It may be an old saying, but it holds true: An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. When it comes to the health of your commercial property, the savings from regular inspection and maintenance can climb into the tens of thousands of dollars.
While there are many things a property manager can do on his or her own, remember that like our own physical health, in some cases it is better to seek the advice of a professional. Here are some of the major systems and features of a commercial property you should inspect regularly:
Roof and Gutters
First, what type of roof do you have? Is your roof made of shingles, metal, membrane or other systems (such as a “green” or “living roof”)? Each type of roof has its own unique benefits and drawbacks. Check for:
Any noticeable gaps in coverage (between shingles or sheets), as well as any wind or hail damage. Any irregularity in the patterns of your roofing material should be inspected.
Look for any water that isn’t draining properly. Pooling water can lead to rot and rust.
Inspect all gaskets where vents, chimneys and HVAC connections enter the building. Some leaks are only hairline in size, but can allow gallons of water into your building.
Make sure your gutters clear of debris and hung at a proper angle so that water drains completely. If they aren’t operating properly, they can leave pools of water to stagnate, cause rot, or serve as a breeding ground for mosquitos.
A thorough roof inspection, external and internal to check for leaks, mold, or gaps, should be conducted at least once a year. The GSA has a great checklist for various roof types here and what to look for.
Perimeter Gates and Fences
In addition to keeping your property secure, the aesthetics of a gate or perimeter wall are only as strong as the weakest link. Check for:
Any section of fencing that is sagging, bent or in some other way compromised.
Access pads (for entering gated communities, apartment complexes, etc.) should be well-lit, easy to read, and fully functional.
Inspect your gates and fences to see if they need fresh paint or powerwashing to remove any dirt/mildew/graffiti.
Often these are the first impressions the outside world receives of your property – and the first and last things your tenants see when entering and leaving your property. Keeping these in good working order and aesthetically pleasing are high-priority and should be a part of your monthly property maintenance.
More than just pretty flowers, well-maintained landscaping adds actual value to your property, can reduce utility costs, and prevent erosion and foundation damage. Some things to look out for:
Sprinkler systems are notorious for blowing off a head (or getting struck by an errant lawnmower) and leaking water everywhere – or worse, getting clogged and not watering a large section of your grounds.
Inspect large trees for potentially weak branches that might need to be cut before they fall (on a tenant’s car or worse)!
Make sure all trees are pruned far enough from your roof to prevent any contact damage in the event of a storm or high winds.
While a good landscaping crew will alert you to such issues, it is good practice for you as a property manager to “walk the property” yourself each week.
No one wants to do it, but it has to be done. Some items to inspect:
Toilets that might not be flushing as they should.
Sinks that are draining slower than usual.
Exterior pipes that seem corroded.
For a more thorough inspection of your property’s plumbing systems, a licensed plumbing inspector can perform a full battery of tests to give you an accurate snapshot of your property’s plumbing health. Check out the Texas State Board of Plumbing Examiners to see if your plumber is state-certified.
In 2011, an estimated 16,400 non-home structure fires reported to U.S. fire departments involved some type of electrical failure or malfunction as a factor contributing to ignition. As with your building’s plumbing system, there are some basic things you can do as property manager:
Check for burnt-out bulbs
Look out for any exposed wires and have an electrician address them immediately.
Know the location of your fuse box and regularly inspect it for blown fuses, breakers that keep tripping, and the like.
For an in-depth inspection of your electrical system, a licensed electrician should be sought out for this area of your property maintenance.
Every aspect of your commercial property counts on your foundation. Without it, you don’t have a property. A vigilant eye and simple inspection can go a long way toward protecting your foundation and catching a small problem before it becomes a larger one. Here are some things you can do:
Inspect the exterior of your property for visible cracks in the foundation itself.
Check for cracks between bricks, cracks along the mortar and separation between adjoining walls.
Inside, check for any windows and doors that aren’t working properly.
Look for cracks where walls and ceilings meet.
Note any irregularities in your flooring such as warping or sloping.
Any of these may indicate potential foundation issues.
Of course, you can also contact Perma-Pier today to schedule a no charge evaluation of your foundation today.