What Are the Commercial Building Services Needed to Take Care of My Building?

Running and managing commercial properties requires specialized care and attention, especially building maintenance and repairs. Routine and emergency facilities maintenance and repair services remain in high demand. Maintenance collaboration and service coordination can help ensure facilities are properly managed and maintained when things are good and when things aren’t so good. Valcourt does all the work of facilities management and commercial building maintenance using their staff of highly skilled and experienced professionals. They work to provide services for commercial buildings and high-rise building maintenance services that have remained in high demand for many years.

According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration’s (EIA) 2018 Commercial Buildings Energy Consumption Survey, an estimated 6 million U.S. commercial buildings contained 97 billion square feet total as of 2018. The number of commercial buildings requiring routine maintenance and upkeep increased by 6%, and commercial square footage increased by 11% since the prior CBECS in 2012. The number of commercial properties has continued to grow, though some estimate at a slower rate than in previous years. People spend nearly 80–90% of their time in commercial buildings, whether for work, errands, or dwelling. Building managers constantly look for ways to improve maintenance and upkeep operations to make their lives easier and to improve the lives of workers, tenants, and the general public. Here is why commercial building maintenance companies remain in high demand in 2022.

Damages Caused by Neglected High Rise and Commercial Building Maintenance 

Many issues can arise when building maintenance and repairs get ignored. Increased risk of property damages, injuries, fires, collapses, leaks, electrical problems, system failures, and more can arise and quickly worsen without proper inspection and maintenance of commercial buildings and properties. Severe injuries and even death can occur from seemingly minor issues that go unchecked and unaddressed for long periods, as highlighted by a 2019 article by the New York Post:

A woman was killed in a freak accident in late 2019 when a chunk of building facade fell off a Midtown tower and struck her. Police pulled city building records which showed that the property was cited a few months earlier for “failure to maintain exterior building facade and appurtenances.” Building inspectors also noted “damaged terra cotta at areas above 15th floor in several locations which pose a falling hazard for pedestrians.” Management never did the work necessary to correct the issue and repair the facade, leading to some falling away and killing pedestrians as they passed by below. 

These are often called “freak accidents” because they happen at random. Still, they occur more frequently as building maintenance continually falls to budget cuts, poor financial planning, and inefficient commercial building management. When building management needs arise, it is time to take swift action.

Common Areas of Concern For Commercial Building Structure Violations

Keeping up with commercial building management and repair often comes down to knowing and following codes and regulations that facility management teams must follow. Building codes can be somewhat of a double-edged sword for commercial property owners. 

On the one hand, they require time, money, labor, and resource to follow and maintain. On the other hand, building codes help provide a guideline to ensure commercial properties are properly maintained and remain safe.  

Watching for damage and degradation signs is crucial building maintenance and management. Here are a few of the most common areas facility management teams should focus on when dealing with commercial property maintenance:

Means of Egress

The means of egress building code is a vital one for overall property safety and security. It deals with the number of exits a commercial building must have, the minimum width of aisles, hallways, doorways, and other evacuation route specifications. Maintenance in these areas is critical and a top priority.

Air Sealing of Penetrations 

All commercial buildings have entry and exit points for plumbing, wiring, and other systems. The proper sealing of these points relates to the energy codes needed for commercial buildings. It is also important to control air and water penetration and ensure air quality remains high for those inside the building. 

Fire Blocking

Fire blocking is another vital aspect of maintenance and upkeep within commercial properties as it helps prevent the spread of fire through the concealed, open cavities in the building.

Flashing Install

Commercial roof flashing is also essential and needs proper installation and regular maintenance. Flashing on roofs and wall structures keeps the building dry and durable, preventing water intrusion, corroding, decay, and moisture damage. 

Erosion Control

Building codes also have considerations for maintaining proper erosion control around commercial properties. Rainwater from downspouts, as well as flow from neighboring property and natural lands, must be managed to ensure foundations are not compromised. Careful monitoring and fast repairs are essential for structural integrity.

