Handrail and Guard Definitions to Know

Jan 20, 2022

When installing, repairing, or replacing handrails and guards throughout a commercial building, contractors can use terms and vocabulary that may seem intimidating. Luckily, we are here to help! Knowing some of these handrail and guard definitions will come in handy when hiring a contractor to work on them.

Load Requirement

Load requirement refers to the amount of weight that the handrail can withstand. Uniform load applies to the load capacity of the railing per foot. The weight capacity of a railing in a single point of the handrail is defined as a concentrated load of the rail. Building owners and managers can manage load requirements depending on the materials used.

Toe Board

A toe board is a part of the guardrail placed on the walking surface that serves as a protective barrier to notify people of potential hazards, such as tools or other objects falling from elevated surfaces or someone falling from a floor opening.

Top or Midrails

Top rails are the part of a structure that should always be elevated and make up more handrail and guard definitions to know. Top rails provide support for people when walking, climbing stairs, or navigating any angled platform. Midrails refer to the railing between the top rail and the surface. They provide additional reinforcement for the railing and can also double as support for small children. 

Handrail and Handrail Systems

Handrail and guard definitions also include knowing what forms true handrail systems. A handrail is a rail fixed across staircases and other elevated surfaces to support people while climbing or walking. A handrail system is a barrier in the form of balusters or sheets of commercial glass, on which the top rail is affixed to provide additional support for users. 

Handrail Continuity

Handrail continuity refers to how far the railing goes up. In accordance with OSHA Guidelines, the handrail must continue along the entire length of the stairway or ramp. 

Handrail Size Limitations

Handrails must be within ¼” – 2” in diameter, as this is the size that provides equivalent graspability. Railings must be between 34 to 38 inches high measured across the sloping plain so that it runs smoothly along the stairway or ramp.

Equivalent Graspability

Equivalent graspability is usually applied to handrail gripping surfaces that have a non-circular cross-section. These handrails must have a diameter of a minimum of 4” and a maximum of 6”. The cross-section should have dimensions that are no more than 2 ¼”. 

Bracket Clearance

Bracket clearance refers to the required clearance between a handrail and other building elements. Clearance is different for horizontal and vertical brackets. Horizontal clearance must be 1 ½” “ between a wall and railing and have a maximum of 4 ½” projection. 

Vertical Clearance

Vertical clearance must be 1 ½” between the underside of the handrail and bracket arm. However, the International Code Council (ICC) and Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) have since reduced it to ⅛” for each ½” over 4” of the railing.

Railing Extensions

Railing extensions refer to the amount the railing extends from the ramp runs on either end of the handrail. Railing extensions must extend at least 12” from either end of a wall-mounted ramp rail as well as for staircases.

Handrail Returns

Handrail returns are the individual segments that connect the end of the railing to the wall and another part of the handrail and guard definitions building owners need to know. They help protect people from the sharp edge of the rail. The returns traditionally should be towards the wall. However, there has commonly been a gap between a return and the wall. But this is usually frowned upon by inspectors.

Know the Handrail and Guard Definitions to Ensure Your Building Adheres to All Required Codes

Handrail and guard definitions can be challenging to memorize. But hopefully, this served as a handy little guide for them. The right partner will have several resources to help you become more knowledgeable about all aspects of commercial building maintenance. Connect with The Valcourt to schedule a consultation now.

Top 5 Considerations in Commercial Handrail Repair or Replacement

Jan 18, 2022

Handrails are an integral part of any commercial real estate. They provide safety and security for the building’s employees and clients who interact with the building. Commercial handrails offer support for those who require it, and when installed on the rooftops of buildings, can also prevent fall hazards. However, factors such as constant usage by patrons, weather conditions, and more can cause wear and tear, leading to repairs or replacement. But apart from damage, there are a few other factors to consider when facing a commercial handrail repair or replacement. This blog will explore a few of the things to think about when fixing or replacing commercial handrails. 

1. Is the Railing for a Walkway, Stairwell, or Balcony?

Commercial handrails are different depending on where they are placed, per OSHA Standards. Various locations in buildings have different requirements. 

Before scheduling a commercial handrail repair or replacement, be sure to inspect your handrails and determine their logistics, such as measurements and materials, so that the expert can plan accordingly.

2. How Will the Railing Be Supported?

 Many railings are required to have a mid rail to provide extra sturdiness. These can also serve as support for small children. Along with this, regularly maintaining and cleaning the handrails will ensure their longevity and, as a byproduct, will improve the aesthetic of the building. If appropriate, there’s also the option to strengthen the handrails with concrete ensuring that the railing will be stationary.

