Virtual Design Construction

How Consistent Maintenance Helps Your Structure During Hurricane Season?

Puerto Rico has witnessed firsthand that Hurricanes are one of the most powerful storms on earth. And with the trend of unforeseeable events that have taken place this year, it’s more than an obvious choice for businesses to start preparing for the worst possible scenario. As we’ve experienced, hurricanes vary in wind strength, size, central barometric pressure, storm surge flooding potential, and destructive capacity. Depending on the storm, the devastating perils a hurricane can inflict on an area include extraordinary high force winds, storm surge damage, and massive flooding.

We typically use the Saffir-Simpson Scale to classify hurricanes into five categories based on wind speed, central pressure, and damage potential, but these numbers become irrelevant when buildings can easily be affected due to poor structure maintenance. “Category three” and higher hurricanes are considered major hurricanes, although categories “one” and “two” are still extremely dangerous and warrant your full attention. Structure vulnerabilities can quickly escalate in even the lowest danger categories.

Even though the impact of hurricanes is largely unpredictable, there are key ways to prepare your structure, organization, and your employees. For example, a building’s maintenance plan should observe adequate upkeep (and if necessary, repositioning) of key mechanical and electrical elements that could cause catastrophic damage is affected by the winds, power surges, and flooding during the storm. Meanwhile, if you have any hazardous chemicals on-site, you should have a containment plan in place to minimize the risk to workers and disaster response teams. If you have any fire hazards, your emergency plan should address measures to contain them. If you don’t already, you should have data backup servers and backup generators in case the power goes out. All your systems, however, should be kept in top shape and revised regularly, so that your job does not fall into a cluster of work orders when Hurricane season si upon everyone.

Also, in the case of residential properties, the property manager should work closely with the property owners to prepare a checklist of actions and channels to share critical information with tenants. At DDD Group, our team can prepare a customized, comprehensive disaster plan specific to the needs of each community and its residents that consider the building’s equipment, construction materials, and evacuation routes. The plan, which includes pre-storm procedures, tips to make residential units storm-ready, disaster-relief information, shelter details, and emergency response numbers, must be shared across all residents, building staff, and management. Leading up to a hurricane, essential personnel—managers, engineers, and front desk people—should remain at the property to maintain building services and assist residents with evacuation. Throughout the year, shutters, roofs, HVAC systems, and other components should be kept on a regular maintenance routine, to continually improve the structure, and not have to make massive investments when the storm is near.

Naturally, a well-maintained structure is much more likely to survive the impact of a powerful storm, but it’s important to partner with a firm that can deliver strategic plans that take into account all the elements of your organization (personnel, space planning, budget, long-term goals and more). Further, a building’s probability of withstanding the storm is much higher if its main safety features are integrated INTO the construction, instead of as part of a reactive approach. That’s why DDD Group prides itself on resilient design and construction: strategic investments implemented from the start will go a very long way in the future.