A leaky roof is problematic at the best of times, but in your commercial premises it can be a really serious issue. Water on the floor can be a hazard to health and safety, water dripping or pouring from the ceiling can cause untold damage to your stock and your equipment, and your ceiling system (suspended tiles, for example) can become discoloured, damaged, and mouldy.
So, what can you do to minimise these issues? Read on for our top tips on dealing with commercial roof leaks.
It can be hard to immediately identify a roof leak, particularly if you have a suspended ceiling installed. It might be that the first time you notice anything amiss is when the roof tiles start to become discoloured or stained. You might only begin to notice when there is musty or mould aroma in the air. In particularly bad cases, you will notice when there are puddles on the floor or your equipment and stock becomes wet. The way you notice the problem is not overly important (although the earlier you spot the leak, the better all around), but it is how you respond that is the priority.
Health and safety is, as always, the most important consideration. You will need to cordon off the affected area, and disconnect/move/make safe any electrical equipment. Next, you need to put in a temporary fix – otherwise the problems are just going to continue or get worse, and it could be several days or even weeks before a full roof repair can take place.
Buckets underneath the leak are the classic option, but the fact is that these do not allow you to continue operating your business effectively. First of all, they will inevitably be in the way, and provide a new trip hazard. Secondly, depending on the extent of the leak, the volume of rain or snow, and the size of your bucket, you could be emptying it all day long – and what are you expected to do overnight?
An effective solution is the leak diverter kit – you attach a tarp to the walls or ceiling so that it stretches out beneath the leak, attach a hose to the integrated drain, and run it to a ground drain or large container. This way there is no new obstacle on the floor to provide a trip hazard (you can tuck the large container well out of the way, depending on your hose length), and your premises look just as they would on any other day for the most part. You also do not have to worry about constantly checking the container, the bucket overflowing, or what to do overnight – it is unlikely you will fill a large drum in even a couple of days of constant downpour.
Leak diverter kits typically come with everything you need – the tarp, the hose, hanging straps and large containers/reservoirs, all of which is reusable so it is an extremely cost-effective solution, particularly when you consider the costs of interrupted or stopped production.
Be sure to select an option that suits your requirements – the tarps, and containers come in different sizes and colours (white tarp for a more subtle effect) and the hose length will determine how far away you can place your collection tank – if the leak is in the middle of a larger space, you will need a longer hose so you can place your container safely out of the way/out of sight.
If you haven’t already, call a roofer. In all likelihood, they will be a few days before they get to you, and depending on the nature of your site (I.e., if they need scaffolding to access the roof) the job could be lengthy. Your leak diversion should be fine for the duration, but be sure to check for other points of ingress and respond to them in the same manner.
If you do have a suspended ceiling or other after-construction ceiling product, it might be worthwhile checking your warranty. There may be exclusions for issues with the building structure, but you may find that damaged tiles can and will be replaced under the terms. You will also want to contact your insurance company, to ensure that your costs are covered for both the building repairs and any lost stock and equipment.