3. What Are the Load Requirements for the Commercial Handrail?

Commercial handrails should withstand a load of at least 50 pounds throughout or a concentrated weight of 200 pounds if placed atop the railing itself. Inspectors cannot test these requirements, so the building managers must provide engineering data that confirms the same. 

4. Is the Rail Cost to Repair Going to Exceed a Likely Replacement Cost?

When deciding whether to do a commercial handrail repair or a replacement, it is important to inspect the condition of the railing. For example, if the handrail on a concrete stairwell is damaged to the point where the “repair” basically turns into a full-on replacement job, says Angi.com, it’s much cheaper to get a new one installed. So the managers need to make that executive decision based on what makes the most sense for the safety of others.

5. How Much Will Long-Term Maintenance Cost for a Railing of a Specified Type?

Depending on the material the handrail is made from and how durable it is, the cost of maintenance will vary. Rails can be made of anything ranging from strong metals like aluminum and zinc to plastics, vinyl, and even wood. The resilience of every substance will vary, which will factor heavily into the cost of installation and maintenance. 

Make Better Handrail Repair and Replacement Decisions by Choosing the Right Partner

Finding the right commercial handrail repair specialist can be challenging, especially if you don’t know where to start. JOBS Group connects you with licensed experts who specialize in specific aspects of facilities management, including handrail repairs and replacements. Request a consultation with The Valcourt to get started.

What Are Commercial Handrail Installation Services and Why an Expert Is Key

Jan 13, 2022

Commercial buildings are required to have handrails installed on the premises. Per OSHA guidelines, railings must address fall hazards, especially on rooftops. From a consumer’s point of view, this may seem like a trivial issue. However, commercial handrails are a vital part of any public establishment to ensure that the customers are safe within the confines of the building. Depending on the area of the structure, OSHA also dictates the materials used and dimensions of commercial handrail installation. On top of installing commercial handrails, it’s important to periodically get them inspected by a professional and subsequently get them repaired or replaced if necessary. For example, commercial handrail installation might not seem as important as laying the foundation of a building. However, ensuring the safety and security of the public who utilize the facilities in the building Is very important.

What Are Commercial Handrails and Where Are They Required?

Commercial handrails are railings that support people as they navigate through an establishment. Commercial buildings are required to install as per OSHA regulations. Handrails are required along staircases, along with mid-rails, which should be placed halfway between the handrail and the surface for reinforcement. Mid-rails can also provide support for small children who need  it. Commercial handrail installation is also required on rooftops and must be between 39 to 45 inches above the surface. Railings must be made of durable material with a smooth texture to avoid injuries. The diameter of the handrail should be at least one-quarter-inch thick. It is best to rely on experts to provide commercial handrail installation services. They will handle everything from installing the handrails to routine inspections and repairs or replacements, depending on the status of the railings.

Working With an Expert in Handrails Lowers Your Building’s Risk to Occupants

Having a handrails expert handle commercial handrail installation is an industry best practice. An expert practitioner will know how to install the railings according to regulations and ensure that there is ample longevity for all the handrails in the building so that it can withhold various amounts of pressure from the people utilizing it. It’s also important for the expert to make sure of the longevity of the railing so that the metals do not corrode or rust, consequently compromising the railing’s integrity. When using a licensed expert for commercial handrail installations, there is a higher guarantee of the building’s railings being sturdy, providing peace of mind to the building contractor.

Tips for Choosing a Handrail Installation Service Provider

Finding Experts in commercial handrail installations is a lot more accessible than one might think. However, the key is partnering with the right expert who will  adhere to the building requirements. Here are some tips that can help find the appropriate contractors for anything required to ensure the safety and security of their building. 

 

 

 

Those are just a few tips to get the best specialist for the job. 

Streamline Commercial Handrail Installation With Valcourt Building Services

Commercial handrail installation is imperative to the safety and security of any piece of commercial real estate. The best-laid plans for the building will be at risk without care and attention to your handrails. Ensure you choose the right service provider to maximize safety during and after installation. Valcourt building services can streamline the process of installing handrails seamlessly. Click here to get started.

