What Are Risk Assessments and Factors in Construction?

What Are Risk Assessments and Factors in Construction?

You have the right to expect your workplace to be safe and that you’ll be able to get through the workday without a severe injury or a significant accident. The same is true for nearly 7.5 million people who work in construction in the U.S.

Construction sites tend to be considerably different from other workplaces, such as offices or retail locations. They have a unique set of risks, which other industries might not even have to consider. The injury rate also happens to be higher in the construction industry compared to any other industry. In 2017, more than three out of every 100 workers in construction had an injury or illness, and more than 1,000 workers died.

Although it is impossible to entirely eliminate the risk of injury or death in any industry and from any job site, there are steps facility managers, building managers and commercial property managers can take to reduce any risk significantly. Performing a risk assessment before the start of any project, both while the project is ongoing and at the end, will help managers identify potential risks and develop a plan to mitigate or reduce those risks. A risk assessment helps managers determine how significant or severe a potential risk might be. It also helps managers avoid risks that can lead to financial harm.

Contact us today for a risk assessment and to start your next job. We identify and mitigate hazards and put protective measures, including signage and personal protective equipment, into place before we begin any job.

What Is a Construction Risk Assessment?

A construction risk assessment aims to identify dangerous factors in construction projects. Before discussing how and when a risk assessment is performed, it helps to define what a risk is. A risk is a chance that a hazard will cause someone injury, illness, harm or other damage.

Usually, risk assessment is a three-part process that involves:

  • Identifying hazards
  • Analyzing and evaluating risk
  • Controlling the risk

While one of the goals of a risk assessment is the prevention of injuries, there are additional reasons to perform an assessment. A risk assessment allows you to:

  • Determine who is at risk, such as employees or site visitors
  • Raise awareness of the risk and any hazards
  • Determine if existing measures are adequate for controlling the risk or if you need to take further action
  • Decide if you need a particular control program for a hazard
  • Fulfill any legal requirements, if applicable

When performing a risk assessment, it’s likely you’ll need to answer a series of questions. Finding an answer to your questions can help determine the best way to control specific liabilities and minimize hazards. A few of the things to ask as you perform the risk assessment are:

  • What could happen?
  • What circumstances need to exist for the hazard to be present?
  • What are the consequences of doing nothing to correct the hazard?
  • What is the likelihood of the consequences occurring?
  • What can you do to control the risk?
  • Are you effectively controlling the risk or do you need to take further action?

At Houck, we put safety first. It’s in our slogan: “Safety. Quality. Performance.” Get in touch with us for a risk assessment before starting your next project.

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When to Perform Risk Assessment

There are multiple points during a construction project when it is appropriate to perform a risk assessment. The first point is before the project begins or during the design phase of the project. The second point is any time you introduce a new method or process to the project. For example, if your team brings a new piece of equipment on-site, it is a good idea to perform a risk assessment of the equipment to determine if it could cause injury or other issues.

Finally, another reason to perform a risk assessment is the identification of a hazard. This liability might be one your team missed during the initial assessments or one that arose unexpectedly. For example, there might be a thunderstorm that creates slippery conditions on the site. A risk assessment after a storm will analyze and evaluate how much of a threat the wet conditions pose to workers and others.

Types of Risk Assessment

Three types of risk assessment exist. Each type has a somewhat different aim and purpose, but each one might apply to a construction project.

Baseline Risk Assessment

A baseline risk assessment establishes a benchmark of the potential hazards that exist during a construction project. The goal of a baseline risk assessment is to identify the risks present, to rank each liability, and evaluate whether or not established control systems will effectively manage them.

Baseline risk assessments tend to be comprehensive and focus on any and all dangers that might be present during a project. After performing a baseline risk assessment, a manager can focus more closely on particular hazards or issues described in the assessment.

Issues-Based Risk Assessment

An issues-based risk assessment identifies risks associated with a particular activity or task, rather than risks that affect a construction project as a whole. Often, an issues-based risk assessment gets performed after a baseline risk assessment, in response to the risks identified by the baseline assessment.

An issues-based risk assessment is an appropriate option when bringing new equipment onto a job site, when new information becomes available about a particular hazard or when an employee points out a problem that could pose a risk to their safety or the safety of others on the construction site.

Continuous Risk Assessment

A continuous risk assessment is one the team performs regularly. Continuous risk assessment often involves hazard awareness, such as reminding employees to keep alert for and to report any issues or concerns on the job site. It can also involve the use of checklists before any work begins for the day or before a person begins using a piece of equipment to make sure there are no hazards or concerns present. An inspection, either by a manager or by a third party, is an example of a continuous risk assessment.

We identify and mitigate hazards and put protective measures, including signage and personal protective equipment, into place before we begin any job. Get in touch with us before starting your next project for a thorough risk assessment.

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Construction Project Risk Assessment Checklist: How to Perform a Risk Assessment

Ideally, the person who performs a risk assessment at a construction site will be someone who is familiar with the project, with construction in general and who has a good idea of the issues at hand. The risk assessment process typically involves four steps.

1. Identify Hazards

You want to classify any hazards that might be present on the job site or that might arise during a project. One way to go about identifying hazards and the risks connected to them is to think of specific tasks that will be part of the project. From there, you can assess any dangers that could come up and what the risks connected to them might be. When looking for these liabilities, remember to:

  • Keep the big picture in mind.
  • Refer to accident reports from past projects for an idea of hazards that were a concern previously.
  • Account for anyone who might be present at the construction site, including visitors such as clients and delivery drivers.
  • Take unusual conditions, such as a severe storm or power outage, under consideration.
  • Examine equipment to see if altering it could change its safety features.
  • Consider different groups of employees, as risk level can vary based on experience or overall health.

2. Assess the Risk the Hazards Present

The next step is to determine the severity of the risk a hazard creates. You want to evaluate not only how likely a particular hazard is to cause harm, but how bad the harm could be. When analyzing risk, consider dangers that are present under normal, day-to-day circumstances, as well as during unusual periods, such as when there’s severe weather, an emergency or a power outage.

To get a sense of the potential risk presented, review any information available, such as the operator’s manual for equipment, safety data sheets, inspection reports, test results, accident reports and studies from reputable third parties.

When ranking risks, you can evaluate the severity of the risk as well as the probability of it. For example, the severity ranking of a risk can range from low to high. A low risk might be one that results in a minor injury, such as a cut or bruise. A high risk might be one that causes a fracture, fatality or the loss of a significant amount of blood.

A highly probable risk might be one that is likely to occur at least once a year, while a less probable risk is one that is likely to occur just once during a lifetime.

3. Identify Actions You Can Take to Minimize or Reduce Hazards

Generally speaking, there are several actions you can take to minimize the risk particular hazards present. One option is to eliminate the risk by removing the danger. For example, you can send employees home if wet weather makes the construction site slippery, increasing the chance of falls.

