Why is property insurance important? You know the answer: if a fire destroys your Fort Lauderdale business, you need money to start over. Why is hurricane preparedness important? You may not know the answer to that. Every business owner or facilities manager knows the risk of fire, but what are the risks with hurricanes? How can you be ready for what you cannot control? Consider a checklist so you do not overlook anything. Put these items on that checklist.
Hurricane preparedness for any Fort Lauderdale business begins with assessing your physical plant. If your infrastructure is weak, your company’s viability is at risk.
One of the weakest links in infrastructure is the roof-wall connection. Hurricanes produce enormous changes in air pressure. These high-speed winds can tear a low-slope roof off a structure as easily as a can opener peels off a lid. The air pressure issue is part of the reason Florida building codes have been updated for hurricane zones.
Rather than trying to decipher the codes yourself, turn these questions over to your roofer. They should know the most current codes and insurance industry requirements.
In addition to having your roofer update your roof, your facilities crew needs to consider other ways to have the roof ready for a true test of its strength.
- Remove loose materials
- Check and secure all mechanical fastenings
- Inspect for overhanging obstructions like tree branches; remove as needed
Your facilities crew, good as they are, may not be qualified to judge the strength of attachment points of everything on your low-slope roof. Contact your local commercial roofer for a thorough, hands-on inspection before hurricane season.
Fix It Now
Consider accelerating your maintenance schedule so you are ready for hurricane season if:
- You are close to an annual inspection.
- Your facilities crew has plans to perform needed roof repairs in the months ahead.
Enlist the help of your local commercial roofer to perform roof repairs. Add a protective waterproof coating. Check for signs of water infiltration.
Your facilities crew should check inside the building for potential leaks around windows. In the blazing Fort Lauderdale sun, exterior caulking is vulnerable to ultraviolet radiation. Exteriors of windows and door openings require special attention.
A living roof — also known as a green roof or rooftop garden — calls for a different approach.
Small trees in large containers may need removal. You could consider trimming branches back so they will not catch the wind. Remove all furniture and accessories to lower levels.
Have your roofing contractor inspect and secure all green roof flashing. Drainage is especially important, as green roofs can clog internal drains, scuppers, and gutters.
With the frequent watering most living roofs need, rust is also a concern. Get your local roofing contractor to inspect any metal for rust. Rust weakens the metal against hurricane winds.
Paperwork in Order
Hurricane preparedness is not just a facility and infrastructure issue. Inside, you need to have all your records and documents safely secured. This includes documents related to roofing work, such as warranties, invoices, and work orders.
These papers help reconstruct the trail of evidence, should you need to make an insurance claim for wind or water damage.
At a separate location, keep backup copies of inventory spreadsheets, payroll information, and other vital data. Take an updated inventory of stock, office equipment, floor machinery, and anything else inside your building which could sustain damage in a storm. Replacement is easier if you know what you actually have.
Consult your local insurance agent to make sure you have enough coverage. It should cover both your building and its contents. Having a roof in good repair, recently inspected, and maintained by a commercial roofer, can help with your rates. Your building poses less of a risk to insure if you can prove conscientious upkeep.
In some areas of Fort Lauderdale, flood insurance makes economic sense, too. Remember, your commercial property supports the lives of your employees, many of your customers, and even third-party vendors. Your roof protects your business, so invest in protecting your roof. The next big hurricane is not far off.
PSI Roofing is your local, experienced commercial roofing contractor. We have the equipment and people ready to help you prepare for and endure Florida’s worst weather. We restore commercial roofs up to the most current code and insurance industry requirements. Contact us today to learn more hurricane readiness tips and to see how we can protect your business.