happening will be two different experiences. Businesses have to protect their merchandise, employees, storefront, and everything in between, whereas homeowners, must protect their families, their homes, and personal belongings. 

This doesn’t go to say that commercial properties have more at stake than residential properties. However, it does mean that the steps they have to take to prevent damage from occurring can be more tedious than those protecting their homes. 

Let’s take a closer look at the top five reasons why damage to commercial property occurs and how to prevent it. 

1. Theft and Burglary

Unfortunately, business theft and burglary aren’t uncommon. One study conducted found that external theft and shoplifting make up 35.5% of lost sales. Another study surveying 24 different shoplifters discovered that 29% of them found it was “very easy” to steal from a business. In fact, 8.8% of small businesses were victims of burglary in 2016.

The difference between theft and burglary is easy to identify. Theft is “the act of stealing” or “an unlawful taking,” whereas burglary is “the act of breaking and entering a dwelling at night to commit a felony (such as theft).” However, it is important to note that burglary can happen at any time of the day, not just at night. 

Those who burglarize a business often leave behind commercial property damage. Luckily there are ways to prevent damage to your commercial property caused by thieves and burglars.  

What to Do About It

Here are burglary prevention tips that every commercial property owner should know:

  • Double-check that every entry point is locked before closing down for the day;
  • Hide your safe in a secure location;
  • Install more light fixtures around your building; 
  • Invest in more security cameras both in and outside of your business;
  • Keep track of the keys/only let trusted personnel have access to the keys;
  • Keep the premises tidy;
  • Move valuable inventory away from the windows;
  • Replace traditional glass in the windows and doors with shatterproof glass.

Another way to deter burglars is by giving people the illusion that someone is still occupying the building. This can be done by posting a photo of you in the building after hours on your social media or leaving a light on. 

2. Water Damage

If your commercial property is an area that is prone to storms and flooding, then you may be all too familiar with water damage. Even using too much water in your facility can cause leaks, drainage issues, and water spillage. This is why it’s important to take preventative measures and limit your building’s water consumption by investing in commercial water-saving technology. 

If your property has already been impacted by water damage, then you may want to consider looking into flooding and water damage restoration services. Doing so not only improves the appearance of your building but can help prevent these issues from occurring in the future as well. 

What to Do About It

You can’t prevent storms from happening, but you can prepare your business for the next case of extreme weather. This includes:

  • Installing safety systems like structural support, surge protectors, storm shutters, and backup generators;
  • Securing important documents in a high and dry location;
  • Communicating with employees and customers if your store is not safe;
  • Having easy access to details of your company’s insurance policy. 

Educating your employees on your business’s continuity plan is another great way to help them understand how to recover from a natural disaster

3. Smoke/Fire Damage

There are multiple ways in which a fire may break out in your business — kitchen fires, fires outside of your business, or even electrical fires. Structural damage, smoke/soot damage to the walls, scorch marks, and a lingering smell of smoke can cause business owners to shut down until the fire damage restoration process is complete. Which, depending on the severity of the damage, can take days or even weeks. This is why it is crucial to have fire safety protocols set in place. 

What to Do About It 

As a business owner, it is your duty to create an emergency plan that helps you prepare for unexpected occurrences such as fires. Some things to consider adding to your fire safety plan include:

  • Ensuring windows can be opened and screens can be removed;
  • Frequently checking for damaged or overloaded electrical outlets, cords, and cables;
  • Keeping flammable materials away from electrical equipment;
  • Maintaining the cleanliness of the workspace and equipment;
  • Making sure smoke alarms and fire sprinklers work properly;
  • Never leave portable heating devices unattended;
  • Planning and practicing escape routes and posting them clearly around the building. 

4. Wind Damage

Wind and hail damage can be sudden, yet impactful. Fallen trees, shattered windows, and missing shingles are common results of severe wind and hail. Some insurance plans will cover the damage, but it is up to you as a business owner to set a plan in place that helps reduce the impact. 

What to Do About It

The weather itself can’t be prevented. But you can follow the below tips to help reduce the amount of damage done to your property. 

  • Educate your employees on wind and hail safety — instructing them to stay away from the windows during an intense wind storm;
  • Inspect the roof for damage after storms and make repairs as needed;
  • Install impact-resistant windows;
  • Make sure any loose equipment left outdoors is secure.

5. Vandalism

Vandalism is “damage done to someone else’s property, simply for the sake of causing damage.” Typically, those who partake in vandalism do so with the malicious intent of defacing personal property — not to steal. The most common types of vandalism that occur on commercial properties include:

  • Billboard defacement;
  • Broken windows;
  • Sign damage;
  • Spray painting;
  • Trash dumping. 

What to Do About It

The ways to prevent vandalism from happening are similar to those that can help prevent theft and/or burglary:

  • Increase the number of surveillance cameras outside of the building;
  • Repair any weaknesses in the exterior of your building (holes in fences, burnt light bulbs, and remove any foliage blocking security cameras);
  • Use anti-graffiti paint on the building’s exterior;
  • Build a great relationship with local authorities.

Not every cause of damage can be prevented, but there are ways you can reduce the amount of damage that is done. Following the steps above can help ensure that your commercial property takes on less damage — even during the biggest storms.

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