Another option is to introduce controls that will either eliminate a hazard or reduce it enough that it no longer presents a significant risk. For example, if one piece of equipment is particularly hazardous, you might replace it with a safer one, such as a newer, more reliable model. You might make administrative changes to the work site, so workers only work between certain hours such as when there is still daylight, or you might introduce a buddy system, so no employee ever works alone.

4. Confirm You Have Corrected the Hazard

The final step in risk assessment is to verify your team has corrected the hazard, either by eliminating or minimizing it. After that, it’s essential to continue to monitor the situation to ensure any risks remain minimized and to confirm additional ones haven’t come up.

Contact us today for a risk assessment and to start your next job. We identify and mitigate hazards and put protective measures, including signage and personal protective equipment, into place before we begin any job.

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Common Risk Factors in Construction Projects

Although it’s common to associate risks and hazards with issues that cause physical harm, the scope is somewhat broader than that. During a construction project, risks can also include any problems that cause the project to go over budget or that interfere with the ability to complete the project on schedule. Common risk factors any manager should be aware of include the following.

  • Occupational risks: Occupational risks include behaviors or equipment that can lead to injuries, such as a distracted employee or faulty equipment.
  • Project risks: Project risks include a lack of project management, which can make a project take longer than planned or put workers at risk for injury due to poor supervision.
  • Contractual risks: Contractual risks include missing deadlines, which can negatively affect the relationship between the management of a building and the construction company.
  • Financial risks: Financial risks associated with construction projects can include an increase in the cost of materials and equipment.
  • Natural risks: Natural risks include severe storms and other extreme weather events that might cause a construction site to shut down for one or more days.

Site-Specific Risk Assessment Examples

When performing a construction risk assessment, it is crucial to make sure that the assessment is site-specific, meaning it is project-specific and considers the conditions of the site and the requirements of a particular project. To understand how a site-specific risk assessment works and what one might look like, it can be helpful to look at specific examples.

In one instance, the owner of a building hired a manager to perform a risk assessment for the maintenance of the building. As part of the inspection, the manager walked around the building, reviewed accident reports and talked to the people who would be performing the maintenance work. They then noted who the hazards would affect, what controls were currently in place and whether those controls were sufficient.

In another case, a bricklaying company performed a risk assessment after winning a contract. The goal of the evaluation was to demonstrate the company’s approach to health and safety. As part of it, the manager of the company discussed work practices and hazards with employees, reviewed data sheets for mortar and read the manufacturer’s instructions for equipment and tools. Next, the manager recorded current controls in place for specific hazards and determined who was responsible for further actions.

Four Safety Precautions During Maintenance Work

Risk assessment isn’t only vital during construction projects to create a building. It’s also essential for any maintenance of an established building. When performing maintenance on a building, keeping the following in mind will help ensure your project is a safe one.

  1. Encourage communication: The employees working on a maintenance project can be excellent resources when it comes to detecting any concerns. Encourage people working on a site to speak up if they notice anything is amiss or if something feels off.
  2. Choose appropriate controls: Risk and hazard control should include elimination or substitution to minimize the risk, encouraging safe work practices, making administrative changes and issuing protective gear as needed to employees.
  3. Have a plan for non-routine operations: Along with having a plan for controlling day-to-day risks, it’s crucial to have a strategy in place should an unusual circumstance, such as a hurricane, a thunderstorm or a fire, which can create a unique set of hazards for a maintenance project.
  4. Check in regularly: As with risk assessment for a construction project, it’s a good idea to check in on the hazards and risks that can arise during a maintenance project.

The goal of any building or construction manager should be to protect the employees and craftspeople who are working on a construction site or performing a maintenance project. Performing a risk assessment before any project begins is one way to lower the risk of injury. Risk assessment can also protect the project itself by making sure it stays on deadline and on budget.

Houck puts safety first. That’s why we’ve made it the first part of our slogan: “Safety. Quality. Performance.” Before we begin any job, we identify and mitigate hazards and put protective measures, including signage and personal protective equipment, into place. Contact us today to learn more about the construction industry, our services or about available careers at Houck.

Trends That Are Poised to Impact Construction

Construction is a dynamic field, and upcoming advances will noticeably shift many parts of the industry. From smart personal protective gear to self-healing concrete, the future is set to introduce surprising innovations to the construction industry.

Although you have tried-and-true procedures and strategies, you can complement your expertise with fresh resources and techniques. These trends can streamline your operations, enhance your safety protocols, increase the quality of your work and drive your performance.

We compiled this list of trends that are poised to impact construction, and the main changes lie in four segments — materials, sustainability, technology and safety.

Importance of Tracking Construction Trends

Just 20 years ago, construction teams relied on paper plans to guide their projects, but digital records now dominate construction procedures. It’s evident that new demands, methods and technology are regularly rising in the industry. Even within the last year, many trends have appeared, grown stronger or dissipated.

Observing the industry’s trends is crucial for construction professionals. If you aren’t aware of changes in construction, your techniques become outdated, and your business suffers. Although you can stand out in your experience, you can quickly fall behind if you don’t prioritize progress. As you service clients, you can rise above competitors through continual growth. Your grasp on the latest tools and resources causes you to remain relevant through the years, and developments can enrich the quality of your work.

Learning from useful trends helps you stay at the forefront of the field. Tracking construction industry trends can promote on-site efficiency and limit the disruption of day-to-day operations. For instance, modern, rigorous safety measures can prevent setbacks from damages or injuries. To lead the industry and hone your skills, master innovative practices and expedite your procedures.

1. New Construction Materials

Materials often limit construction professionals, but many emerging supplies are adding fresh potential to the industry. Strategically engineered supplies feature versatile and helpful features, like inflated steel’s light-weight but durable composition. With commercial applications, new construction materials can push past previous barriers.

Cross-Laminated Timber

Recently, the industry started using cross-laminated timber (CLT). The layering process makes CLT stronger than standard wood, which creates resilient panels. It has a low environmental impact and can withstand high temperatures, making it a cost-effective alternative for floors and walls.

Carbon Fiber Strand Rods

Carbon fiber products are also becoming widely used, including strand rods and fiber-based balsa. With carbon fiber’s flexibility and robust tensile strength, it can repair compromised buildings or equip structures for seismic activity. To retrofit buildings, rods consisting of thermoplastic carbon fiber reinforce structures and add an aesthetic appeal.

Self-Healing Concrete

A revolutionary material, self-healing concrete, is altering the lifespan of building and bridge foundations. The formula is inspired by ancient Roman concrete, and the combination of ingredients withstands corrosion over time. After cracks form, a chemical reaction produces additional material to fill the fissures. Self-healing concrete fixes the common issue of cracks and crumbling structures.

Inflated Steel

Recently, it became possible to fill thin steel sheets with air and stabilize them. After welding steel pieces together, manufacturers can pump air into the pocket while pressurizing the steel. Inflated steel enhances the inherent strength and stability of steel sheets while keeping components lightweight. The possibilities of inflated steel structures are promising, particularly in roofing and bridges.