Drainage Controls

Many state regulations and building codes state that all commercial roofs, decks, balconies, and other structures should have a properly installed and maintained drainage system. Drainage control can often involve secondary or emergency overflow drain systems that must be maintained and repaired regularly.

Handrail Height or Spacing

Having the proper handrail and guard railing height and spacing is integral to building safety and is a common location for maintenance repairs and upgrades and areas of safety concerns.

Stair Rise and Run

Likewise, stairs must be maintained and kept in good condition, ensuring no cracks or chips, no missing steps, and all stairs remain spaced and aligned correctly.

ADA Compliance

The final area that many commercial property managers must focus on, with the help of facility maintenance service companies, is ensuring adherence to ADA compliance regulations. From wheelchair accessibility to keeping aisles and hallways safe to navigate, building managers must ensure all visitors are safe while visiting or using the property. 

Types of Commercial Property Maintenance FM Teams Need to Consider When Planning Services

There are two primary areas of commercial property management that facility maintenance teams need to focus on- Hard Facilities Management (Hard FM) and Soft Facilities Management (Soft FM). 

  • Hard FM deals with physical assets related to the building and includes things such as plumbing, wiring, facade, sidewalks, elevators, heating and cooling, windows and doors, and the like.
  • Soft FM focuses on the less tangible side of facilities management and includes tasks performed by people on the building, such as custodial services, building security, landscaping, trash and cleaning services, and the all-important repair and maintenance work services.

Specific Commercial Property Maintenance Areas of Concern

Proper management, repair, and maintenance of commercial buildings must not get overlooked. To do so can be disastrous and lead to significant financial loss for property owners and managers. According to a June 2022 release from NPR, “A Florida judge has approved a $1.2 billion settlement for unit owners and families of those who died in the collapse of a condo tower in Surfside last year. It was finalized one day before the anniversary of the disaster in which 98 people died.” This catastrophe  is just one example of how putting off maintenance and repair work can lead to catastrophic problems. Building managers and property owners can avoid these issues and significantly reduce their risks of costly damages by including the following areas in their routine inspection, maintenance, and repair routines:

  • High Rise Window Cleaning – Maintinting windows involved more than just keeping up with washing and cleaning. Windows should get inspected for cracks and loose glass panes often and will also need checks for caulking, sealants, shade coats, and more. 
  • Waterproofing – A large part of building repair and facility management is envelope maintenance. Waterproofing roofs, sealing building facades, and performing moisture and airflow checks all play into keeping a building waterproof and tight.
  • Rapid Leak Investigation and Repair – Small leaks can quickly grow into big leaks and cause significant building integrity and safety problems. Building maintenance experts’ rapid detection and repair services are critical to keeping structures safe.
  • Fall Protection Systems & Roof Anchors –  Commercial buildings can be dangerous to work on, so fall protection systems must be in good working order. Roof anchor systems must be code compliant and inspected regularly.
  • Safety Systems – Vital safety systems such as fire escapes, stairwells, entry and exit points, and so forth must be well maintained. All systems must be in good condition, code compliant, accessible, and easy to use without undue risks or concerns.
  • Facade Maintenance & Repair – As already seen, neglecting facade maintenance and storage can lead to expensive and even deadly consequences. In commercial building facades, cracks and loose mortar need quick and professional servicing.

Commercial building owners and managers have a lot to keep track of and monitor, and on-demand building repair services can help make the entire process easier. Keeping these critical areas at the top of building maintenance and repair checklists can save time and money in the long run and ensure commercial properties stay safe and operational.

Partner With the Best Commercial Building Maintenance Company Today

There is no denying the importance of proper commercial building maintenance and repair services and what can go wrong when minor issues are allowed to grow into significant problems. Investing in reliable, high-quality commercial property maintenance services is always worthwhile. Contact A1orange today to get started and to see how quality commercial property maintenance and repair can make a difference for your business or property.

