Build Magazine July 2015

Build Magazine 53 We helped them to evaluate the risks associated with the move, as well as to advise upon simple modifications and adjustments to their facility to protect against what could happen in the future. For example, we advised them to position their data server equipment at a higher level, as well as build a wall to hold back water if it came out of the river. As expected, the area did flood a few years later, but our client suffered only minor leakage issues and was able to pre- vent any major equipment damages. With a few practical steps they took to retrofit their new facility, they were able to avoid up to 2 months of down time and interruption, and keep their business in operation regardless of the flood risk. What is the building made of? If you recognise what is the building ma- terial of your commercial property, or alternatively, what is going in it, then you can develop criteria for protecting and mitigating various risks. For example, fire is the leading cause of loss in commercial property facilities. Taking some simple steps can make a huge dif- ference to business continuity. For instance consider the following: - Ensure suitable construction: when a building contains highly hazardous processes or is several stories high, fire-resistant mate- rial, such as reinforced concrete or a protected steel frame should be used. Appropriately approved and tested materials should also be chosen for insulating wall panels and HVAC systems. The possibility of property loss can also be reduced by subdividing large areas of a building with firewalls. - Install fixed protection where needed: appropriate automatic sprinklers should be installed wherever there is combustible construction, material or process- es related to the type of occupan- implement relevant good house- keeping programmes, which involve all employees and include frequent cleaning, prompt waste disposal and proper material-handling practices – especially in large storage areas. Every building, whether an office or a manufacturing facility, should have an emergency response team (ERT) to address emergencies that are specific to the building – whether that would be fire, explosion, hazard- ous material spillage or a nuclear accident, or natural hazards such as hurricane, freeze, earthquake and flood. Businesses should think about appointing a person in charge of the ERT to develop and maintain a written plan; be familiar with all facilities and any inherent special hazards; know the care and operation of all protection systems; and ensure appropriate employee training. No company can afford the loss of property and productivity, regardless of the risk – be it destruction caused by fire, natural hazards, equipment outage or other threats, such as terrorism acts or other organisa- tional risks. Equipment damaged in minutes can take months to repair or replace. If there is business interrup- tion, revenue, share price and share- holder confidence all take a major hit. Market position may be lost. Inflation and material shortage may make rebuilding difficult and costly. Therefore, the best property risk management programmes begin with loss prevention. Taking loss prevention into account during the early stages of specification, design and construction in both new projects and regenerated buildings, is what makes a business resilient. And it is our responsibility as insurers to help protect the value created by our clients’ businesses by assessing and engineering risk to prevent and mitigate loss across their property portfolio. cy. Additionally, sprinkler systems should be properly inspected and maintained, initiate and transmit to an alarm-monitoring system; and have an adequate water sup- ply. Some companies may think that retrofitting their facility with sprinkler systems will require a big capital investment, but this is not always the case. For exam- ple, it is the job of our engineers to identify where cost savings can be made to loss mitigation strategies. An agricultural facility in Spain was planning to install a sprinkler system in a 20,000 metres² extension to its facility. Following our recommendation to move to a more modern system, the organisation reported costs savings of 300,000 Euros (33%), largely because the new system only required one branch line of sprinklers, as opposed to two. - Ensure special hazards pro- tection: well-protected facilities isolate ignitable liquid operations by distance or construction, often in a detached location, or at least in a carefully located and designated cut-off area within a main building. - Implement ongoing fire prevention programmes: regular, recorded inspections of fire protection equipment should be ensured, including physically testing locked or sealed sprinkler valves. Inspec- tions could include housekeeping, ignitable liquid handling and control of smoking. During inspec- tions, the condition of extinguish- ers, fire hoses, hydrants, sprinkler alarms, fire pumps, water supply tanks and fire doors should be checked regularly. What will be the purpose of the building? Loss prevention plans would be different depending on whether the building will be used for office or manufacturing purposes. In both cases, however, it’s important to Real Estate