High-Rise Maintenance: 3 Ways to Flood-Proof Your Building

By: Diana Rodriguez-Zaba
Updated on: November 15, 2022

Its size and tenant population make your high-rise building a challenge to manage on a daily basis. Whether it houses residential, retail or office space, you constantly deal with routine maintenance, cleaning and repairs. Even when things run smoothly, your position as property owner or manager keeps you busy.

Coping with water damage in your building isn’t a part of the regular schedule, but so many things can happen and cause extensive property flooding. While you can’t prevent them all, you can assess the risks and practice proactive strategies that help minimize water damage and hold down high-rise restoration costs.

What Kind of Risks Do You Face?

Heavy storms can back up the city’s drainage system and flood your building’s basement. Damaged roofs let in heavy rains, and ruptured plumbing on upper floors can leak water down through lower levels. From broken sprinkler systems and sewer backups to clogged HVAC lines, the potential for water damage is always present.

Regardless of the source, high-rise flood damage is rarely contained to just one floor. Between gravity and porous structural materials, water seeps downward as it soaks surrounding infrastructure. Even small leaks can quickly spread water in a tall building and cause problems that linger long after repairs are taken care of.

How Does Water Damage Affect Your High-Rise?

After a water disaster in your building, you have to deal with drenched carpets, wet walls and collapsed ceilings. The damage seems obvious, but it causes other serious problems that aren’t as easily identified.

• Soaked infrastructure becomes unstable.
• Mold begins to grow and rapidly spreads.
• Damp environments compromise indoor air quality.
• Electrical equipment may become unsafe to operate.

If retail or residential tenants are affected, you have to factor in revenue lost due to temporarily closing off areas of the building for repairs. Depending on your insurance coverage, you may also face a steep deductible after a flooding incident. Without immediate cleanup and professional restoration, the complications and expenses of water damage to your high-rise quickly multiply.

Are There Ways to Minimize Water Damage Risks?

Regular on-site maintenance is a strong defense against plumbing, sprinkler and HVAC malfunctions, but you should also schedule professional check-ups at least once a year. Older buildings benefit from more frequent inspections, and all high-rise roofs should be checked annually for any signs of leakage.

In order to minimize floods caused by heavy storms or sewer main problems, FEMA recommends using platforms to elevate basement equipment or relocating it to a higher floor. The agency also outlines these three techniques for flood proofing high-rise basements:

1. Dry Flood proofing

This approach is meant to protect an area so that no more than 4 inches of water can accumulate during a 24-hour event. Measures include applying waterproof coatings to floors and walls, installing backflow prevention valves and fortifying windows and doors with flood shields.

2. Wet Flood proofing

Underground parking and spaces restricted to storage are typical areas that benefit from wet flood proofing. This type of protection depends on installing flood openings that allow water to enter and exit without reaching levels that can cause serious damage.

3. Integrated Flood proofing

By combining the first two protective modifications, integrated flood proofing is an excellent approach to minimizing flood water damage. It can include waterproof enclosures for elevated equipment, wet flood proofing through main underground corridors and heavy-duty sump pump systems.

Why Do You Need High Rise Restoration Services?

Any type of water disaster in your high-rise needs cleanup right away, but complete water removal requires specialized equipment. Thorough drying and dehumidifying are critical to preventing unhealthy mold growth that compromises your building’s structural integrity and interior air quality.

A professional restoration contractor handles water damage from floor to ceiling including furnishings, equipment and personal belongings. The services also address repairs to plumbing leaks or sewer line problems as well as assistance with your insurance carrier’s claims process.

Helping You Stay Prepared

high rise restoration trucks

As the owner or manager of a high-rise, you do all that you can to stay prepared for emergencies. As the city’s leading flood cleanup specialists, we want to give you as much information as possible to help you deal with the unexpected, which is why we previously also shared tips on fire safety in high rises. If you have ideas that you’d like to add to our post, let us know through our Comments Section, and share our recommendations with other property owners too.

If the worst happens and you need expert water damage repair, contact ServiceMaster Restoration by Zaba right away. We provide distaster cleanup specifically for high-rise buildings here in Chicago and the suburbs, and we’re always just a phone call away.