The Role of Rooftop Anchors & Systems for a Building’s Fall Protection system

All manner of roof work and exterior work can present safety risks as part of on-demand building repair work. The simple task of replacing shingles, tarps, or washing windows on a four-story building can result in a fatal fall. Something as seemingly innocent as a strong gust of wind can lead to a trip and fall from a roof, scaffolding, or other precarious perches. 

An example of this was on a terrifying display in Florida in December 2021 when workers cleaning a high-rise building were left hanging high in the air. A partial scaffolding collapse at Hallandale Beach High Rise saw two workers rescued after dangling from their harness lifelines. Both workers escaped severe injury due to the harness and anchor systems that were up to code and operational.

Regulations passed and updated by OSHA regarding standards for fall protection help ensure workers have as safe a work environment as possible. Employers must provide adequate safety gear and equipment and ensure commercial buildings get appropriately outfitted with a roof anchor system. Falls are one of the leading causes of traumatic and fatal workplace injuries in the United States. However, adequately utilized roof anchors and an up-to-date fall protection system can significantly reduce these risks and eliminate fall injuries and deaths. 

What are Rooftop Anchors? 

Rooftop anchors are straightforward yet vital components of any high-rise building safety system. They help establish rooftop anchor systems and fall prevention methods that offer enhanced fall protection and increase the safety of your building. It is essential to conduct rooftop anchor inspections and meet regulations and various certifications so any commercial property is compliant and free from liability should something go wrong.

As OSHA training materials on fall prevention highlighted, “Preventing falls can mean the difference between life and death. Hundreds of workers die from falls each year. [Mangamenet] can prevent such deaths by planning to get the job done safely, providing the right fall protection equipment, and training all workers to use the equipment safely. ….Workers perform tasks at a height that requires protection from fall hazards. Having a serious injury or death occur at work affects everyone at a worksite. A fall can occur in a split second without any time for the worker to react.” Rooftop anchor systems help prevent severe injury and death from falls from heights during maintenance and repair work on high-rise commercial buildings. 

The importance of risk management practices, appropriate gear, and reliable equipment in rooftop work is evident. Simple things like roof anchors, safety harnesses, and lead lines can make all the difference in whether or not a slip and fall or a structural issue end in severe injury or death.  Something as simple as ensuring workers wear a harness and lead securely tied to a fall arrest system anchor can keep a worker from falling to their death. 

However, as vital and mandatory as these safety features are, sometimes employers are tempted to cut corners and skirt some safety protocols. Employers must pay for this equipment and ensure the gear is appropriate for the individual worker. Every employee will need a suitable fall prevention setup; no cookie-cutter approach will do. Facility management supervisors must also ensure the proper setup and the fall prevention system remains appropriately maintained and compliant with all safety laws and regulations. This requirement can be a lot to manage. However, understanding the value of rooftop anchors and how they prevent falls/serious injuries makes it easier to absorb those expenses and keep workers safe when they leave the ground.

What Does a Roof Anchor Look Like?

At first glance, roof anchors seem simplistic, and in theory, they are. Most are simply a basic post with a u-bar attached to the top. However, looks can be deceiving, and when it comes to roof anchors, these metal posts are what stand between a worker from surviving a fall or getting killed. Several factors must come into play when designing and manufacturing a roof anchor. Worker weight, use and location, and workplace applications all impact what style, size, and design anchors are best suited for any building or use.

What is a Roof Anchor Used For?

Rooftop anchors are a vital part of a building’s fall protection system and usually come standard on any skyscraper or high-rise roof system. Anchor points are commonly found on the roof and are used to connect lanyards, lifelines, and other forms of tie-offs. Sometimes, additional anchors are required to accommodate workers and other systems such as scaffolding, lifts, and other equipment. The same anchor that would work for roof repair might not necessarily be the best for window washing or facade repair work. Likewise, a worker who is six foot six would need a different harness and fall prevention setup than a coworker who is only five foot three. Knowing proper anchor system usage is closely tied to matching the right approach to the right team member.

Methods of Creating an Anchor Point

When looking at fall prevention systems setups for high-rise repair and maintenance work, there are three basic ways to make an anchor point to accommodate required commercial building maintenance work.