Filtration Bricks

Filtration materials, like passive air-filtration bricks, can reduce pollution and boost air quality for construction clients. These breathable bricks remove toxins and particles from the air by directing airflow through a cyclone-like path. The rectangular concrete masonry blocks are arranged to form a barrier along with vertical supports. In the long-run, filtration bricks can save clients money and purify building interiors in places with poor air quality, like congested cities.

Programmable Cement

Normally, cement is vulnerable to chemical and water damage, but newly discovered properties can alter the aggregate. By adding charged compounds that diminish surface tension, manufacturers can control cement’s density. Rather than letting the cement retain a haphazard structure, cement is programmed to include deliberate molecular shapes. This leads to a tighter material that resists wear and tear.

Construction Material Cost Trends

In 2018, the cost of popular construction materials rose 7.4 percent due to increasing pressures, but input prices are projected to decline. Overall, the industry has been grappling with increasing expenses, and many contractors were accepting high costs without increasing client prices.

Policies were pushing the cost of steel and aluminum up, making critical supplies like beams and pipelines more expensive. The cost of steel mill goods was projected to spike regardless of new policies, but this trend amplified the change. Now, the availability and cost of these materials are evening out.

Rising material transportation prices have been contributing to financial strain on companies. However, natural gas prices have been fluctuating, but they’re currently falling, which could impact the current momentum of the market.

The cost of necessary goods like oil and copper have decreased in 2019, returning profit margins to a favorable level for construction companies.

2. Green Construction Methods and Sustainability

Environmental considerations are extremely important to the public, and the construction industry is incorporating eco-friendly practices to accommodate these values. Sustainable construction prioritizes efficiency in resources and responsible building methods. Also, tax benefits and incentives push these efforts forward.

Concerns about waste in the construction process are being addressed through recycled building supplies. To cut back on the large amounts of landfill waste typically generated, workers are reclaiming material from old buildings and repurposing them in fresh projects.

A popular trend, zero net energy buildings, takes sustainability to another level by attempting to eliminate energy consumption. Each site generates the energy it needs through solar, wind or geothermal sources. Various internal and external systems help these buildings become self-sufficient.

There’s a shift toward designing structures to endure, too. Long-lasting designs are accounting for future degradation and environmental disasters. Long-standing buildings can diminish the amount of demolition and repairs that add to landfills.

Over time, sustainable construction is cost-effective, especially for clients, and beneficial for the environment, as green methods release fewer pollutants into the atmosphere. Endeavors to decrease the carbon footprint in construction are positively impacting society and slowly gathering speed.

3. Technology Trends in the Construction Industry

As in most industries, technology has transformed how professionals conceive construction plans and craft buildings. Evolving technology continues to enhance construction procedures and open solutions to reoccurring challenges. From robotics to revolutionary software, the latest technology trends in construction are modernizing the most basic construction tasks.


Traditional surveying methods can have human error and take several days. Thanks to drones, land surveying is finished in minutes, substantially conserving labor, time and money. Now contractors rely on drones to collect vital data for projects, and supplementary software can quickly analyze the data they gather. Drones can also help managers and supervisors monitor the productivity of workers, and this surveillance is valuable for security purposes, too.

Drones make on-site communication easier, as the instant visibility of an expansive area can convey more than audible reports from workers. This maintains a steady workflow and prevents setbacks to schedules.

Building Information Modeling

Continually a popular process, building information modeling (BIM) has increased thoroughness in the exchange of data and development of projects. However, it continues to grow with the emergence of cloud systems. With streamlined details and intelligent multi-dimensional modeling, BIM allows every involved party to review projects without wasting time.

Augmented and Virtual Reality

Augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) can prepare and guide workers through projects. These devices, which are usually headsets, can present the anticipated construction steps and simulate building models.

VR replaces the need for setting up intensive scaled miniatures of sites or for visiting physical locations to walk through the specifics or check on progress. Building owners and commercial property managers can also display their available spaces to customers without waiting for the project to finish.

Projecting possible designs through AR can give further dimension in the planning stages of construction. AR gadgets can allow construction professionals to interactively assess sites and walk through their intended plan before starting. This promotes accuracy, as teams can gather extensive information and catch miscalculations early.

3D Printing

The field must overcome some limitations, but 3D printing technology can offer customization and adaptability. These machines can form complex pieces or buildings in a range of materials.

Some companies have already been successful in printing entire structures, but the industry is still easing into the idea of printing materials. Large structural components can be fabricated onsite or at another location, so transportation is no longer a necessary part of the process.

As 3D printing gains traction in construction, it could reduce supply costs. There is also more certainty in production, as the machines can execute exact measurements.


While the medical field has understood the potential of robotics for a while, this trend is just taking off in the construction industry. Construction professionals can use robotics to perform precise physical tasks on job sites.

As robotics become more mainstream and advanced, they may be able to replace human labor. If the shortage of skilled workers persists, robotics could offset this issue. Several processes must become automated before construction fully embraces this trend, but eventually, robotics could play a role in welding or bricklaying.

4. Industrial Safety

Construction tends to pose more risks to workers than many other fields. In 2017, 20.7 percent of worker deaths in the U.S. private industry were in construction. However, improved safety measures and resources are working to keep construction professionals from harm. Additional training is a worthwhile solution, but new technology is also furthering safety efforts with intelligent monitoring and protective gear.

Falls and fatal encounters with heavy equipment account for many construction accidents, and preventive devices can catch these situations before they happen. Devices connected to the Internet of Things (IoT) can predict hazardous areas to warn workers and managers. Workers can avoid industrial accidents with IoT gadgets, specifically wearable electronics. With the real-time evaluation of the setting, workers can benefit from this reliable support.

Increasing personal protective equipment is another common trend in industrial safety. Smart helmets with built-in communication are connecting workers so they can share necessary updates on-the-go. Earmuffs and headsets with smart features can reduce noise damage and maintain clear correspondence on loud sites. Wearable electronics can relay changes in health to EMTs or signal a worker’s fatigue to supervisors.

Managers are setting rigorous safety expectations on job sites, and surveillance through cameras equipped with artificial intelligence (AI) is aiding the push for protective gear. AI can also learn behavioral patterns and report when workers are misusing equipment. Accountability can spur your workers on to pay attention to protocol.

Smart cameras are also being used to detect exposure to toxic chemicals. Contaminated air from gas leaks can be detrimental, but camera sensors with a unique imaging spectrum can rapidly pinpoint leaks. Automated warning systems can gauge the extent of the problem and alert those on the project site to get to safety.

Impressive Growth for the Future of Construction

The future of the construction industry is complex, but there are significant signs of positive growth. While there are setbacks, real output and the availability of emerging technology are reasons for optimism. Long-term, the industry is moving forward into a balanced state in terms of employment and revenue.

The most compelling indication of growth is the outlook of employment in the coming years. Construction is expected to have the largest industry increase in employment by 2024 compared to other sectors. Better recruitment and retention of employees can attract more workers and create desirable job conditions. Technology within construction is also generating jobs as more technicians and engineers are needed. The output from construction is also set to surge, influencing other industries like real estate.

