Plan and Prevent Using SPS

One aspect of vacant property security that often slips under the radar is the environmental threats. While the physical security of your buildings – such as protection against vandalism or trespass – is an obvious concern, the environmental threats pose significant, yet often overlooked, challenges.

These threats can not only deteriorate the property itself but can also lead to broader environmental damage, often costing the owner money and time.

In fact, environmental damage can be so significant that SPS has a dedicated service to mitigate and fix it.

Let’s discuss what to look out for and how to plan and prevent.


Maintaining Structural Integrity in a Void Property

The structural integrity of a building can be compromised over time due to a lack of maintenance. Environmental factors such as wind, rain, and fluctuations in temperature contribute to the wear and tear of materials.

For example, repeated freeze-thaw cycles can cause cracks in the foundation, eventually leading to major structural failures if not addressed.

Plan and Prevent Measures – make your property secure with SPS perforated sheeting, doors or boards. If the property is run down and at risk of collapse or injury to the public, add barriers or fencing to prevent or restrict access.

Inspect, report and arrange for regular maintenance, allowing you to sell the property or begin refurbishment. You can also install a temporary alarm or an SPS Blue Star (PID) to detect and warn of risk of harm if continuous efforts are made to access the property.


Hazardous Waste

Oil drums, cylinders and acid can accumulate in vacant properties, posing a threat for anyone entering the building and, potentially, those in the vicinity. 

Hazardous waste is notoriously difficult to remove, and careful safety measures must be observed to ensure it’s handled and disposed of responsibly and legally.

Plan and Prevent Measures –  inspect, report and arrange for pick up and disposal. The buildup of waste attracts negative and potentially harmful or high risk issues: squatting, pests, more waste, and contamination.


Water Damage and Mould Growth

Vacant properties are particularly susceptible to water damage, primarily due to unchecked leaks or weather-related decay.

In the absence of regular maintenance, a small leak can lead to significant water accumulation, fostering an ideal environment for mould and fungi to thrive. Mould not only damages the building materials but also poses health risks, potentially making the property hazardous for future occupants.

Plan and Prevent Measures – regular inspections, good air circulation and cleaning will prevent most of the damage caused by water and mould.


Pest Infestations

Vacant buildings offer a perfect habitat for pests such as rats, mice, and insects.

These pests can cause extensive damage by chewing through electrical cables, insulation, and wooden structures, which

SPS clean-up picture
A picture taken from a recent SPS clean-up.

can lead to more severe issues, including electrical fires.

The longer a property remains vacant, the more entrenched these infestations can become, making them difficult and costly to eradicate.

Plan and Prevent Measures –  pick up waste, pest-proof as appropriate and inspect and report.  Use SPS experts to eradicate and prevent contamination or even the spread of disease if it’s left untreated.


The Problem for Property Owners

The problems that these environmental threats pose are multifaceted.

Financially, the cost of dealing with issues such as mold, pests, and structural repairs can be substantial. Insurers might increase premiums or refuse coverage if they deem the risk too high.

Legally, property owners might face penalties if the property is found to violate health and safety regulations or environmental standards.

Furthermore, a neglected property can lead to a decrease in property value, not only for the property itself but also in the surrounding area, affecting the local economy and deterring potential investors.


Plan and Prevent with SPS

The oversight of environmental threats in vacant commercial properties can be costly, illegal and dangerous. By working with SPS to address these risks head-on, property owners can safeguard their investments and contribute positively to the environmental health and economic vitality of their communities.

In doing so, not only do they protect their assets, but they also uphold their responsibilities as stewards of the property.

For more information on how SPS can help with environmental property damage, click here.

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