1. Using a Jamb Anchor

This anchor point often mounts on a work area’s window frame or doorframe. They are easy to install and function in other areas where similar applications are possible. These are simple to obtain and install but are bulky and somewhat difficult to move.

2. Using a Sling

A polyester web strap—often called a Pass-Thru anchor or strap—can help secure workers during high-rise building work. These commonly use fixed points such as a rafter, a chimney, crossbar, I-Beam,  or other solid and approved anchor access points.

3. Using Fixed Points

Numerous fixed anchor points exist in construction, repair, maintenance, and commercial building upkeep. These styles are safe and readily available, making them the most common and accessible of today’s fall prevention anchor systems.

What Are Roof Anchor Systems? 

How many anchor systems are there, and how can anyone tell which one is best? These are common questions many facility managers have when it comes to addressing fall risks and ensuring proper safety system, anchor points, and personal safety equipment is available to all workers. There are three basic types of anchor systems for fall protection: 

  1. Designed Fixed Support – load-rated anchors specifically designed and permanently installed with the explicit intention of use with fall prevention and safety system setups.
  2. Temporary Fixed Support – anchor systems that connect to the structure according to the approved fixation process and using only certified safety materials.
  3.  Existing Structural Features or Equipment – locations not intended as anchor points but verified as having adequate capacity to serve as safe and anchor points for a time.

How Many Anchor Points Are Necessary?

This question comes up frequently among facility management teams and work staff. There is no one size fits all answer. Minimum numbers of anchor access and fall prevention points depend on several factors. Anchor locations must help reduce the risk of a worker hookup becoming suspended by their harness and lines or from flashing into walls, commercial glass windows, or other structures. The ultimate goal should be to keep workers on the roof, scaffolding, lifts, and other solid footings.

A swing over the roof’s edge creates an entirely different set of challenges and an urgent rescue timeline.  Suspension trauma is a real thing. Depending on how the worker falls and is left hanging and how long they are handing for, injuries can range from internal bleeding, breathing difficulties, spinal injuries, and more. Utilamntely, it is meant to be a fall prevention system. Saving a worker from hitting the ground is well and good, but keeping them from falling off any structure, to begin with, is the number one priority when considering commercial maintenance tips. 

Determining how many anchor points are necessary depends on how facility manners answer one question: How many anchors will it take to immediately and safely perform the task of the day?  The number deemed necessary to ensure worker safety, reasonably accommodate work, and provide a safe work environment is the minimum that should be available at any time.

Anchor System Types — Sub Categories to Know

Anchor points as a whole fall into these even more specified classifications, which can further assist building management teams in selecting the proper setup for any commercial high-rise safety and fall prevention needs:

  • Non-Engineered – Simply put, non-engineered anchors have not undergone manufacturing or inspection by a qualified person. These anchor points may include attachment points installed after the fact to existing structures such as roofs, ledges, facades, and other appropriate attachment points. They must meet OSHA’s 5,000-pound weight-bearing requirement and be carefully examined before each use to ensure they are in good working order and have no signs of wear and tear.
  • Engineered – These anchor points come installed specifically for fall protection and get installed as part of the original building plan and creation. They meet all safety requirements and regulations and should also be routinely checked and inspected along with all other safety system components.
  • Permanent – As their name suggests, you cannot move permanent anchor points. These fixtures can be non-engineered or engineered depending on when and how they got installed initially. They’re fixed permanently into the existing setup.
  • Portable – Portable anchor points are versatile and suitable for work on buildings that are either not very regular or require a lot of movement and relating during work. They can be set up quickly and easily and are ideal for temporary jobs or sites with hazards in multiple locations. Portable anchors and mare to support standard weight limits and can change location without damaging surrounding structures. 

Regardless of anchor point setup and installation, regular maintenance and inspections ensure that workers remain safe. Professional roof anchors and safety support teams will regularly check the system and analyze the current status fall protection system to improve the safety of any high-rise commercial building. 