Costs for materials and transportation have been high, but experts expect them to plateau. Contractors should be able to boost revenues as the sector expands.

Economic growth can offer construction professionals plenty of opportunities. Commercial investments from the government and increased consumer spending both set up construction entities for success. Concentration on green building projects is one factor in support of this upward trend. Remodeling, historic renovations and additions serve as viable sources for shaping the time ahead for industrial construction. The following years could bring the stability the construction industry has been lacking.

Keep up With Trends in Construction

As a whole, the construction industry has experienced obstacles but is recovering and moving toward a prosperous period. Trends in materials, sustainability, technology and safety are fortifying construction professionals and revamping their practices. You can progress in your industry knowledge to lead the way in construction innovation.

Remain aware of the changes in the industry to take advantage of promising methods and new technology. You can hone your skills and gain further insight as you watch construction grow.

At Houck, we are dedicated to safety, quality and performance. With over 70 years of experience, we are highly specialized in building restoration and maintenance services. Contact Houck today to request our construction services, learn more industry information, or inquire about Houck career opportunities.

What Is the Best Industrial Flooring Option for My Business?

It’s important that your business sets the right tone and creates the right impression. From the moment a client or customer walks through the door, they should instantly get a sense of who you are and what type of atmosphere you want to present. If you’re looking to project a casual and fun atmosphere, there should be no question of this. If you want to seem professional and sophisticated, your workplace needs to communicate this as well.

There are many ways to achieve this. The furniture you place inside your space, the color of the walls, the look of the ceiling and more all work together to create your desired atmosphere. One critical piece of this puzzle is the floor itself. Flooring comes in all different styles, colors, textures and materials. Because there are so many options, there is something for every type of business.

Not only does the right flooring help you achieve the mood and feeling that you’re hoping for, but it also plays a significant role in the functionality of your space. Considering both aesthetic and practicality, then, it’s crucial that you choose the right flooring for your space.

This guide will help you select the perfect flooring for your space.

What Are Your Industrial Flooring Needs and Goals?

When choosing the flooring for your company, you’ll want to start by asking yourself the crucial question — what do you want to achieve with this flooring? To help you answer these questions, consider them in light of these categories:

1. Aesthetic

Some flooring offers a more severe and professional tone. Another flooring option lends itself to an open and airy atmosphere. Still other types of flooring are industrial-looking and lend themselves well to highly function-based settings.

To decide which type of flooring is best, you’ll want to ask yourself what you’d like your space to look like. Additionally, you’ll want to think about how important looks are to you. For example, if yours is a client-facing space, you’ll likely want to put a great deal of thought into aesthetic. If, on the other hand, your space is a back warehouse, aesthetic might not be extremely high on your list of priorities.

At this stage, there is no right answer and no wrong answer. Simply think about what you’d like to achieve and move forward from there.

2. Functionality

How will you be using your floors? Will they be expected to hold up under heavy carts or vehicles? Or will they merely be walked on, like in a typical office building?

While this question might not seem initially important, it’s a good idea to think about it. Certain types of flooring are more durable than others, and it’s critical to consider this right from the start of your search.

3. Traffic Levels

Is your floor going to experience substantial use? If it needs to hold up against years of wear-and-tear, you’ll want to invest in a heavy-duty flooring. If your floor is only going to experience light use, you won’t necessarily need such a durable material.

If you aren’t entirely sure what your traffic levels are likely to be, it’s always better to overestimate. Opt for a slightly more heavy-duty flooring. If you don’t end up needing it, then no harm has been done. This is a better alternative to installing a light flooring and discovering too late that it’s being destroyed by heavy usage.

4. Hygiene

This is purely a question of how dirty your floors will be getting. While all floors will inevitably accumulate some dirt and grime, some are far likelier to grow dirtier than others. For example, an office building will not become dirty as quickly as a factory floor.

This question is important because some floors are easier to clean than others, and some floorings naturally resist contaminants better than others. When you know what to expect from your building, you’ll be better able to choose a more appropriate flooring.

What Is Most Important to You?

In a perfect world, everyone would be able to find precisely the right flooring that meets every single one of their needs perfectly. It’s entirely possible that you will find this. All too often, however, compromises need to be made.

Because of this, it’s important to begin thinking about which elements of your flooring are the most important, and where you might be willing to compromise. When it comes time to make a decision, you’ll be better able to determine which elements are necessary and which are less crucial.

A few of the different elements to consider include:

  • Longevity: How long do you need your floor to last? Are you only expecting to get a few years out of it, or are you looking for something that will last as long as the building itself?
  • Safety: Are there any particular safety concerns on your mind? If so, this might be a top priority. Otherwise, this might fall reasonably low on the list.
  • Material needs: Depending on your building, you might require flooring constructed of specific materials. Alternatively, you might immediately know that certain materials are off limits for your purposes.

What Kind of Flooring Is Available?

Now that we know a bit more about some of the different concerns and factors that will likely affect your choice of flooring, it’s time to look at which types of flooring specifically are available. Here, we’ll look at different types, as well as their various pros and cons and attributes.

As you browse this list, weigh these different attributes in your mind against your own list of requirements and concerns.

1. Epoxy Flooring

One of the primary and popular floor options you’re likely to encounter is the epoxy floor coating. We refer to this as a floor coating because the epoxy is not the floor itself. Your floor will likely still be made of concrete. Epoxy gets put over this concrete to finish it. Whether you’re looking for industrial flooring options or commercial floors for business, epoxy is an excellent choice that will serve you reliably for years to come.

Not all epoxy flooring is the same, however. This isn’t a blanket solution that will look identical every time. Instead, there are a variety of different finishes and styles available, allowing you to select the one that’s truly best for you and your business.

If you choose an epoxy floor solution, here are just a few of the benefits you’ll experience:

  • Seamless Finish: An epoxy coating over top of a concrete floor results in a smooth finish with no large bumps or seams. This makes it ideal for heavy traffic from dollies, forklifts and other pieces of heavy equipment, and a perfect choice for manufacturing floors.
  • Elegant Finish: The aesthetic appeal of this smooth finish is undeniable, as it provides a sleek and streamlined appearance free from lumps or defects. Epoxy coatings are also available in a wide range of colors and finishes, meaning you can tailor it to match the rest of your aesthetic.
  • Minimal Maintenance: Few things are more tedious or time-consuming than scrubbing a floor. With epoxy flooring, this isn’t necessary. This finish requires little to no maintenance. They’re extremely easy to clean and maintain their durability even in highly-trafficked areas.
  • Anti-Slip Traction: Worried that your floors might be too slick and cause slipping problems? With epoxy, this isn’t a problem. Epoxy flooring helps increase friction and traction, minimizing slipping incidents. If this is a particular concern for you, you might even choose an epoxy designed for maximum anti-slip protection.
  • Chemical Resistance: If there will be chemicals present in your working environment, you’ll want a floor coating that can withstand this exposure without suffering damage. This is where an epoxy coating comes in, as it won’t just resist corrosion, but it also acts as a barrier that prevents the chemicals from harming the concrete underneath.

