On Property Management, Risk Management, and Professional Water Damage Remediation

We just completed a large mold remediation job for a local jewelry store in Langhorne, PA. The mold grew because water damage from Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee wasn’t dried properly. Even though the carpets were dry, the drywall behind vinyl wallpaper was allowed to stay wet.

mold in a Langhorne, PA jewelry store

mold growth on wet drywall behind vinyl wall paper

When groundwater intrudes into a structure, whether it’s a home, an office building or a commercial store, it’s considered Category III water, sometimes referred to as “blackwater.” It’s not sewage, but it’s treated like contaminated water because the water has picked up all sorts of nasty stuff as it flowed over the ground and came into the building. Groundwater contains all the contaminants that would normally just “stay put” in the ground: pesticides, bacteria from dog poop, and you guessed it, mold spores. When drywall soaks up this blackwater and can’t dry because plastic wall covering prevents proper drying, it grows mold.

What is interesting about this story is that PuroClean Emergency Recovery Services was hired as “second team in” on this problem. The property management company providing coordination of maintenance services for this large national jewelry chain already had the carpets cleaned and dried by another company. Unfortunately, this other company didn’t have the meters, technology, or understanding to take care of the wet drywall before it grew mold.

finding the water that caused the mold growth

Moisture mapping for water in drywall

It ended up being an extremely costly endeavor to repair and replace all the damage so the jewelry store could open on time for their biggest shopping day of the year: Black Friday.
The question is, how did this happen? What we’ve found in conversations with other property managers has been very educational.

First, many property managers don’t have a Risk Management Plan in place. A Risk Management Plan has within it all the information and contact numbers a property manager needs in case of emergencies. The information in a Risk Management Plan isn’t placed there arbitrarily. The property manager interviews each of the emergency contacts in the Risk Management Plan – BEFORE the floods and storms occur – to determine availability and pricing for all the vendors. That way they know who to call and the price of the service so there are no surprises in the event of a disaster.

Second, while property managers know their properties well, most don’t know the difference between having a carpet cleaning company extract water from carpet and having a professional water damage restoration company dry the whole structure – and make sure it’s dry – with meters that measure the moisture. Mold can’t grow unless it has heat, moisture, and food. If you take away the moisture, no mold can grow.

Third, part of a property manager’s job is watching the bottom line. So, they’re interested in finding vendors who quote low prices. On the surface, it appears cheaper to have a carpet cleaning company simply extract water from the carpets. Unfortunately, if they leave the wallboard wet, and mold grows, remediating a property for mold is a much more costly endeavor. And mold growth can present severe health risks for the residents and employees that work there and a huge liability for the property manager who is in charge of maintaining the property.

Air scrubbing equipment removes mold spores and air born contaminants

High tech equipment to remove mold spores from the air

PuroClean Emergency Recovery Services is proud to have been the company called in to solve this Property Management Company’s problem with the jewelry store. We were happy to be able to return the store to pre-loss condition in record time so they could be open for Black Friday and there was no loss of revenue for the owner. And we’re standing by with the resources to help them complete their Risk Management Plan so that future emergencies can be addressed before they become even larger problems!

If you are a Property Manager in charge of Risk Management Planning, contact us today at 877-750-7876 to make an appointment. We will be happy to walk you through the steps for comprehensive planning so that this situation doesn’t happen to you.

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