Archive for February, 2015

Falling Ice and Collapsing Roofs

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Roof IceWe have been hearing – almost daily – about the roofs that have collapsed in our area due to the weight of the snow and ice on them.  We have also been hearing of damage that has occurred when ice chunks and snow slides have fallen from roofs onto property, vehicles or people below them.  And if you take a quick drive you will easily see several buildings and homes with picturesque snow mounds and icicle colonies right on the edge of the roof just ready to take the plunge earthward……and hopefully no one is near when that happens.Icicles

So, we can not stress strongly enough that if you can safely take actions to prevent any of these things from happening with your property you should and if not, looking into hiring a company that can.  Beside observation, you should also be aware of signs that a roof is overburdened with snow, such as creaking noises, windows and doors that won’t open, or the appearance of sagging in roof trusses or beams.  If any of these signs appear, evacuate the building quickly and safely, and contact your snow-removal and insurance professionals.

Read more in this article from Erik Olsen, from Chubb Group.

How Ready Is Your Roof?

Although falling snow can turn almost any neighborhood into a winter wonderland, commercial building owners and managers have to guard against snow causing roof leaks or, in the most severe cases, building collapse.

Careful roof inspections and routine maintenance are important year-round, but become critical as temperatures drop and the potential for snow increases.

A Watchful Eye One of the most important preventative measures you can take to protect a roof against snow and ice damage is inspecting it on a regular basis. If conditions allow safe access to the roof, your engineering or facilities staff should make sure roof drains are clear and operating properly, and ice isn’t accumulating near the roof’s drains or perimeter flashing. If ice forms a dam near the roof’s edge or around drains, for instance, it can damage the roof’s membrane and allow water to penetrate below the roof causing severe water damage.

The inspection should also evaluate the general condition of the roof, and should include signs of damage such as unprotected roof penetrations or bolted connections from telecommunications or solar equipment that has been installed on the roof.

Protecting Against Collapse A catastrophic risk for commercial buildings is the potential for collapse if the roof is not able to support the weight of accumulated snow and ice.

In snow-prone regions, older buildings may not have been designed for accumulated snow (or may be vulnerable to large snow drifts in a corner of the roof). Similarly, buildings with large, long expanse flat roofs — such as warehouses — may be more vulnerable to collapse than buildings with slanted or shorter span roofs.

Because the weight of snow can vary considerably according to its moisture content, there are no hard-and-fast guidelines for how much snow is too much for a roof. In general terms, though, if a storm accumulation approaches a foot, it’s a good idea to consider having snow removed from the roof’s surface.

To reduce the risk of workers damaging the roof or the potential for falls, it’s a good idea to bring in a contractor with the experience and equipment needed to remove snow safely from a roof. You should meet with the contractor, ideally long before a storm, to inspect the roof and review plans to bring equipment onto the roof and to remove accumulated snow. An important consideration is how they would remove it, ideally in an even fashion so as to prevent uneven weight distribution, and where they would place the relocated snow around the perimeter of the structure.

Those discussions should also include, for instance, the contractor’s use of fall-protection procedures and equipment, and measures to reduce the risk of people near the building being struck by blown snow or falling ice.

Signs of Danger Property managers and tenants should also be aware of signs that a roof is overburdened with snow, such as creaking noises, windows and doors that won’t open, or the appearance of sagging in roof trusses or beams.

If any of these signs appear, evacuate the building quickly and safely, and contact your snow-removal and insurance professionals.

Erik Olsen is an assistant vice-president and senior risk loss control property specialist with the Chubb Group of Insurance Companies.

With Record Low Temps – Here’s Some Timely Advice

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Prevent freeze-related damage to your building

A brutal blast of cold weather is going to hit over the next few days. It’s not too late to take simple and critical action to prepare for freezing weather and prevent catastrophic damage to your organization or home.

25% of businesses involved in a major property disaster do not reopen.*

Now is the time to take preventative steps to protect your house or organization from freezing conditions by utilizing PHLY’s POINT system. Visit PHLY.com/POINT or click below to watch a video on preventing pipe freeze and subsequent water damage. You’ll also find other winter weather checklists and tips that you can download to help you survive this record New England winter.

Prevent freeze-related damage to your building
*Source: Insurance Institute for Business and Home Safety

How to Handle a Hit-and-Run Accident

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   by Frankie Rodriguez

 

Imagine you come out of your favorite restaurant or out of the mall after a day of shopping only to find your bumper hanging off your vehicle. You look around to see if there’s another vehicle with damage  because, after all, misery loves company. As luck would have it, this life experience is yours alone to endure.

Your first thought might be to look for someone who may have witnessed the impact, but there is no one around. Then you remember that one of your New Year’s resolutions was to have more faith in society and you think, “surely someone left a note taking full responsibility for the damages!” You check your windshield. No note. Now what?

Hit-and-run accidents are a common occurrence. Generally, at least one hit-and-run accident is reported on a daily basis, so you are not alone. The first thing you should do is some minor scene investigating. If you have a smart phone, get pictures of the damages to your vehicle at the scene. Look around the parking lot for surveillance cameras. Businesses often have them for safety reasons and generally have a video back up. If a surveillance camera recorded your accident, the video could assist the local authorities in identifying the at-fault party. Check with the business and see if you can get a copy of the video, but I advise obtaining the video within 24 hours as many cameras with video back up are set on a loop and will record over themselves within a day.

Next, contact the local police department or private security firm responsible for patrolling the area. This is an important step if you hope to file this incident as an uninsured motorist loss. Most automobile policies require you to report a hit-and-run to local authorities for this coverage to apply.

Finally, contact your local insurance agent and report your loss. They will contact your insurance company and your adjuster can guide you through the next phase of the process.

A hit-and-run is anything but fun, but with quick action on your part, you may be able to avoid paying the price!

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