How to Protect a Vacant Building During COVID-19
Managing commercial properties during the COVID-19 crisis is a challenge. Buildings from schools to offices to churches currently sit empty. A vacant property is vulnerable to theft, vandalism and property damage. The challenge with a vacant building is that any damage can go overlooked for an extended period of time. All commercial building managers must take extra precautions to protect their real estate assets. Thinking of things such as security, inspection processes, utility management and grounds maintenance will go a long way in preventing unnecessary property damage during the COVID-19 crisis.
Ensure that the Building Does Not Look Vacant
A building that looks empty can be like an invitation for vandals and thieves. Keep the exterior of the building, including the doorway and walkway, clear of any debris, leaves or trash. The parking lot should also be cleared and landscaping maintained. Inspect exterior lighting for proper functionality. If the building will be vacant for an extended period, notify your local police of this. If they notice any suspicious activity when out on patrol, they will immediately know that this needs to be addressed. If the building contains expensive equipment you may want to hire a security guard to patrol the area, particularly during the nighttime hours.
Fire and Flood Risk Increases in Vacant Buildings
A building that is empty has an increased risk for a fire or flood, as problems will go unnoticed for some time. If there are any toxic/flammable substances on-site, these should be removed or properly contained prior to vacating the building. Unplug all non-essential electrical devices. If possible, you may want to shut water supply lines to sinks and toilets. This will help prevent floods due to a leaky pipe. Inspect the fire sprinkler system and ensure proper operation of alarm systems. Any known building issues should be repaired as well, such as a roof leak or foundation crack.
It is always a good idea to stop by a vacated property at least once a week if not more frequently. Ensure that the outside of the building looks okay and has not been tampered with. This is a good time to remove any fallen debris. Walk through the inside of the building, checking for any unusual smells or small puddles and excessive moisture.
If your vacant property does experience a fire or flood, the restoration professionals at Soil-Away are here to help. With teams on call 24/7, Soil-Away can be reached at 603-641-6555.
This article was composed utilizing the most current information available at the time it was written by resources such as the CDC and EPA. The COVID-19 pandemic is a rapidly evolving situation. Please understand that information and best practices are constantly being updated by health and government officials. Everything in this article is subject to change. Soil-Away is making every effort to support your facility needs at this time and will continue to monitor changes and adjust its best practices as new information becomes available. At this time, Soil-Away is cleaning facilities by applying EPA List-N approved disinfectants. Clients who engage with Soil-Away understand that no guarantees can be made about cleaning and disinfecting results, and that any information provided is for the purpose of sharing information, and not for providing definitive advice.