Commercial properties of every type and size have one thing common: The need for regular maintenance. If you don’t take the time to perform routine checks of your property, something that’s a minor problem now could turn into a full-blown emergency later. Here are some tips for what to include in your property’s routine maintenance, which could save you thousands in repairs.
1) Scout Out Your Roof
Texas weather – from hail and high winds to frequent thunderstorms – can wreak havoc on a roof. Regular (monthly and after any major weather event) roof inspection will help you catch minor issues before they become major ones.
To perform an internal roof inspection, check the attic and ceilings for leaks, stains, rot, or any signs of daylight. Externally, you’ll want to check all vents to make sure they still fit, look for signs of standing water, and whether HVAC hoses and pipes show gaps in their connections where they enter your building. Make sure your shingles are all firmly attached, not chipped or torn in any way, and still retain their outer coating/treatment. Be sure to also check for clogged gutters which can lead to overflows that damage your roof, paint and landscaping.
2) Check Your Plumbing Before There’s a Problem
Any exposed water pipes should be checked annually for leaks and proper insulation, especially before the first freeze of winter. Be sure and wrap them if they will be exposed to multiple freezing nights. In addition to costly plumbing repairs, faulty pipes can wreck your foundation, landscaping, and even contribute towards mold and rot.
3) Have Your HVAC Inspected Annually
With the extremes in temperature we experience in Texas, our HVAC units work harder than those in other climates. Periodic (per your unit’s guidelines) filter inspection and replacement will ensure that your HVAC system is operating optimally. If your system seems to be on all the time in the summer, you may want to have it inspected by a technician to see if the system could be better balanced. Additionally, your technician can suggest if the system needs a new thermostat, or even additional units to help with the cooling capacity of your property. The Air Conditioning Contractors of America (ACCA) have provided a convenient PDF checklist of what to go over with your inspector here.
4) Inspect Your Doors & Windows
Air leaks are the number one reason for cooling/heating energy loss—particularly during the summer when the cold air inside leaks outdoors through cracks, crevices and failed seals. Careful inspection of your caulking and weather-stripping is a simple preventative measure that could save you thousands in excess energy bills. Perform a visual inspection of all places where different building materials intersect to determine air leaks.
Windows and door frames are common culprits: If they rattle or daylight seeps around them, they may require caulking, weather-stripping or replacement.
5) Walk Your Landscape Regularly
Large tree branches and limbs can become serious issues for your roof if they’re close to your structure. Trim trees and bushes back from buildings to minimize risk.
The condition and health of large trees and limbs should also be inspected to determine if they’re likely to break and fall during strong winds. If your property contains many large trees, the services of a certified arborist might be in order. The International Society of Arboriculture has a great tool for finding one
6) Double Check Your Electrical/Alarm Systems
According to the U.S. Fire Administration, electrical issues, including electrical, heating, appliance, and equipment malfunctions, are one of the top causes of fires in non-residential buildings, accounting for 24.5% of all reported fires .
An annual inspection by a professional electrician can ensure your wiring, breakers and appliances are in good working order. Additionally, most inspectors can check your building’s smoke alarms and fire retardant systems. The value of such an inspection goes without saying, but a simple walkthrough and test can thwart disaster down the road.
7) Don’t Forget Your Foundation!
Inspect the exterior foundation of your property for visible cracks as well as cracks between bricks, cracks in the mortar, and separation between adjoining walls, which could indicate trouble. Inside, if you notice windows and doors that aren’t working properly, cracks where walls and ceilings meet, or any irregularities in your flooring such as cracks, warping or sloping, you might be looking at potential foundation issues.
We at Perma-Pier understand the time and resources required for effective commercial property management. Let us take #7 off your maintenance checklist! If you’re a property manager or commercial building owner in need of a foundation inspection, get in touch with us to receive a no charge evaluation where we’ll help address any issues head on.