2. Urethane Concrete

Similarly to epoxy coatings, urethane concrete acts as a sealing layer over top of a concrete floor. This seal applies urethane resin, from which the name is derived, to the cement powder and creates a durable, finished concrete surface.

As with epoxy coatings, urethane concrete comes in a variety of different forms, finishes and styles, and there is no singular “best” option. Instead, it’s more about finding what’s best for your needs and your setting.

A few of the significant benefits you can expect to reap when you choose this type of commercial flooring for your business include:

  • Chemical Resistance: Worried about chemical spills, abrasions or corrosion? Urethane concrete offers superb protection from these types of incidents, allowing you to operate without stressing over this additional worry.
  • Impact Defense: If you’re going to be driving heavy vehicles over your flooring, or even if you frequently transport heavy items that might get dropped, you’ll want flooring that won’t crumble beneath these potential impacts. Urethane concrete can provide this stability.
  • Thermal-Shock Resistance: Unfortunately, bare concrete tends to split in the cold and the ice, creating a significant problem for those using it as flooring in places that will potentially get extremely cold or hot. Urethane concrete does an excellent job of correcting this problem by creating a thermal-shock resistant barrier that protects the concrete underneath. This makes it an excellent choice for places like plane hangars and fire stations that may be partially outdoors.
  • Abrasion Protection: Urethane concrete effectively guards your concrete against the cosmetic bumps, bruises and scars that would otherwise mar the surface, creating damage that both looks unpleasant and creates hazards in the forms of divots and potholes.

3. Methyl Methacrylate

Methyl Methacrylate, often known as MMA, is a dual system polymer and is one of the popular choices for coating industrial and commercial floors. In this way, it acts much the same as other floorings we have looked at — as a protective sealing layer over the concrete floor itself.

Like both the epoxy and the urethane, MMA flooring comes with its own set of advantages and reasons why people choose this type of flooring. A few of these major benefits include:

  • Low Curing Temperature: Because these MMA floors have a low curing temperature, they’re less complicated and picky when it comes to installing them. This means less hassle on your part and potentially, less time spent during the installation.
  • Scratch Resistance: One of the major advantages that MMA flooring supplies in abundance is a high level of scratch resistance. For environments where objects will frequently be colliding with the floor, or heavy amounts of traffic will take place, this makes MMA one of the better choices.
  • Matte Finish: Looking for a floor that has a low-gloss shine and a neutral matte setting? MMA flooring might be the way to go. Unlike other floors that develop a high level of shine when they cure, MMA flooring is a little more neutral, with a traditional flat appearance. This relatively neutral appearance might make it appropriate for settings like healthcare facilities or nursing homes.

4. Acid Brick/Dairy Tile

Acid brick is unlike the other floorings we’ve mentioned, which are coatings installed on top of a pre-existing floor and are not the floor itself, per se. Also known as dairy tile, this type of flooring is a specifically designed brick that forms the floor itself.

The major advantages offered by this flooring solution include:

  • Thermal Stability: Worried that your location is going to be getting extremely hot? Extremely cold? With acid brick, this won’t be a problem.
  • Impact Resistance: Acid brick is designed to be able to take a beating. It’s capable of handling heavy impacts and lots of traffic all without denting, cracking or breaking.
  • Chemical Resistance: Some floors might become damaged in the face of chemical contact, becoming discolored, corroded or stained. Acid brick is designed to handle these types of contact, however, and stand up to them without sustaining any damage.
  • Durability: In addition to its natural resistance to many potentially damaging impacts, acid brick is also built to last. Its natural durability and longevity will be major assets no matter where you install this flooring. Because of this, it’s a perfect candidate for places like food and dairy product manufacturing floors.

How Long Will It Last?

This is nearly an impossible question to answer, as the lifespan of your floor will vary wildly based on how well you maintain it and how much traffic it experiences. In some cases, if it is not heavily trafficked, it can last for decades. In other cases, however, when extreme traffic conditions are at play, your floor may last less than ten years.

You can do your part to improve the longevity of your flooring by cleaning it regularly and promptly attending to any damage, instead of letting the damage sit without care.

How Long Does It Take to Install?

This depends slightly — on the type of floor you’re having installed, on what state your floor is in before this installation, as well as on other extenuating circumstances such as additional complications. In general, however, you can expect a floor installation to take anywhere from a few hours to potentially a few days. This time window can vary widely, but these numbers provide a rough estimate. Keep in mind that not all of this time is actual installation work. You will spend most of this time just waiting for the new flooring to cure.

What Is the Best Commercial Flooring Option for Your Industry?

As you look at your business and your setting, it can be helpful to know what others in your same industry choose for their flooring, and what their typical concerns are. While it would be impossible to mention every industry, here are a few examples, and what they might install on their floors.

Because you are the only one who can truly know the needs your location has, we will not attempt to dictate which type of flooring you need. Instead, we’ll look at a few of the concerns you should be aware of moving forward, that will help guide your choice.

  • Healthcare: In healthcare settings, be they hospitals, nursing homes or clinics, you likely won’t worry about heavy forklifts or major temperature fluctuations. You probably won’t need something heavy-duty, but you will need to worry about how easy it is to clean and how it holds up under heavy traffic.
  • Manufacturing: If you run a manufacturing plant, you’ll likely have heavy machinery. You may want to invest in something a little more durable and resistant to things like chemicals, thermal variations and blunt impacts.
  • Retirement communities: Similarly to healthcare facilities, retirement communities will need to be easy to clean and able to stand up to heavy traffic. Also, make sure the floor’s finish is smooth and without the kind of blemishes that could cause tripping hazards.
  • Plane hangars: For this type of setting, you will want to think about blunt impacts and heavy amounts of traffic. Select flooring that can withstand the weight of airplanes and their equipment.
  • Fire stations: At a fire station, your floor will need to hold up to many different hazards. Think of heavy fire truck traffic, potential chemical damage, potential thermal damage and more. Choose a flooring option that will be able to resist these hazards.

Shop Commercial and Industrial Flooring at Houck

Whether you’re building an entirely new space, re-inventing an old one or simply replacing an old floor, you can find the flooring to fit your needs at Houck. We work with flooring materials such as:

  • Epoxy
  • Methyl methacrylate (MMA)
  • Polyurethane concrete
  • Acid brick/dairy tile

Not only do we install these materials, but we also specialize in repairs, meaning that if your floor still has some life left in it and just needs a repair job, we’re ready and willing to help with that, as well.

Learn more about our various flooring services and options today, and don’t hesitate to contact us with any additional questions.

How to Get Major Commercial Construction Completed Without Disrupting Day-to-Day Operations

Whether your building is undergoing significant repairs or a much-needed upgrade, commercial construction is a necessary inconvenience.

