Damp can be an issue across many homes and buildings but, when it occurs in a commercial property, employers have a duty of care to resolve the issue.
Whilst having a commercial landlord insurance policy in place could help if issues arise, it’s also crucial to take steps to prevent and manage any signs of damp in your building.
We’ll explore the key factors to consider that could help reduce the impact of damp.
Identify the signs
Signs of damp are fairly easy to spot. They include wet or damp walls, ceilings or floors, peeling of paint, mould spots or patches and a damp/moist odour. If you, or your commercial tenant, discover any of these, it’s important to investigate further and take steps to address the issue.
Without being treated, damp can lead to a number of health issues for those working in the building including respiratory problems. Those with underlying health conditions such as asthma are especially vulnerable.
There is a legal requirement to ensure adequate ventilation in the workplace, whether this is through windows or doors, or via a powered fan. But it’s important to remember that the ventilation used should be suited to the workplace conditions. Without proper ventilation, there is a risk of damp in any commercial building.
Properties that sit underground or make use of a cellar or basement space, are more likely to suffer damp due to the increased amount of water that can penetrate the walls.
A solution to this is waterproofing. Basement tanking is one way of waterproofing a property and involves applying a coating to maintain a watertight seal. A water management system can also help remove any water by draining it away via a pump.
Conduct regular maintenance
It’s important to carry out frequent checks of your commercial property to look for signs of damp and to address any repairs that need to be carried out. Any gaps or failed seals that allow moisture in have the potential to cause a damp issue.
Be sure to look for leaks, especially in areas like bathroom or kitchen plumbing. Fix broken tiles and cracks in windows or doors as soon as possible and check the gutters for any blockages.
Ask your tenant to report any faults, repairs needed or signs of damp as soon as they’re spotted to prevent the situation from getting any worse.
Whilst you can’t always prevent water from getting into a commercial building, especially in instances where faults have occurred, it’s a good idea to address any issue as a matter of urgency to keep tenants and staff safe and to prevent further expense.