Nothing shakes the structural integrity of a building like a severe storm. The extent of the damage on the building will be subject to factors such as the proximity of the building to the centre of the storm, the age of the building, the materials used in construction, the quality of the construction as well as the quality of the engineering in the building.
Sometimes, even structurally-sound buildings will be affected by powerful storms such as the hurricanes and tropical storms. The effect is more magnified in the coastlines where a tidal surge can have a strong wind component that will shake the very foundations of your property.
Storm occurrences can cause minor or significant structural damage to your buildings. That is why after a storm, it is advisable to carry out a comprehensive building inspection to spot the areas in the structure that may have been compromised by the storm. These must be identified and rectified immediately as they may end up spreading out to the entire structure over the long term.
Here are some of the main inspections that you should carry out on a commercial or residential building after a major storm.
The HVAC System Inspection
An HVAC system typically has some outdoor mechanical parts that will be exposed during storms. After the storm, inspect to ensure that there is no debris stuck in the HVAC system. The HVAC lines that are running through the building should be visually inspected for signs of damage. You should also test the system after a major storm in order to ensure that its mechanical and airflow operations are in order.
The roof will bear the brunt of major storms and damage to any part of the roof can open a Pandora’s Box of leaks, the growth of mold and the rotting or degradation of the roof support structure. Some of the issues that you may deal with on your roofing include debris deposits, damage to roof tiles or shingles, missing shingles, water stains on the ceiling, split or torn steams, damage in the guttering and drainage systems, roofing granule deposits in the gutters, holes in the roof and other kinds of damages.
Electrical System Inspection
Inspect the electrical system and ascertain there is no sign of damage. During a major storm, electrical cabling may be broken and underground electrical wires may be yanked off the ground all of which can cause a serious electrical hazard. Ensure the connections are visually inspected and tested for any sign of damage.
Exterior Walls Inspection
Just like the roofing, the exterior wall surface is generally in the line of the storm and will bear the brunt of the damages. Visually inspect the exterior walls and look for any signs of damage such as the following:
- Discoloration on the wall or stripped paintwork
- Holes or breaks in the stucco
- Splitting or cracking on the walls. There can also be chipping on the exterior wall surface.
- Dents on the wall siding
- Cracks in the wood finishes on the exterior walls
You should inspect the exterior wall surfaces of your house at different times of the days to make sure that cracks or chips are not concealed by the lighting effect.
Soffits and Fascias
The soffits and fascias can also undergo extensive damage during a major storm. The material used in these surfaces typically consists of wood or a wood material that is wrapped in a metallic or PVC material. They are likely to have dents or cracks after a major storm. If the soffit or fascia is painted, the paintwork will likely be chipped in case of a storm and may need to be redone.
Windows generally survive mild storms. However, major storms such as hurricanes or massive flooding may cause extensive damage on your windows and window casings. They should, therefore, be thoroughly inspected after every storm for any sign of damage. Common types of damages that you are likely to see in your windows include the following:
- Broken panes or shattered windows
- Cracks or dents in the frames
- Fogging, especially between the panes in thermal windows
- Holes in windows
Gutters and Downspouts
Inspect gutters for any sign of damage. While the metallic gutters will dent under pressure from a major storm, the PVC gutters are likely to crack.
Walkways and Driveways
Severe storms may cause the cracking or chipping of driveways or walkways, whether they are made from concrete or any other materials. These damages are likely to cause serious hazards so they should be inspected and repaired as soon as possible after a storm.
Trees may fall on your premises during a major storm causing extensive damages to the power lines and on the structural integrity of the building. It is your responsibility to clear off any fallen trees after a storm. Your homeowner’s insurance coverage may also cover the cost of tree removals.
After the building inspection, you can embark on the process of fixing all the broken pieces as soon as possible. Your home insurance may cover most of the costs of repairs and maintenance.