Most businesses will experience commercial development during the life of their buildings. However, major construction can be incredibly disruptive for your employees, and it can last for months at a time. How does a company carry on with normal, day-to-day operations when surrounded by loud and distracting construction?

If your company is experiencing major commercial construction, it’s possible to remain productive and efficient. In this guide, we walk through various ways to streamline the construction process, so that it is as smooth and disruption-free as possible.

Construction Project Management

Regardless of its size and scope, any construction project requires a highly skilled project manager.

Construction project management takes the expertise and skill of a traditional project manager and applies it to the construction and development industry. Experienced managers can navigate the shifting demands of construction and direct the material and human resources involved in a project. A construction project manager uses modern management techniques to handle the planning and execution of a construction project. Their goal is to realize the client’s objectives of cost, scope, time and quality.

A construction project manager must have strong communication skills, a deep knowledge of the construction process and industry and the ability to problem-solve quickly and efficiently. Beyond construction, a project manager understands areas of finance, law, mediation and business. In essence, a construction manager is the link between you and the project, and they are responsible for communicating with you and overseeing the project details.

As you work with a construction project manager, keep in mind their key responsibilities:

  • Planning: A construction manager works with you to plan the project, helping you divide the ultimate goal into smaller steps. Often, project managers also determine the details of the timeline, budget and hiring on-site workers and subcontractors.
  • Goal-setting: The project manager keeps construction moving forward according to plan. Their goal is to finish the project on schedule and within budget.
  • Supervising: After hiring a team of skilled and competent on-site workers, a construction manager helps define each person’s role in the project and communicate their individual responsibilities. A project manager is the boss of the job site, and they serve as an intermediary between you and their team.
  • Risk management: A construction manager is familiar with the risks involved with a project. An experienced project manager identifies potential setbacks and develops strategies for dealing with external and internal delays.

Project managers have complex and vital roles in the construction process, and they are essential in reducing the disruptions of a construction project.

Define Your Goals and What Cannot Be Disrupted 

Before you begin construction, meet with the construction manager and come up with a set of goals for the project. What are the parts of your day-to-day business that cannot be disrupted during construction?

For example, if you run a medical center or a hospital, one of the non-negotiable elements could be patient comfort. For the well-being of your patients, you might choose slower or quieter construction methods. The overall timeline and budget of your project might shift, but the comfort of your patients will not be compromised.

In an office environment, employees can tolerate a degree of noise without losing focus or productivity. However, you might be unwilling to compromise the parking needs of your company for months on end. When meeting with your project manager, see if you can develop alternative parking strategies for either your employees or the on-site workers. Securing parking spaces for your employees will help the construction feel less intrusive.

Before you begin, understand that you will have to bend on some things — by definition, major construction is disruptive. Once you have determined your top goals and non-negotiable elements, work with your project manager to find the best solutions for your company’s specific needs.

Creating Realistic Expectations and Timelines 

Establishing realistic expectations and timelines is a crucial step for a successful project.

To develop accurate and realistic expectations, focus on the project’s scope, budget, timeline and resources, along with developing strategies for minimizing risk.

1. Scope

The scope of a project encompasses more than the final result. It also takes into account the steps required to reach your end goal — for example, acquiring building permits, pouring a foundation and raising the frame. Efficiently managing a project’s scope is all about maximizing the budgeted resources, time and money for each step of the construction process.

When considering your project’s scope, make sure that all involved parties and stakeholders agree on the ultimate goal as well as the details. Account for every step of the process so that your budget and timeline remain accurate.

2. Budget

Building a realistic budget begins with a meticulously detailed forecast of the total anticipated costs.

When creating a budget, account for every aspect of the construction project, even the small steps. To allow for unexpected changes or delays, develop a contingency fund to use in an emergency. A realistic goal for a budget is to complete the construction at or below the estimated costs, without breaking into the contingency fund.

3. Timeline

A detailed and realistic schedule is essential to completing your project on time.

It’s crucial to accurately calculate the length of each step in the scope of the project. Talk with your project manager to determine which of the steps depend on the completion of others — not every step can start at the same time. Establish checkpoints throughout the project to verify that the construction schedule and budget are on track. All it takes is one setback to delay the whole project, so leave some flexibility in your project timeline.

4. Resources

The resources of your project are the equipment, materials and people required to complete construction. To build realistic expectations about the scope, budget and timeline of your project, it’s essential to know how many resources are required. Also note where in the construction process they will be needed — if two steps of the project require the same equipment, try to complete those steps close together to maximize efficiency.

5. Risk Management

A risk is any event outside of the scope that affects your project’s schedule or budget.

Planning and preparing for risks is vital for building a realistic timeline. No matter how carefully or accurately planned, a project will always experience some unexpected changes. Work with a project manager to identify potential risks and plan for them — this will help mitigate any negative effects.

Common Commercial Construction Delays

Every project will encounter unexpected delays. Before the construction begins, make sure you have allowed flexibility in your timeline and goals to account for setbacks. Consider these sources of construction delays as you plan your project:

1. Inclement Weather

Rainy days can cost you more than just time — rain can also cause damage to materials and new construction. If your region experiences a massive storm, excess rain may cause rivers or streams to overflow, flooding excavations and worksites. It can take days to pump out flooded areas, and while insurance can cover some of the rain-caused damages, it often doesn’t account for the resulting project delays.

Other hazardous weather conditions include high winds, which can be especially dangerous if your project requires cranes. Some climates are prone to developing tornadoes, which can rip through job sites and wreck existing construction. Extreme heat or cold can hinder your on-site workers and cause delays, and a lightning strike can damage equipment or injure workers.

To mitigate the damage of inclement weather, make allowances for weather disruptions in your schedule. Research the average weather conditions of your area. If possible, schedule activities that would be impacted by rain outside typically rainy or windy seasons. Modify working hours to avoid dangerously hot summers — begin work early in the morning when the air is cool, and stop by early to mid-afternoon when the temperatures peak. Keep adequate water pumps on-site, and design a way to remove water from the construction site when needed.

Ultimately, the weather is unpredictable and difficult to anticipate. For a realistic timeline, leave a margin in your schedule to account for weather delays.

2. Resource and Budget Shortages

If you are in the middle of a commercial construction project, one of the worst scenarios is overextending your resources or budget.

Budget shortages can cause long delays in a project, ranging from a few weeks to several years. The longer the project, the longer the daily operations of your business will be disrupted. Keeping on-budget is difficult, especially in an economy with continuously rising construction costs. But with realistic planning, you can keep your construction project progressing on-time and within your resources.

Ask if your construction project manager uses an accounting software specifically designed for construction companies — these help managers accurately price projects and stay within budget. Software can also help a construction manager maximize operational efficiency, monitor performance and uphold contract compliance throughout the project, keeping costs down.

3. Exhausted or Unreliable Crews

Often, construction companies will assume more projects than they can handle, overbooking their crews and overextending their equipment.