How to Avoid Leaks When Making Window and Door Repairs

Jan 06, 2022

Commercial buildings are significant energy  consumers in the United  States, but much of that energy goes to waste. As reported by Energy.Gov, “On average, 30% of the energy used in commercial buildings is wasted.” It’s equally important to recognize that such waste doesn’t derive solely from lighting systems. The HVAC (heating, ventilation, air cooling, and ventilation) system is responsible for maintaining indoor temperature and humidity levels. Leaking windows may result in a greater delta in the indoor air temperature and introduce ample humidity to the building. Such factors increase the risk of mold and mildew growth, putting building occupants’ safety at risk. Meanwhile, making window repairs is not simply about choosing the cheapest glass panes, and building owners and managers need to know a few things about how to avoid leaks when making window repairs to maximize return on investment. 

Know the Status of Your Windows and Door Repairs

The first true step to making proper improvements and knowing how to avoid leaks when making window repairs begins with a thorough evaluation of the building’s status and needs. Building managers cannot really understand the full scale and size of window repair needs without regular, scheduled inspections. Such inspections should consider the risk of air or water penetration, the age of the window, and whether such conditions have damaged the adjoining structural components. 

Choose the Proper Glazing or Sealant

Choosing the correct glazing and sealants is another factor in completing proper commercial window repairs or replacements. Glazing is comparable to a sealant designed to hold the pane in place, but it may dry to different colors depending on its chemical structure. Consider the overall aesthetic when choosing a glaze for your building. Furthermore, selecting the proper sealant for the building envelope also depends mainly on the materials used in the exterior building architecture. Not just any random sealant is the best sealant for making window and door repairs

For instance, the differences between silicone and polyurethane may affect the quality of work performed. Polyurethane may be better suited for wood exteriors or where ultraviolet rays are a concern. Meanwhile, silicone is generally the preferred type of commercial sealant for glass, metal,and tile. 

Properly Install All Sills and Trimming

Much of the risk of window repairs done improperly comes from a failure to reinstall all sills and trim. Poorly attached sills or improper trimming may result from a hasty job or inexperience, leading to premature commercial windows and doors replacement. Regardless, the key is to know the needs of the building intrinsically and use that information to complete all window repairs properly. 

Consider Full Replacement When Repairs Are Extensive

There will always be times when repair versus replacement decisions come under the microscope. In general, repairs are cheaper , but they may not be the soundest option. When damage and repairs are severe and extensive, it may be better to replace the full window and cut your losses. Such measures may sound drastic, but they can help save money in the long run. 

Think About the Impact to the HVAC System, Scheduling Repairs in Tandem

Proper maintenance of ductwork and the HVAC system coincides with proactive window and door repairs. Buildings.com further explained, “While replacing your doors and windows can be an efficient solution for a better-weatherproofed building, it’s important not to overlook your ductwork. If air is leaking out of your ductwork, that means your HVAC system will need to work harder to create a comfortable environment and temperature for occupants.”

Follow Through to Ensure Your Contractor Inspects All Repairs, and Remember to Choose the Right Repair Contractor or Service

Any successful building window and door replacement strategy should include a robust inspection to ensure the repair is up to code and is going to be ideal for the building. However, such outcomes are mainly dependent on the experience of your building partners. Avoid the risks by working with the right partner from the beginning. Reach out to Valcourt Building Services to get started now.

7 Signs That It’s Time to Replace Commercial Windows and Doors

Dec 28, 2021

Glass is a major component of many commercial buildings and accounts for a large part of the care and attention given to commercial windows and doors in skyscrapers and facilities. According to Facility Executive, the type of glass used, the coatings and sealants used, and their position in the building can help improve energy usage and maximize energy efficiency. In northern climates, this can help keep heat and reflected light inside the building; in southern climates, it can help keep heat out of the building.

With so much riding on the use of glass in windows and doors, it is important to stay on top of facility management and ensure staff replaces commercial windows and doors when necessary. It is important to look for the following signs indicating it is time to replace commercial glass components.

1. Age of the Glass

Replacing commercial windows and doors is necessary when the glass itself gets to an age where it is more prone to breaking and damages. It is usually better to replace older panes before anything serious happens. Preemptive work can save time and money in the long run for building managers.

2. Clarity of Visibility

When management needs to replace commercial windows and doors, one deciding factor is visibility. As glass ages and is exposed to the elements, it can grow cloudy, stained, and otherwise difficult to see through as easily as before. This is a telltale sign that replacements are needed.

3. Changes in Utility Costs

Another sign that glass components need replacing is when utility bills increase. When nothing else changes and it costs more to heat or cool a space, the windows and doors are the first places to look for issues. Replacing glass and checking the seals is key to repair and inspections.