What is Rooftop Anchorage System Assessment? 

A compliant rooftop anchorage system requires all commercial and high-rise residential buildings to remain up to code. They remain vital for ensuring workers’ safety when utilizing façade access systems to complete facility maintenance and repairs. Unfortunately, safety measures are often the first to be overlooked and neglected. Corners get cut, pennies pinched, and workers’ lives put at risk. 

Today, most commercial high-rise buildings are currently non-compliant, even if existing anchors have been previously inspected and certified. A one-time check is insufficient to keep fall prevention systems in good working order. Rooftop anchorage inspections and safety checks must occur regularly by industry leaders like Valcourt. At a bare minimum, workers should inspect all anchor points and system components before they get used. Routine inspections by certified safety experts also should be part of regular facility management and upkeep for all systems used for face repair, window washing, waterproofing, and other risky repairs and maintenance work.

Working with industry experts with a proven track record for quality, safety, and reliability can ensure roof anchor systems are code compliant and suited for use. The time and money invested in fall prevention system installation and upkeep is well worth it compared to the cost of workers’ compensation and injury claims, or worse, a wrongful death lawsuit. Working with Valcourt facility management and safety experts can ensure every commercial property is up to code and appropriate.

Roof Anchors for Fall Protection: The Legislation Requirements

Valcourt’s expert service team has the expertise to keep commercial facilities and property sites up to code and maintain 100% compliance. A skilled and experienced team of professionals will assess the existing anchor system and certifications to identify any areas needing further analysis or updating. All work done is according to OSHA and other safety standards and requirements concerning accessible and adequate safety gear and well-maintained equipment and structures.

As highlighted by Diversified Fall Protection, “There are two paths to OSHA compliance when it comes to fall protection anchorage: OSHA 1910.140(c) (13)(i) states that anchors “shall be…capable of supporting at least 5,000 pounds (22.2 kN) per employee attached.” OSHA 1910.140(c) (13)(ii) specifies that anchors shall be “Designed, installed, and used, under the supervision of qualified person, as part of a complete personal fall protection system that maintains a safety factor of at least two.…” Valcourt safety inspection experts will ensure all anchor points and fall prevention components are up to code, properly installed, well-maintained, and safe for use.

How Should You Choose an Anchor Point?

The safest option is the most desirable when choosing a fall protection anchorage. If an engineered system is available, it should be used over any non-engineered anchor point. Temporary anchor points are better than nothing. Any viable anchor point must be certified by someone who knows or can determine the load capacity and overall structural integrity of that anchor point. 

Knowing and avoiding unsafe anchor points improves the chance of a safe and appropriate fall prevention setup.  The following points should never become anchor sites with any high-rise, parking garage, or other commercial structure:

  • Standard guardrails
  • Ladders, rungs,
  • Scaffolding
  • Light fixtures
  • Plumbing
  • Conduit and wiring harnesses
  • Ductwork and pipe vents
  • Rebar
  • Lanyards
  • Handrails 
  • Vents and fans
  • Roof stacks

It is essential never to use structures or items that fail to meet OSHA standards. Doing so could be just as dangerous as not using anything at all. But all these worries and concerns fall to the wayside when you have an expert team of fall prevention and safety experts, like Valcourt, working for you and with you every step.

Contact Valcourt Building Services for Roof Anchor Fall Protection Services and Inspections 

Valcourt Building Services works with building owners and property managers to provide preventative maintenance, leak repairs, safety consulting, facility management and maintenance, and comprehensive building envelope restorations to extend the life of a structure and protect property value. Contact A1orange today to learn more and to ensure your rooftop fall protection setup is up to par.

We Have a Leak! Why Hiring an Expert Service Is Key to Avoiding Costly Damage

Owning commercial buildings comes with expenses, and the last thing an owner wants to do is pour more into facility management services. In actuality, facilities management is a service that, over time, may save your business money in the long run. Preventative maintenance is the best way to avoid costly facility repairs and stay ahead of the game with routine maintenance. 

