Wolgast Restoration Blog Page

Fire Resistant Building Elements for Business Owners

Posted by Cory Sursely on Mon, Oct 05, 2020 @ 02:24 PM

Forty to sixty percent of businesses that face disaster, such as a fire, never reopen according to FEMA.gov. To prepare for Fire Prevention Week the beginning of October, we have compiled information about making a business structure more fire resistant.

In 1922, the NFPA originated Fire Prevention Week was a small organizational observance. President Coolidge adopted it nationally in 1925 to be recognized every year during the week of October 9. That date coincides with The Great Chicago Fire, which happened in 1871, killing 250 people and leaving 100,000 homeless (nfpa.org).

This yearly reminder to building inhabitants whether end users or owners is a good practice to help save many lives, homes, and businesses, and we feel that knowing what causes the most fires in a commercial or industrial setting will help business owners protect themselves from hazards, see graphs.

Commercial Building Fire Causes         Industrial Building Fire Causes

Sources: nfpa.org: U.S. Structure Fires in Office Properties, Aug 2013     nfpa.org: Fires in Industrial and Manufacturing Properties, Mar 2018

For commercial buildings, the majority of fires are started while cooking, so having flame retardant materials and furniture is important in the kitchen area. It’s also important to know that intentional fires are commonly arson caused by a disgruntled person either in the bathroom or an exterior dumpster, therefore, it’s good to be aware of who is in a building when there has been an altercation, empty trash daily, install motion sensor cameras, and keep the dumpster away from the building.   Additionally, most unintentional fires are commonly started by cigarettes in the landscaping or space heaters placed against the wall. Having designated disposal units for cigarettes and a policy about the use of space heaters are great, low cost means to protect from everything going up in smoke (smokeguard.com).

Depending on the size and use of a building, a sprinkler system may be required by code. For example, an office or medical building, AKA light hazard, over 12,000 s.f. is required to be “sprinkled”, but a restaurant only needs to be 5,000 s.f. to require a sprinkler system. I interviewed Bernie with Jimco Fire Protection, Inc. about what materials building owners should use to be more fire resistant and he suggested, “Metal trusses with fire retardant sheeting is the best way to go on a roof.” By using these materials, an attic doesn’t need to be sprinkled regardless of the size even if the rest of the building needs to be. Another option that Bernie doesn’t readily recommend is instead using wood trusses and installing a dry suppression system. It may be less upfront cost, but there will be regular ongoing maintenance of the system that will likely add up to cost more and cause more risky down time. According to sciencedirect.com, other material selections good for fire protection of a building envelope (i.e. walls, ceiling, floors, columns, and roof), are heat resistant materials and/or metal choices, such as concrete, coated steel, brick and mortar, treated wood, glass, and other metals to name a few.

Also, depending on the size and use of a building, an owner may be required by code to incorporate the following into the structural design, fire curtain, a minimum number of fire alarms, emergency lights and exit signs, and a minimum number of fire extinguishers. Bernie reminded us that if adding on to a building, it could trigger the additional expense of some of these requirements.

Low cost ways to protect staff, customers and assets from fire damage include good housekeeping inside and out of the building, maintenance, having a disaster response plan, and a contingency plan. The best practice is to take the time to train staff on fire safety and how to use an extinguisher, and discuss a disaster plan with staff including where to meet outside the building to be accounted for in the event of an emergency.

I asked Bernie what was new in the fire protection industry and he said, “Sprinkler heads are the only thing changing. In the 70s there were only 4 options, now there’s an unknown number of options.” He shared that on the market are single heads that can reach 30 ft. one way and 30 ft. the other way, essentially covering entire rooms with its spray. A head of that strength of spray requires only one main line in a room, rather than using more materials to branch out with piping through the space and also needs less labor saving on cost.

Wolgast Corporation and Wolgast Restoration are in a unique position to be able to assist business owners to rebuild during a disaster. We have the insurance restoration expertise to help with clean up along with the design and construction expertise to rebuild the structure if it’s needed. In the event of an emergency call 855-WOLGAST for our 24-Hour emergency hotline, or 800-WOLGAST for other building needs.

Topics: commercial, fire damage, business preparation

Having a Restoration Company and a General Contractor on the Same Team

Posted by Rich Droste on Tue, Apr 09, 2019 @ 10:47 AM

Wolgast Corporation        Wolgast Restoration Logo RGB 72dpi

Having a Restoration Company and a General Contractor on the Same Team

The team of  Wolgast Corporation and Wolgast Restoration was created to be a high level provider of full-service restoration services to deal with all of your challenges when mayhem strikes your building.  Wolgast Restoration specializes in residential and commercial restoration when it comes to structural damage from water, fire, wind, or other mishaps.  And Wolgast Corporation is a commercial contractor who has specialized in buildings of all shapes and sizes since 1948.

So, what are the benefits of having your restoration company on the same team as a general contractor?  The communication and actions to start planning the reconstruction portion of your project (if it’s needed) flows fluidly through the company as the experts in charge of your building talk freely and regularly.  Also the strength and resources that Wolgast Corporation has developed over the past 70+ years provides a solid foundation for Wolgast Restoration to handle projects of any size. 

During the clean-up portion of a project, project technicians can assess the situation and keep the construction staff informed of what’s needed and the construction staff can be estimating budgets, planning for materials, obtaining permits and organizing team coverage.  All this is done without much effort on your part, because when you have endured mayhem, the last thing you want is to be burdened with is making phone calls and searching for an unknown company to preserve your building.

Wolgast Restoration is providing its services through the same systemized approach that Wolgast Corporation uses to provide its construction services.  We find that having this systemized approach allows us to provide the most uniform and quality service for each unique job.  It helps us move quickly to the next task rather than pause to determine what to do next, all to the benefit of our clients through time savings.

