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Consequences of Water Damage in Warehouses
By the RestorationSOS Educational Staff
Warehouses are by their very nature gargantuan structures, designed to hold large amounts of product and inventory. Unfortunately, in many cases they are not properly kept up or inspected, which mean that leaks can spring or roofs can fail or any number of problems may arise that allow water to gain access to the warehouse. In some cases, such as where a facility does not have a full-time staff, leaks may go undetected for long periods, days, weeks, or even months, and by the time they are discovered there may be significant water damage done to the structure as well as any stored product.
Water can damage warehouses in a number of ways; the most significant of course is the damage to the structure itself. Roofs may be seriously compromised as the result of torrential rainfall, as well as the weight piled on by snow or ice. In some cases, partial or total collapse of the roof may occur. Of course, this leaves the interior of the warehouse wide open to the elements, and all it takes is one solid rainstorm to cause additional damage to the interior.
In the case of roof collapse or even a minor leak, water may gain access to the building’s electrical wiring and HVAC systems, wreaking havoc with their function, and sometimes causing partial or total breakdown. In any of these scenarios, the systems will be offline until they can be repaired and approved for use by a qualified technician proficient in that given area.
If structural damage is the worst part of warehouse water damage, then the effect on stored materials runs a very close second. Materials stored in warehouses are often the lifeblood of the parent company that owns the facility, and any damage or destruction of those materials is going to have an economic impact. How large that impact is depends on the size and scope of the damage involved.
If the warehouse is the company’s only location for stored goods, that will have a far greater effect on their capability to do business than if the company is fortunate enough to have multiple locations.
In addition, the warehouse administrative wing may be damaged as a result of the water, in which case there may be loss of important files such as inventory records, truck schedules, orders pending, orders processed, as well as customer databases and employee records. If the company did not make provisions to store these items or back them up offsite, considerable man hours may be lost trying to get everything properly organized again.
Mold may also become a problem, since it is the most common byproduct of water damage. Unchecked mold may actually become severe enough to warrant the condemnation and demolition of the warehouse.
The single most damaging extension of this sort of damage is the disruption of normal work routine, hours, and the availability of staff. Warehouse employees may see schedules curtailed or canceled altogether, depending on how long it may take to rectify the damage.