In fact, according to Statista.com, “In 2020, the global facility management market was worth approximately 1.34 trillion U.S. dollars. Facility management involves delivering support services like cleaning, catering, accounting, and IT services for professional organizations.” Facility management is an industry that has a great future ahead. 

What Kinds of Costly Damages Are Commonly Seen?

In facility management services, costly facility repairs and damages occur at any given time. Being prepared is vital for any of these occurrences. Ensure staff is well equipped and knowledgeable on handling each specific situation, whether it is an act of mother nature or a human mishap. 

The most common types of commercial property damage claims consist of: 

  • Storm Damage – Storm damage can be highly destructive. They have the potential to destroy the entire structure, knock down trees, crack windows, cause the need for commercial glass restoration, cause damage to equipment or inventory, and even create power outages.
  • Fire Damage – Fires can be highly detrimental to the structure of a building. If not immediately contained, the entire building and its contents are in jeopardy of the fire. 
  • Water Damage – Often caused by unknown window leaks and roof leaks, water damage can be extensive.
  • Window and Door Damage – Window and door damage are not always prominent, which is why routine building maintenance services are highly recommended. Cracks can quickly turn into shattered glass. Door and window seals also pose a problem for the safety and efficiency of the building.
  • Roof Damage – Strong winds and storms cause most roof damage and are unpreventable. Normal wear and tear issues need immediate attention to avoid costly facility repairs
  • Flooring Damage – Most flooring damage on exterior plaza decks results from exposure to the elements. Interior damage is likely caused by dropping something heavy, a water leak, or a fire. 
  • Electrical Damage – Faulty wiring and storms are the leading causes of electrical damage. Routine inspection is the key to maintaining up-to-code electrical wiring. 
  • Facade/Exterior Damage – Weather is critical in exterior building damage. It is the first impression for visitors and is therefore vital in getting fixed as soon as possible. 
  • Interior Finish Damage – Typically for aesthetic purposes, these finishes can be damaged by water, fire, and storms. 

Characteristics of a Reliable Maintenance and Management Expert

Reliable maintenance and expert building management providers should be leaders in their field. Their team should be fully staffed and trained to handle any maintenance issues, routine or emergency, to avoid facility damages safely and effectively.

Some key characteristics of an expert building management team are:

  • Preparation and Preemptive – A reliable team prepares for any situation. They should also have a plan, such as a routine maintenance checklist, to help prevent issues.
  • Professional Attitude and Motives – Characteristics in facility management services to not be overlooked are confidence and professionalism. 
  • Exemplifies Leadership Skills – Taking a situation into their own hands, prioritizing, and being self-motivated are non-negotiables for facility management services
  • Open to Communication – A qualified expert building management leader should always be open to hearing all points of view to have a building’s best interest at the top of their list. 
  • Problem Solving Skills – They must be able to think critically and analytically to avoid facility damages
  • Balance of Hard and Soft Skills – A good leader can balance all aspects of the job. 
  • Motivated Problem Solver – Being self-motivated is a must. A reliable team does not sit idly by and watch things unravel.
  • Knowledgeable Industry Trends – Staying up to date on the current trends is a vital way for facility managers to help their properties stay organized and avoid costly facility repairs.
  • Technology Minded and Driven – It is 2022, and technology is unavoidable. A reliable expert must be driven by this trend and use it to their advantage. 

Benefits of Industry Experts and Customized Facility Maintenance Services

Leveraging industry expertise in facility management services and implementing emergency facilities maintenance services are benefits of using an expert. A few examples of these advantages are:

  • Improved facility safety standards
  • Higher productivity for maintenance
  • Better environment for staff and customers
  • Faster and more reliable response to issues
  • Enhanced cost and expense management

Avoid Facility Damages and Related Expenses With Expert Management Services Today

There are several key factors to consider when looking for expert facility management services. Possessing specific characteristics makes for a reliable expert in this field. Avoid damages and costly facility repairs with expert management services and contact The A1orange Group today.