Natural disasters are a common occurrence that can cause significant damage to commercial properties. This includes wind damage, which can be caused by hurricanes, tornadoes, and severe thunderstorms. As a property manager or owner, it is essential to have a plan in place to manage and mitigate the effects of wind damage on your commercial property.
Before delving into how to manage wind damage, it is crucial to understand what exactly it is and how it can affect your commercial property. There are several types of damaging winds, including straight-line winds, tornadoes, derechos, and hurricanes. Wind damage occurs when strong winds cause physical harm to buildings and structures. This can include broken windows, damaged roofs, and even collapsed walls.
It is essential to note that the level of damage caused by wind depends on various factors such as the strength of the wind, the design and construction of the building, and the type of materials used. For example, a well-built brick structure will withstand high winds better than a weaker wooden structure.
Impact of Wind Damage on Commercial Properties
Wind damage can have a significant impact on commercial properties and can result in costly repairs, loss of income, and even complete loss of the property. For businesses operating out of these properties, wind damage can also cause disruptions to their operations, resulting in financial losses. The costs that follow a windstorm can include debris removal, roofing replacements, siding repairs, and more.
Aside from physical damage to the building itself, wind damage can also lead to other issues such as water and mold damage. When high winds break windows and cause roof damage, it can create openings for rainwater to enter the building, leading to potential water damage and mold growth. Similarly, when a commercial property is unprepared for severe weather, the results can impact adjacent buildings, utilities, and other property.
Managing Wind Damage
With the potential for significant consequences of wind damage on commercial properties, it is crucial to have a well-defined plan in place to manage and mitigate its effects. Here are some steps that property managers and owners can take to prepare for and handle wind damage:
Conduct routine property inspections to identify any weak spots or maintenance needs that could make the building more vulnerable to wind damage. The siding and windows can be especially vulnerable to wind damage, so it is important to ensure that these portions of a commercial building are securely attached.
Keep trees, shrubs, and other landscaping well-maintained, as they can become hazardous during high winds if not properly cared for.
Have an emergency response plan in place that includes procedures for securing the property, evacuation protocols, and communication plans.
Invest in wind-resistant building materials and design elements when constructing or renovating a commercial property.
Have adequate insurance coverage that specifically includes damage caused by wind events.
If your property is damaged by wind, ensure that the damage is properly documented to avoid any confusion with the insurance company.
Stay informed about severe weather forecasts and warnings to be prepared for potential windstorms.
If your company also owns vehicles, it is important to ensure that these are also protected from potential wind damage by storing them inside or away from trees during an approaching storm.
Checking for Wind Damage
Early identification and repair of wind damage is crucial, as dislodged and damaged elements have the potential to spread over a significant distance, even if they are initially secured properly. It is imperative to address these issues promptly to prevent further complications. Wind damage can occur indirectly from the impact of wind-borne debris, or directly from the pressure that the wind itself exerts.
Direct wind damage typically occurs at windward corners and edges of commercial properties, as these portions are typically subject to a higher degree of pressure. Direct wind damage can be identified through the peeling of roofing materials, or through wind scouring. Wind scoring occurs when the granules of the roof member are pulled off. Although wind scouring can be hard to spot initially, it can seriously impact the life of a commercial roof.
Indirect wind damage can include the penetration of water through a roof opening or window, and it may be necessary to conduct a full property inspection to accurately assess the extent of this type of damage. It is important to note that even if wind damage seems insignificant at first, it should not be left unaddressed as it can quickly worsen over time.
In conclusion, managing wind damage on a commercial property requires proper planning and preparation. As a property manager or owner, it is essential to understand the impact of wind damage and take necessary precautions to minimize potential damage. By staying informed about severe weather events, conducting routine inspections, and having an emergency response plan in place, you can protect your commercial property from the potentially devastating effects of wind damage.
COMING SOON: Current and prospective property owners should also be aware of the wind damage risk in their location to ensure that they can properly prepare for a damaging wind event. LandGate’s free property report and LandApp Subscription will soon provide Straight-Line Wind Risk analysis metrics for any U.S. property.