Alternatively, a team of subcontractors may be unreliable, lacking the experience, training or methodology required to finish a job with timeliness. During the course of a project, a crew may grow exhausted or inefficient, creating costly delays in construction.

To combat this, some managers choose to hire additional workers during the middle of a project. While hiring fresh employees is not necessary for every project, discuss the possibility with your contractor and develop a strategy in case it is needed.

4. Sudden Changes

When developing a timeline for your project, always leave flexibility for sudden, unexpected changes.

The list of potential setbacks is endless. Sometimes equipment breaks down, and it takes longer than expected to find a replacement machine. A project design error might take weeks of additional work to correct, or illness might sweep through your crew. It’s impossible to predict every possible delay — again, leave a margin in your timeline for the unexpected.

By planning flexibility for potential delays, you will build a realistic timeline and keep your project on track — even when faced with sudden changes.

Selecting the Right Contractor 

The right contractor will make or break your commercial construction project. But in a growing industry, the options are numerous — choosing a contractor can be an overwhelming task. As you search for the right team to work with you and your company’s needs, walk through these steps to simplify the process.

  • Ask for recommendations: Check with other local business or building inspectors to get recommendations for high-quality contractors. Getting a personal recommendation helps you know that you are selecting a contractor with a solid reputation for completing projects on time and under budget.
  • Conduct phone interviews: Contact the company to see if they take on projects like yours. Ask for a list of former clients, as well as how long they have been operating.
  • Investigate claims: Call previous clients and ask them about their experience with the contractor. If you can, visit the finished project and examine the quality of work. Check out one of the contractor’s current worksite — is it safe and organized?
  • Quality over price: You might be tempted to choose the lowest bidding company. However, if a contractor is offering significantly lower prices than competitors, they are most likely cutting corners at some point in the construction process. Instead of going with the lowest bidder, choose a contractor that communicates well and is dedicated to providing a high-quality product.

The best contractors will have a stellar track record of service and communication, as well as content clients and strong recommendations.

Communicating Throughout the Project 

A successful and smooth construction project hinges on effective communication.

As you and your project manager plan the scope and details of the construction, establish a clear chain of communication for the project. Who is responsible for communicating with suppliers, workers and subcontractors? If a problem arises, who do you contact for answers?

In most instances, the construction project manager will be your point of contact for any questions or concerns. They will handle communication between you and the rest of the construction team. Ensure that every person who contributes to the construction knows their responsibilities and roles within the project — keeping every member of the process informed is vital to a project with few setbacks and disruptions.

To make the construction as non-intrusive as possible, begin communication with your employees long before the project starts. Let them know when the project will begin and why, as well as any potential inconveniences. The key to few complaints and disruptions is plenty of forewarning — if a specific phase of construction will be louder than others, send out an email to your employees recommending they bring headphones to work on those days.

Effective communication is key to a non-disruptive and efficient construction project, so it is vital to choose a project manager and contractor who makes it a priority.

The Team That Prioritizes Safety, Quality and Performance

The ideal construction partner possesses professional knowledge, expert skill and varied experience with a range of diverse projects.

At Houck, our team of expert technicians provides the highest quality service and craftsmanship. We take pride in our work and are dedicated to realizing your project goals. Contact us today to plan your next major construction project.

What Should You Do If Your Business Is Flooded?

Your business is flooded — now what?

For many business owners, the risk of flooding seems like a distant threat, especially if your building doesn’t border water. However, floods can occur in any place that experiences rainfall — planning for rising water levels is a vital part of any company’s disaster preparedness plan.

When the unexpected happens, it’s crucial to have a strong plan of action. In this article, we will discuss the immediate and long-term steps to take after a flood has damaged your business. We will also explore some preventative maintenance and construction solutions that will keep your building safe against future flooding.

Types of Water

Not all floods are the same. One of the key differences is in the type of water, which will influence the level of cleaning and repair your business needs. Water is divided into three broad categories, each with varying degrees of danger and contamination.

  • Category 1: Category one water is the least damaging or hazardous — it comes from a sanitary water source such as rainwater or a broken water pipe. This type of water poses little to no risk to human or environmental health.
  • Category 2: This water has significant physical, biological or chemical contamination. Also called “gray water,” this category can cause discomfort or even illness if a person consumes it or is otherwise exposed. If your flood has category two water, expect contamination from broken or leaking septic lines.
  • Category 3: Water from this category is also called “black water,” and it is the most dangerous of all three types. Flooding from ground surface water, seawater, rivers, streams and sewage contains category three water. Blackwater will have silt and debris, along with toxigenic and pathogenic agents.

After the category of water, the next significant factor influencing damage is the type of flood.

Types of Flooding

There are many kinds of flooding, but most fall into one of three major categories — fluvial, pluvial and coastal floods.

1. Fluvial Flooding

Fluvial flooding occurs when a river overflows its banks. These types of floods could have many causes, but common sources include excessive rainfall, ice jams or snowmelt. These riverine floods can lead to widespread damage, producing overflow that pours into smaller rivers downstream and spreading the flooding.

Fluvial floods come in two primary types — overbank flooding and flash flooding. When a river rises over its banks, the resulting flood is classified as overbank. Flash flooding is marked by high-velocity and high-intensity rushes of water. Because of the force of the flood and the debris caught up in the torrent, fluvial floods are destructive and hazardous.

2. Pluvial Flooding

Pluvial flooding is the surface water floods often caused by heavy, continuous rainfall. These types of floods are independent of a body of water and can happen in any urban area, even those at high elevations.

These floods are categorized into one of two groups — those caused by flooded drainage systems and those caused by run-off from nearby hills. Hillsides that have recently endured forest fires are common sources of pluvial floods — they cannot absorb rainfall, leading to torrents of downhill-flowing water.

3. Coastal Flooding

Coastal floods, or surge floods, happen in regions that border the coasts of an ocean, sea or other large body of water. Typically, these floods occur because of severe weather — heavy storms produce extreme tidal conditions, creating a perfect scenario for flooding.

Surge or coastal floods are ranked as minor, moderate or major depending on the amount of beach erosion and structural damage.

Immediate Action Steps 

Your immediate action steps depend on the type of flood you’ve experienced — hurricanes and major coastal floods will require different actions than pluvial torrents. Regardless of the kind of flooding, do not attempt to access your business until water levels have significantly receded.

Once the water recedes enough for you to access your business, the first step is to assess the damage and file any insurance claims. Keep these general tips in mind as you approach your building:

  • Wear the right clothing: Make sure you are equipped with the proper clothing. When entering a recently flooded area or building, always wear sturdy, closed-toe shoes, eye protection and rubber gloves. Flood water is not clean water — assume anything that has been touched by the water is contaminated.
  • Assess from the outside: Look for any electrical or structural damage from outside the building. If anything looks amiss, delay entering until an expert can examine the structure. Especially in flood situations, electrical damage and gas leaks can be incredibly hazardous.
  • Check any electrical systems: Before entering your business for the first time after the flood, make sure all gas and electric services are shut down. Let a certified electrician check your property for grounded lines or other hazardous conditions before you reconnect any systems.
  • Watch for mold and wildlife: Mold might have settled into your building during the flood. If you notice any signs of fungus, wear a respirator that can filter out spores. Especially if the flood happens during summer months, keep an eye out for any unwanted wildlife such as snakes or fire ants.

