The U.S. is known for being a nation friendly to business enterprises, and it is home to over 32.5 million different businesses, companies, and similar enterprises. Most of these businesses are on the smaller side, having under 500 employees and limited cash flow, but even a small business owner will work very hard to keep their commercial property in good shape. In many ways, a business is only as good as the building in which it resides, so all sorts of companies and enterprises should have regular repairs and maintenance done to them. Many of these repair jobs may be similar to those that would be done for a house, but on a larger scale. Roof repair, plumbing fixes, landscaping, commercial oval ductwork and replacement, swapping out old windows for new ones, and more can be done. So, how might these repairs for commercial property be done? And what are some commercial buildings that need particular management, or have unique needs?
General Property Care: The Roof
No building is complete without a roof, and this applies to homes and commercial properties of all sizes and shapes. A roof will not only keep out the elements (sun, rain, snow, etc) but also help keep wildlife out of the building and contribute to the climate control. The roof is a vital piece of insulation, to help keep the building warm in winter and cool in summer. But roofs can suffer damage over time, or get worn out naturally, and a damaged roof will need care.
Even if a roof doesn’t suffer particular trauma, it will expand and contract many times over the years owing to differences in temperature and humidity, and this may cause cracks and holes to appear in the wood over time. On a shingle roof, old shingles may rot and fall off, too. Meanwhile, roofs will suffer serious damage if large hail falls on them, or if a tree branch lands on the roof or if flying debris from a powerful storm strikes the roof. A lightning strike can also cause major damage to a roof. And once a roof has cracks or holes in it, then rain and melting snow can leak right in, and this intruding water will spur mold growth, warp and rot any wood it meets, damage drywall, short out electrical components inside the walls, and pool on the floor. A leaky roof may also be drafty, compromising the climate control.
A business owner should routinely check the roof of their building, especially if it’s a standalone structure with its own shingle roof. Some urgent care centers are like this, or small pet hospitals and other structures. Or it might be a workshop, or a novelty store or a piece of rental property. In any case, a damaged roof will need contractors on the scene right away, and the business owner can find local roofing contractors online and check out their websites for more information. On the scene, roofing crews can repair or replace missing tiles, and pour liquid rubber to seal up all cracks and holes (and prevent new ones from forming). Missing pieces of the roof can be replaced, such as if major trauma blasted off entire chunks at a time. Take note that if the roof was severely damaged, then emergency roofing contractors should be hired first to set up tarps and other temporary covers for the roof. Also, housing for seniors require adequate roof repair and maintenance throughout the year to control temperatures and keep residents safe and secure.
General Property Care: Air Conditioning And Ducts
Most American homes and commercial buildings are constructed with climate control systems in them; namely, air conditioning and heaters, for very warm or cool weather. Often, such systems can moderate the building’s humidity as well as its temperature. Around 90% of American homes have HVAC systems in them, and commercial buildings may not be far behind. After all, comfortable temperatures inside a business building allow the workers to concentrate, and guests will want to feel comfortable, too. Banks, schools, libraries, shopping malls, and more see a lot of guests during operation and business hours, after all.
Now, what might go wrong with a business’s air conditioning? Sometimes, mechanical failures will strike, such as if the heater’s components break or if the air ducts rupture or fall out of place. Or, the blower fans deep in the systems have broken down or shorted out, and are unable to move any air at all. More often, however, air conditioning in businesses and homes alike suffer from filth-related problems, which can be quite serious. For example, pollen, dust, and other grime or particles can cake onto the blower fans and thus reduce their output, or particles may clog up an outdoor air conditioning unit and reduce its effectiveness. Inside the air ducts, grime, particles, and bacteria will lower the air quality, and many businesses today (from offices to schools) suffer from poor air quality as a result. In fact, many studies have been done and they confirm that poor air quality (such as the presence of VOCs) will lower a person’s cognitive functions and even cause allergies among children. All of this is to be avoided at all costs.
It is one thing to clean off the wall-mounted air ducts and change furnace filters, but if the HVAC system gets grimy or damaged, it is time for a business owner to look up and hire contractors who can help. Such workers can access and clean off anything, such as the blower fans or the furnace’s inner components, and this can get the system back into working order and improve air quality. In some cases, damaged air ducts must be replaced, or if the entire system is very old, the whole thing can be overhauled. Very old HVAC systems are prone to breaking down often and weren’t even built with modern electricity efficiency standards in mind anyway. A brand new system, therefore, can pay for itself over time via its efficient energy use and its relative lack of repair or cleaning needs. The new system may also feature commercial oval ductwork.
Take note that commercial air ducts are not only more compact than the old rectangular models (and therefore can be installed nearly anywhere), but they are made with less metal and thus conserve resources. What is more, oval and spiral duct models are cheaper for suppliers to procure, and they are inexpensive to store, transport, package, and install, making them practical for everyone involved. They also tend to be quieter while in operation, and they don’t need as many fastenings to stay together. They may be less likely to fall apart than older types of air conditioning.
