Storms - Protection of Buildings

ImageAre you avoiding the impact that high wind storms and heavy rain can cause to your property? Do you have appropriate design and foresight; frequent inspection and maintenance; developed preparation and planned responses plans? When such events are often predicted in advance by meteorological officials, we can be prepared and plan for the foreseen. 

1. Check your Roofs and Wall Mounted Objects

Roofs need appropriate regular inspection, maintenance and repairs and roof or wall mounted objects (lightweight plant rooms; air conditioners; solar panels; fans, pumps and motors, etc.) need to be appropriately secured to avoid damage.

Always remember:

✓Regularly and ahead of high winds, the flashing around the edge of a building perimeter should be visually and closely checked. Having some threaded nails with flat washers available enables quick and easy interim repairs where needed

✓ Replace missing, loose or damaged roof tiles

✓ Ensure roof-mounted structures are in good condition, e.g. chimneys

✓ Ensure pointing is of appropriate standard

✓ Contact a roofing specialist to expedite emergency repairs ahead of storms

 

✓Regularly and ahead of any high winds, any roof or wall mounted equipment or plant rooms should be checked

✓ Ensure all roof top access hatches or plant room door ways are properly secured

✓ Where there are any concerns, further securement or methods of protection should be considered

 

2. Check your External Objects

 

• Mobile objects should be moved to secure areas or securely fixed to the ground (storage, bins, outdoor furniture and trees/shrubs and sometimes parked vehicles)

• If glazed elements are not impact resistant, appropriately fixed plywood can be used to protect them

• External services, equipment, etc. should be protected against impact

• The condition and location of trees and shrubs should be considered, and immediate issues of concern addressed, e.g. tree limb fracture or tree collapse

 

3. Be Aware of Rain

 

• Precautions should be taken against wind driven rain through air ventilation systems, louvres, under and around sliding glass doors, roof mounted exhausts, roof mounted access hatches or plant rooms, etc.

• Ensure roofs and gutters are cleared and clean

• Ensure drains and manhole covers are in place and secured

• Ensure public highway located storm drains are cleared and clean

• Liaise with neighbours to ensure the same. One blockage can cause a knock-on effect in a drainage network

 

4. Remember Utilities and Services

 

Consider the following:

 

• What could be impacted, e.g. over-ground services?

• How could it be impacted, e.g. wind damage, impact from falling trees, etc.?

• What services need to be operational during the storm, e.g. fire alarm, sprinkler fire protection system, electricity, etc.?

• Can any services be isolated ahead of the storm? This should be verified by formal documented risk assessment and permit to work and managed with a formal lock out/tag out process

• When do services need to be restored?

 

5. Make Emergency Plans

 

Make sure your emergency preparedness and emergency response plans are up-to-date for wind and flood. Any emergency response plans should include the following:

 

• Move susceptible items to higher ground

• Consider skidding items on pallets or multiple pallets

• Make sure openings, windows, doors are protected and sealed

o At all levels of the building, including

▪ Basements

▪ Upper levels

▪ Levels adjacent to gutter valleys/troughs or flat roofs

o If the risk is appropriate, consider having sand bags or more engineered items available on site and a plan in place of

when to deploy

• Ensure any temporary or emergency water pumps and generators are protected from water ingress, have appropriate fuel or protected energy supply, and are available to operate                                                                                                                                      • Consider denial of access to the site due to the weather conditions                           

• Consider the impact to employees, site management and the emergency response team by these events                                        • Consider the impact to your services                                                                                                                                                                                                                       

Emergency response plans should be regularly tested and updated.