Over the past year, as the coronavirus pandemic and its attendant lockdowns have fundamentally changed the way people live their lives, owners and management of commercial properties have faced unique challenges.
Warehouses that distribute goods purchased online bustle with new business, while office buildings stand empty. Strip malls and shopping centers that saw thousands of visitors a day have had to pivot to alternative ways of working, or have closed down altogether. New patterns in consumer behavior are fueling booms in some markets, and hollowing others out.
These changes patterns are manifested most immediately in profits and losses, but they are having an impact on physical infrastructure as well. The use of buildings has changed (sometimes drastically), and whether you oversee a block of flats or a downtown retail space, it is important to be aware of what these changes mean for routine maintenance.
Changing Use Patterns Introduce Unexpected Stress
Imagine a mid-size apartment building in a suburb of a large metropolitan area — Pickering, for example, which serves as a bedroom community for Toronto.
Most winters, apartment and condo dwellers would spend a good part of their day at work — meaning lower demands on heating, water, and other utilities between 8:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m. With many of these workers now spending the day at home, the entire building is seeing more use.
This places unexpected stress on key parts of the structure, like the plumbing system. But while plumbing problems make themselves immediately known, by the time signs of a distressed roof have manifested, you may be looking at considerable repairs.
The roof of a commercial building plays an essential role in regulating temperature and humidity, and the added strain of people spending more time in the building can cause a host of problems that can pose a serious risk to the structure.
Why Regular Maintenance is More Important than Ever
For this reason, it is important to be especially vigilant about wear and tear on commercial buildings. Whether your properties are being used more frequently or less frequently, you should be on the lookout for:
- Ponding water
- Sagging roof decks
- Ceiling mold
- Unusual humidity patterns
Regularly checking up on the state of the roof deck throughout the winter and spring should be a major priority, and if you find holes or open seams in the roofing membrane, it is imperative to call a Pickering roofing company immediately for a thorough inspection.
If problems are caught early enough, Pickering roofers will be able to repair the damage, but if they are left to get worse you may be looking at a complete roof repair job.
With the end of the pandemic finally in sight, many experts are warning that after months of sitting empty, buildings may not be immediately safe to open once the vaccine rollout is complete.
As a building manager or owner, it is your responsibility to ensure that your building can handle whatever the new challenges the coming months bring, and the best way to do that is by undertaking regular inspections to ensure changing stress patterns haven’t damaged structural integrity.