General Property Care: Plumbing
Here is another utility that no commercial building will fail to have. Everyone needs the restroom sooner or later, and the employees and guests alike at a commercial building will want a clean, modern bathroom that easy to access. This means having toilets and sinks as part of the plumbing system, and the rest of the building may feature water fountains, a faucet for the janitor’s room, or even a fountain in the lobby or a kitchen-style sink in the break room. But a building’s plumbing may suffer some issues, such as clogs (if the wrong sorts of things are flushed down the toilets). Or, the pipes may develop leaks if they are very old or come loose, or if frozen water expands in the pipes (thus cracking them) and later melts. Or, the toilets and sinks are simply very old and not very water-efficient anyway. A high school will also feature shower rooms.
So, the business owners can hire plumbers to unclog toilets or sewage pipes, and these plumbers may also replace or tighten leaking pipes and replace old utilities. An old toilet, shower head, or sink can be swapped out for a newer, low-flow model that is not only in good shape but saves on water over time. If the business’s water heater (if there is one) is very old, then a lot of sediment has built up inside its tank, and this reduces its capacity to hold hot water. Therefore, it must be replaced, or a tankless water heater can be put in. This is costlier to install than a regular hot water tank, but it is more efficient over time.
General Property Care: Landscaping
A commercial building that features a smooth HVAC system, good lighting, and modern toilets will impress guests, but the outside is important, too. Before stepping into any commercial building or business, guests will see the outside, and they may walk right across the front grounds (if any), and get impressions from it. Trash, dead leaves, or bare ground may make a poor impression, and some consumers or people will avoid a building simply because it looks ugly, seedy, or abandoned from the outside. Cosmetics do count, so a business manager can work hard to keep the outside clean, pleasant, and welcoming to make a fine first impression.
Clearing away all trash or dead leaves is just the start. Grass can be planted and fertilized, and shrubs and trees can be added both for aesthetics and health. Such plants help keep the ground more secure, and trees shade people during summer and break up the wind during winter. What is more, trees and shrubs act as natural air filters, and they can attract pleasant wildlife such as bees and birds. Of course, it may also help to put down bark dust around a flower bed, tree, or shrub to protect the bare soil and keep its moisture in while also preventing weeds from growing there. To round out all of this greenery, a business may have a well-built sign on its front grounds, complete with flowers or shrubs around it. Many churches do this, as do some high schools and college campuses or banks.
General Property Care: Supplies
Now that the building and the lawns are in good shape, a proper business owner will make sure that they are adequately supplied for the day’s work. What might they need? This will vary from business to business. Some items such as janitor supplies, toilet paper, and office paper are pretty standard, but there will be more.
Medical facilities need all kinds of medicine and equipment for the doctors and nurses on staff, such as at an elder care service, vet clinic, or emergency center. Bed protector sheets are a fine addition to a hospital bed to protect the mattress and let’s not forget about gauze and bandages, cotton swabs, needles, medicine trays, X-ray machines, oxygen masks, and many other similar goods. Pharmaceuticals may be bought from certain suppliers, such as those for anxiety treatment or vaccines or antidepressants.
A hospital will also need goods for surgery, such as bone repair tools and bone graft injector guns, along with scalpels and even drills. Modern medicine is only possible with the right machines and tools, and a hospital’s inventory may range from a huge MRI machine or a dialysis machine to feeding tubes and IV drip bag racks.
What about an ordinary office? Offices range from law firms to divorce and mediation firms to accounting firms and they need a lot of paper for printing off all sorts of documents. Paper suppliers can help with that. In addition, a business manager will ensure that their office has a fax machine, computers, desks and chairs, and even a digital projector for meetings. More than ever, IT professionals are vital for keeping a business running smoothly.
What’s this about computers? A small business may only need a few laptops or PCs to handle online research or spreadsheets or managing inventory, but a large office will need more. IT professionals can install and set up hundreds of desktop PCs, and get them all booted up and install the proper firewalls and anti-virus programs to keep them safe from conventional malware and cyber attacks. Not only that, but these computers will need cables so that they can form a network and hook up to the internet, such as via ethernet cables. Modern category 5 and category 6 cables will link up countless PCs to the internet, and these cables should be threaded throughout the office (or similar business) so that they are not a tripping hazard.
Such cables are also useful for making a data center, a room with countless computers all sitting on shelves and linked via those ethernet cables to form a vast, singular entity. These computers don’t have monitors or keyboards; rather, they form a vast storage space with fast processing speeds, and desktop computers will be connected to this server to share data with ease and access the huge storage space found inside.
Running a commercial property means juggling a lot of factors, from repair and upkeep needs of the utilities and roof to having a presentable front lawn and connecting all the computers. But if all this and more is handled well, then any business will be comfortable, safe, energy-efficient, cost-friendly, and pleasant to work in and visit, any time of the year.