We have offices in Saginaw and Kalamazoo areas.  If mayhem strikes you, please don’t hesitate to strike back with Wolgast Restoration.  Call 855.965.4278 to take immediate action.  In the meantime, if you have questions, please visit www.wolgastrestoration.com or call 989-790-9120 when it isn't an emergency.

 

water damagefire damagewind damage

Topics: Water Damage, residential, wind damage, Wolgast Restoration, structural damage, commercial, fire damage

Spring Is on Its Way

Posted by Cory Sursely on Wed, Mar 13, 2013 @ 08:25 AM

Are you prepared for the potential storms that accompany it?

lightning

In the spring, we turn our clocks ahead one hour and our thoughts to warmer weather and the activities we love.  We plan barbecues, picnics, ballgames, camping and a wide variety of other outdoor activities.

No one likes to cancel outdoor activities, but when severe weather threatens, we need to prepare for the possibility of damages occurring not only to ourselves, but also to our home and business.  Thunderstorms, hail, rain and tornadoes cause varying degrees of damage.  

Some valuable things to remember when faced with potential severe weather:

*Check the local weather report for your area or your destination (weatherchannel.com or local news or radio station) to see if there is a chance of severe weather.  You may need to change your plans, or at least wait until the threat of severe weather has passed before heading out.

*Remember that storms can develop quickly and without a lot of advanced warning.  Having an emergency kit in your home and vehicle can provide you with much-needed necessities if caught without power or you are stranded.

**Flashlights and extra batteries, candles, matches, disposable lighters

**Battery-powered radios, cell phones

**Water/non-perishable food for at least 3 days for each person

**Blankets, pillows, extra clothing

**Moistened towelettes, garbage bags

**Tool kit

**Books and/or games

Remember that disaster can strike at any time, and most people are not prepared for it, even though they may think they are.  Being prepared for any emergency will help to alleviate stress when disaster does strike. 

At Wolgast Restoration, when mayhem strikes, we strike back!”

Topics: Water Damage, Flooding, residential, wind damage, Wolgast Restoration, structural damage, commercial

Q. What Do Spring and Basements Have in Common? A. Flooding Part I

Posted by Cory Sursely on Fri, Mar 08, 2013 @ 04:23 PM

Don’t Be Caught with a Flooded Basement This Spring

(Part I of II)

flooded basementJust because the snow is gone doesn’t mean you’re past the danger of a flooded basement.  The ground is still frozen and in the process of thawing when the spring rains come, therefore, the ground is too saturated and/or frozen to absorb the water.  The water then flows down the easiest path which is usually to your foundation wall and into your basement.

The Biggest Causes of Basement Flooding

Sump pumps can help filter water out of your basement when they’re working properly; however, there are many things that can go wrong with a sump pump at the wrong time.  For instance, it can fail due to age, continuous use can burn up the motor, debris in the basin can block flow, the “check” valve fails, or the weep hole or filter can get clogged.

Other problems that can lead to flooding are from municipal infrastructure malfunctions.  A sanitary sewer pipe is designed to remove wastewater from your home (i.e. toilets, sinks, floor drains, and can include your weep tiles around your foundation, etc).  If excess storm water enters the sanitary sewer system, it can overload the system and send it back into your house (usually if the fixtures or drains are below the surcharge level).  The same thing can happen with a storm sewer that’s usually larger than the sanitary sewer, but designed to carry larger amounts of flow.

Your landscaping can also contribute to a flooded basement.  When the ground around your foundation slopes toward the house, the rainwater naturally flows in the sloped direction.  In most cases, your weeping tiles will carry the water away without issue, but at some point the water could overload the system and find its way into the foundation walls.  The same goes for window wells, so slope away from them, too.

Another cause could be your eaves troughs and downspouts.  Do your downspouts extend at least 6’ away from your foundation wall?  If not, the water could overload your weeping tiles.  Are they still plugged from fall with pine needles or leaves?  Do you see water over flowing from the gutter in the center of your house?

Solutions to These Problems:

When you have an unexplained flooding problem, start first at the eaves troughs and downspouts, and then look at your landscaping and foundation drainage, then to sewer/sanitary drains and finally, the interior plumbing.

1)      Keep the gutters and downspouts clean of debris, check for cracks (especially at the connections).  Have the downspouts out 6’ from your foundation.  If they still spill over in heavy rains replace them with a larger size.

2)      The ground around your home settles and can slope towards your foundation, fill it in and grade the lot so it slopes away from the house at least 6’.

3)      It’s difficult to determine whether you have weeping tile problems, but if the source of the water can’t be found it’s probably time to hire a company with a camera to snake the drains and see if you have a crushed tile or plug.  This would also determine if this is in the sanitary or storm drain.  (Usually if water or sewer is coming up through your drains in the floor or through a basement shower drain this is external backup).

4)      Last, but not least, the Sump Pump.  Make sure the discharge pipe is free of debris and discharged out into your property where it can be absorbed, such as your lawn or garden.  Next, make sure the pit is cleaned each year as the weeping tiles can carry small amounts of sand or debris into the pit.  Check and test your pump each spring (can check by pouring water into the pit until the pump kicks on).  Remove and clean the pump once a year.  Always disconnect the power source before working on the pump.  Check once a month for debris in the pit.

A good back up for the sump pump is a battery backup that will kick on when you lose power from a storm.  There are a variety of backups and some that have an audible alarm or can call your phone to notify you of a power outage.  There is also a backwater valve that prevents sewage from backing up into your basement, ask a plumbing company.

Part II - Flooding Saftey & Preparedness

Topics: Water Damage, Flooding, Mold, residential, commercial