June 2013  –  One in five businesses are affected by a major incident each year and could face closure within eighteen months – As featured in FMJ March 2013

Alan Lewin ServiceMaster

Alan Lewin, Business Development Director of ServiceMaster Clean, explains how businesses can restore their property and revenue.

Loss of power or IT systems, dealing with staff shortages, transport disruptions, graffiti or vomit on exterior walls are just some of the issues faced by organisations across the UK. More serious disruptions can also happen, with government figures suggesting one in five businesses are affected each year by major mishaps, such as fire, flood, civil unrest or terrorist attacks.

The impact of a major event can be devastating. Evidence suggests that 80 per cent of businesses affected by a serious incident close down within 18 months. Following explosions at the Buncefield oil storage depot in 2005, the immediate effect of the resulting fire was that 16,000 employees within the adjacent Maylands industrial area were unable to get to work and 92 businesses were displaced for more than a week. Seventeen were forced to permanently relocate. After 15 months, several businesses had failed and others were under severe pressure to survive, directly as a result of the fire. Overall, the explosion cost local businesses more than £70 million in lost stock, lost revenue and relocation expenses.

Flooding is becoming increasingly common, yet a survey conducted by Populus in 2006 revealed nearly half of the businesses spoken to had no plans to deal with the impact. The extensive  floods in 2007 affected over 7,000 businesses and the estimated total direct damage was around £3.1 billion.

ServiceMaster Restoration Response and Disaster Recovery

Facilities managers should ensure plans are in place in advance to protect sites from a possible emergency, whether on a large or small scale. This will help minimise financial losses or restrictions to trading. Too many businesses are putting themselves and their employees at risk by failing to prepare for the worst case scenarios.

Whether the incident is as significant as a fire or minor deliberate damage to property, serious health and safety implications apply, but we can help minimise disruption to your business. We provide a national, emergency disaster support service, Restoration Response to put property back to pre-damage condition. Sign up is free and in 2-4 hours we’ll be there to help, delivering one of the fastest on site response times to an unexpected emergency, with the single goal of getting you back to business fast. ServiceMaster Clean understand that the main priority for businesses is to continue their operations with minimal disruption. The key benefits of using a specialist service like Restoration  Response, are that there are no delays waiting for your insurers to appoint a supplier, whilst ensuring the restoration works are compatible with loss adjuster and insurer processes.

We’ve helped a wide variety of businesses and premises get back to normal business operations. Whether it’s working alongside leading universities to clean up after student revelry – letting off powder fire extinguishers is a favourite or cleaning up staircases after a night of excess – or helping a hairdressers after a toilet sewage disaster, ServiceMaster  Clean has the capabilities to handle a host of business calamities.

ServiceMaster Restoration Response and Disaster Recovery

Analysing the damage

Businesses affected by serious disasters should request that professionally qualified contractors are used for restoration and recovery. Experts will be able to restore carpet and upholstery, extract water, remove odour, dry and dehumidify buildings, remove spills, dry and recover documents, and offer any other related services that you may require.

So how do you know you can trust the company that you decide to use? Firstly you should look for a contractor which is a member of the British Damage Management Association (BDMA). This will indicate the provider adheres to professional standards of care and codes of practice, underpinned by technical and corporate training. ServiceMaster Clean is a founder member and currently has more BDMA accredited senior technicians than any other company in the UK industry.


Time is of the essence

Trying to sort out a building which has been damaged after a fire or flood is an unappealing task, causing cost and distress to the property owner or occupier. Acting quickly and using specialist disaster restoration expertise will help prevent further damage or deterioration and can save many valuable building contents. Even if damage looks severe, items can frequently be salvaged and restored.

It’s very important to begin the restoration process immediately as burning plastic, rubber or painted materials create poisonous fumes which, when mixed with water, can cause corrosion to metal surfaces within hours and also affect other surfaces if left untreated.

With water damage of any kind, fast action should be taken to dry your building

as quickly as possible,  as water will penetrate rapidly and the humidity needs to be controlled to prevent secondary damage. If a structure is not dried out correctly, its moisture can become a source for dry rot, bacteria and growth of toxic mould, which itself becomes a health hazard.

International Dance Supplies is the UK’s largest wholesale dancewear supplier, providing dance teachers and dance shops with quality dancewear worldwide. In 2012, its headquarters,  based in Devon, were seriously damaged by water escaping from a mains water pipe connected to a hot water dispenser. The water spread, saturating

carpets and floors in the first floor open plan office area and travelling through the ceiling to the ground floor, bringing the ceiling tiles down with it.

Fortunately, the company had the foresight to pre-register with ServiceMaster Clean’s Restoration Response™ service,  as it is based in a part of the country known for heavy rain and floods. The company used the emergency helpline to call in their local branch of ServiceMaster Clean which has a team of professionally qualified contractors trained in specialist restoration techniques to British Damage Management Association standards.

This type of damage can have a large financial impact, with the Association of British Insurers reporting that escape of water claims cost £730 million in 2010, with the average claim cost for damage being around £2,000.

Depending upon the nature of the damage, ServiceMaster  Clean uses a range of equipment tailored to the restoration process. blackened, which soaks up the light. Access equipment such as scissor lifts, cherry pickers or scaffolding may also be required as well as extraction equipment and dehumidifiers. In this case, specialist drying equipment

was used as an initial  containment measure, followed by the installation of a more advanced drying system involving tenting the affected areas for concentrated drying.

Prior to installing the advanced drying system at International Dance Supplies, all the affected carpets were uplifted for restoration, exposing the concrete beneath. A thick layer of adhesive was discovered on top of the concrete, which was removed so that it did not hinder the drying time, allowing the moisture to be released from the concrete.

For health and safety reasons, temporary traffic lanes were set up throughout the offices with warning signs so that the premises could remain open and business could continue as usual. Temporary entrance matting was laid until the restoration could be completed.

Allison Glanville, Business Administration Manager at International Dance Supplies, said: “After major water damage at our premises, ServiceMaster Clean was outstanding in the delivery of its Restoration Response service and in dealing with the situation. They were very mindful of our business needs, caring and very professional throughout the whole drying out process. I would not hesitate to call them again, should the need arise and I would certainly recommend them to others.”