Maintenance: The key to protecting against business losses!

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What’s the best way to avoid unpleasant surprises and business insurance claims? Maintain your commercial building. Here are 10 tips on how to keep your building well maintained and reduce the risk of losses for your business.

Commercial building maintenance: 10 tips to protect against losses  

A mishap at your commercial building can be bad news for your operations and may even impact the long-term viability of your business. But regular general building maintenance can go a long way in helping reduce the risk of an unfortunate event occurring.

Fire prevention 

A fire at your premises can have serious consequences, including damage that forces you to close temporarily until repairs are complete. That’s why it’s smart to follow these fire prevention tips for commerical buildings.

1. Store materials safely 

Keeping your building neat and tidy at all times is a simple and effective fire prevention technique. Pay special attention to flammable materials and substances and make sure they are stored safely away from any heat source.

2. Maintain and inspect fire extinguishers and fire alarm systems 

The Building chapter of the Safety Code requires periodic inspections and maintenance of your building’s fire detection and alarm systems. According to Québec’s Régie du bâtimement, you must check your fire alarm system daily to ensure that it’s working properly and no problems are reported on the alarm panel. Every month, various items, including fire extinguishers, must be tested. And once a year, extensive testing, inspections and tests must be performed by a specialized firm, which will provide you with a complete inspection report. You are responsible for ensuring that the recommendations made in the report are implemented.

3. Hire a professional

Fire alarm system installation, repairs and modifications must be performed by a contractor holding the appropriate licence(s). The same goes for maintenance or repair work on your building’s electrical system—always use a licenced electrical contractor.

Water damage prevention devices 

Did you know that water damage accounts for more than 40% of insurance claims, according to a study by the Canadian Institute of Actuaries? Here are some tips on maintaining your commercial building to prevent water damage:

4. Have your building inspected

Protect against water damage with these maintenance steps: 

  • Have your building professionally inspected and deal with any issues identified.
  • Check the roof drain. If you have a flat roof, make sure water doesn’t pool.
  • Ensure floor drains are still functional.
  • Ensure that plumbing and plumbed equipment and appliances are in good working order and properly maintained.

If you are a tenant, check with the building owner to see what maintenance has been done to prevent damage. And be sure to maintain the insurance coverage you agreed to purchase under the terms of your commercial lease.

5. Improve your building’s water and weatherproofing

Based on the inspection reports obtained from your building professional, have the necessary renovations done to reduce the risk of water infiltration, whether it’s replacing windows, installing a backwater valve to prevent sewage from backing up into your drainage system, having the roof repaired, etc. It’s also a good idea to equip your building with a water leak detection system (in French).

6. Remind your employees about safety rules

Between meetings and busy schedules, someone may forget to turn off a washroom tap, or be a little too quick when conducting an equipment inspection. Make sure your employees take the time to do things right and feel free to organize prevention and awareness sessions if you think it’s necessary.

Security measures 

It’s also important to protect your commercial building against human hazards such as vandalism and theft. Proper building maintenance won’t just help keep the bad guys away, it will also reduce the risk of injury on your premises.

7. Keep spaces clean and uncluttered 

Protect the health and safety of your employees, customers, and collaborators by keeping your premises neat and tidy at all times. Remember to have ventilation, air conditioning and emergency lighting systems maintained by qualified professionals. In doing so, you reduce the risk of third-party bodily harm—and the potential business liability issues that can go with it.

8. Install security systems

Installing and maintaining security systems such as surveillance cameras, motion detectors, and building access control systems prevents vandalism and theft from your premises. If you store equipment outside your main building—in a storage unit or warehouse for example—or you own heavy equipment, be sure to keep it under lock and key.

9. Maintain and secure your computer system 

Business owners are increasingly vulnerable to cyber-attacks, which can result in major losses for their business. To minimize cyber risk, it’s crucial to have IT professionals perform general maintenance on your computer system and strengthen data protection measures.

10. Check emergency exits and review evacuation plans 

Ensure that emergency exits and access points are well maintained, unlocked, well lit, safe, and free of obstacles or stored items at all times. Finally, frequent review of emergency evacuation plans is critical to ensuring the safety of everyone in your commercial building.

Business insurance is key to your risk management 

There is an element of risk and unpredictability in running a business. Even if you take every precaution to protect your commercial building, you can’t prevent everything. Fortunately, business insurance is there to help you manage risk and protect your operations.

From liability insurance to property coverage, Promutuel Insurance offers a wide range of coverage options tailored to your industry and needs so that you can take care of business with peace of mind.

To find out more about when you need business insurance and what it covers, contact a property and casualty insurance representative at Promutuel Insurance today!