Once you’ve made these initial observations and taken necessary precautions, it’s time to move into the documenting and repair process. Here are immediate steps to take after your business has experienced flooding.

1. File Flood Insurance Claims

If the building appears structurally sound, the next step is to scrutinize the structure and note any damages for insurance claims.

Don’t wait for an insurance adjuster to arrive before beginning the cleaning and salvaging process. Take photos of your business to use as inventory and start cleaning out any washed-in debris or silt — this will help you and the adjuster ascertain the damage. Keep any damaged stock, materials or objects as proof of loss.

If you don’t have flood insurance, one option is to check if the government has declared your flood a federal disaster. This is often the case in the instances of hurricanes. If your area qualifies, you can apply for federal assistance online.

2. Remove Water and Ventilate

Remove remaining flood water using any method you can access — pumps and wet-dry vacuums work the best. If an electrician has approved your electrical system, begin drying your space using fans and dehumidifiers. Avoid using electric space heaters to dry your business. Small heaters are most often ineffective, and larger, fuel-fired heaters produce moisture, which adds to your problem.

3. Clean the Finishes

After you’ve removed any remaining water, the next step is cleaning your business. A thorough cleaning is crucial in reducing the chance of mold, mildew and other damage.

Prioritize washing the wall finishes, woodwork and floors of your business first. Take care not to scrape or sand any surfaces with lead-based paint. For the best and safest results, use a phosphate-free cleaner and wash from the top of a surface to the bottom.

4. Examine Carpets and Furnishings

If your business was furnished, first move all furniture and carpeting outside to either discard or to clean and dry.

Since flood water often contains contaminants, you should almost always replace damaged rugs, carpets and carpet pads within 48 hours after the water has subsided. Strive to dry out the subfloor as quickly and thoroughly as possible — installing new carpet over damp floors is a perfect recipe for mildew.

Consider discarding all upholstered furniture that has been damaged by flood water. The fabric will absorb the water as well as its various contaminants, which often includes infectious organisms such as intestinal bacteria. Furniture made from solid wood, plastic or metal may be cleaned and possibly restored — move any non-upholstered furniture outside and use a hose to wash away any mud or debris. After cleaning or sanitizing the furniture, set it in full, direct sunlight. Allow it to dry completely before bringing back inside.

5. Remove or Sanitize Food and Water

Until your public health department or local water company declares your water source safe and uncontaminated, don’t assume any water is safe to drink. Purify the water that you use to cook and drink, as well as the water you use for cleaning.

Discard any flood-damaged utensils, and thoroughly wash ceramic or metal containers. Clear out any food unless it is stored in metal cans — you may be able to salvage canned goods after cleaning and disinfecting the cans.

Long-Term Planning

After you have taken immediate steps to correct the flood damage, you can move into the long-term planning phase of flood restoration.

Depending on the extent of damage, your business might be recovering for several months. Work with your insurance provider to determine the level of reconstruction and industrial repair your building needs.

1. Replace Flooring

After a significant flood, examine the flooring of your business. First, check the subfloors — OSB subfloors or submerged plywood typically swells and separates. To keep your floors from buckling, replace any affected sections with new materials. Make sure you allow the subfloors to dry out completely before repairing them — if not, you risk mold and rot.

Wood floors have a high chance of buckling when water damaged. To prevent this, if your business has wooden floors, remove a board every few feet — this will relieve pressure and help your floors remain level.

2. Open the Walls

Even if your walls don’t appear damaged, open them to prevent odor, mold and later structural decay.

To drain uninsulated walls, tear away baseboards and cut or drill holes into the wallboards. Dispose of wet drywall, but any paneling that appears to be undamaged can be set aside and reinstalled after drying. Examine the insulation — if you find any wet, fibrous insulation, discard it immediately.

Clean away silt, mud and debris with a disinfectant solution to kill any fungi or mold, and speed up the drying process with dehumidifiers and fans. Until the walls have completely dried, leave them open — if they don’t dry thoroughly, they might develop damp. The walls may take up to a month to completely dry.

If your building’s masonry has been damaged, work with a professional service to rebuild and restore your walls and foundation.

3. Prevent Mold and Mildew

In the weeks and months after the flood, it’s vital you aggressively control mold and mildew growth in your building. As soon as power is available, keep heat, air conditioning or a dehumidifier continuously running to reduce moisture. Turn on electric lights in closets and other small rooms and leave doors open — this helps air circulate and speeds the drying process.

If you notice mildew or mold on any furniture or objects, take them outside to clean. This will keep disturbed spores from spreading around your building. Once outside, use a vacuum or damp paper towels and soap to wipe away any visible mold. If possible, let the items dry in direct sunlight before taking them back inside your business.

Preventative Maintenance and Construction 

The best way to protect your business against flood damage is to act preventatively. While no solution is as effective as high elevation, here are some steps you can take to protect your business from future flooding.

1. Flooring

Whether your floors need to withstand small spills or torrential floods, waterproof flooring is an essential component of a durable workplace. Work with an experienced contractor to find the highest-quality, water-resistant materials for your company’s floors, such as epoxy — it will go a long way towards increasing the flood-durability of your business.

2. Roofing

Many floods come in conjunction with rain, and lots of it. Protect your business from leaks with a roof that meets the needs of your company — while commercial roofing balances aesthetic appeal with functionality, industrial roofing primarily revolves around practical durability. A professional contractor can help you determine the best material for your roof. Some options include rubber, asphalt, metal or liquid-applied solutions.

3. Sealing and Waterproofing

Water can slip into the smallest cracks and gaps in a building. Keep your business water-tight using waterproof materials and techniques. One effective solution is joint sealants, which create a waterproof barrier between your business and the elements. Joint sealants can be applied to existing as well as new surfaces, which makes them an attractive option for flood preventative maintenance. Again, for the best results, consult with an experienced team to waterproof your business.

As you recover from flood damage, select replacement materials that are designed to withstand flooding, including removable wainscoting, rigid foam insulation and ceramic tile. This will further extend the lifespan of your building, especially when dealing with floods.

A Team You Can Trust

Floods can occur anywhere and without warning. When the unexpected happens, you need an expert team you can trust.

At Houck, we are dedicated to providing the highest-quality restoration and maintenance services in the mid-Atlantic region. We will give your business the personalized craftsmanship it deserves — our skilled technicians provide a wide range of creative solutions customized to the needs of your company. Our team is committed to the highest standards of safety, quality and performance, and we won’t rest until you are completely satisfied with our work.

For the toughest jobs, contact Houck online or call us at 717-657-3302.

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