4. Visible Damages

Visible signs of wear, tear, and damage to the glass is a rather obvious sign that it is time to replace commercial windows and doors. Cracks, chips, scratches, peeling, and other indications of excessive damage should not be ignored and must be addressed as soon as possible.

5. Issues Opening/Closing

If there are reports or complaints that it is becoming difficult to open or close commercial windows and doors, it is time to consider glass services or replacements. Sticking, grinding, gaps in seals, and difficulty locking and unlocking can all be signs of underlying issues and structural concerns.

6. Condensation

While it is normal to get water accumulation on the outside of windows due to external weather and environmental factors, the same should not happen on the inside. Condensation is a significant concern and should not be ignored as it shows issues with commercial window and door integrity. 

7. Air Flow

Another sign that building management might need glass repair or replacement services is indications of excessive air flow around windows and doors. Air exchange can be a serious issue in commercial buildings, so it is vital to check for air leaks when checking for water leaks around windows and doors.

Improve Your Building’s Efficiency by Replacing Commercial Windows and Doors Properly and When Necessary

Facility managers and building maintenance teams must keep a close eye on commercial windows and doors to ensure they stay in good working order. So much depends on the safe installation and upkeep of glass in windows and doors in commercial buildings, skyscrapers or high rises, and other facilities in nearly every major city today. It is no wonder the need for professional glass cleaning and maintenance services is in such high demand. Facilities maintenance crews, building management and staff must stay on top of glass inspection and maintenance routines and be willing to replace commercial windows and doors when necessary. Connect with a Valcourt Building Services expert to get started and partner with professional glass care experts today.

The Guide to Commercial Glass Repair, Replacement and Maintenance

Dec 14, 2021

Of all the issues commercial building managers have to keep up with, high-rise window replacement and maintenance is perhaps one of the most vital yet overlooked. The biggest reason many building managers decide not to invest in high-performing glass products or choose to put off vital repair and maintenance work simply comes down to cost. Oftentimes, the best quality products are budgeted out of a project simply for the sake of saving money on the initial cost of installation and building maintenance. However, the price tag for quality glass installation should be compared to the long-term costs of building construction and maintenance. In almost all cases, investing in the highest possible quality right from the start will more than pay for itself in less maintenance and repair expenses and overall energy savings. Commercial glass replacement can be pricey but dealing with massive cleanups and replacement costs can cost a great deal more.

Commercial glass maintenance is about more than just keeping windows and doors looking nice. Choosing the right quality glass and glass treatments can greatly reduce energy expenses and lighting costs and help building management to better control waste and maintain sustainability all year round.  According to Glass Magazine, “HVAC systems account for about 40 percent of total energy use in commercial buildings, according to the Department of Energy. Meanwhile, lighting systems capture about 16 percent of electricity costs.” This can greatly expand the expenses associated with keeping large high-rise buildings and offices light and temperature controlled. However, building owners can offset these costs by opting for high-performance glass and glazing products, utilizing smart window placement,  applying commercial glass tinting, and being energy-minded with the rest of their glass-related maintenance and upkeep.

What Is Commercial Glass Repair?

If a window in a home gets damaged and needs to be repaired or replaced, the homeowner simply calls a contractor or window installation expert to take care of things. The job itself is fairly easy and the worst that may be needed is a ladder to reach second-story windows or any decorative windows in an attic or crawlspace area. The process is fairly straightforward. However, this is far from the case when dealing with commercial glass repairs in large buildings, high-rises, and skyscrapers.  

For these sorts of glass repair and maintenance services, only highly trained and specially licensed workers are allowed to handle the glass and ascend to such great heights to deal with these sorts of glass repair and commercial window maintenance needs. In a nutshell, commercial glass repair focuses on addressing issues with cracks, chips, seals, and leaks that occur on glass panes typically found on commercial buildings and commercial high-rises.  These services often focus on larger buildings such as apartments and condos, office buildings, commercial centers, skyscrapers, and other large buildings with many glass windows and panels. It takes a highly specialized high-rise glass repair team to safely handle this sort of work.

Working with a fully trained and reputable contractor or glass company is essential when it comes to commercial glass care and maintenance. From specialized cleaning services to waterproofing membranes, to tints and glazing, many specialized services exist that can present a unique challenge when it comes to the care and upkeep of these glass panels. At these kinds of heights, with so many glass windows and panels, and so much care and attention needed, cutting corners and trying to cut costs by skimping on quality services is never a good idea. It is critical to work with skilled and experienced experts any time any work needs to be done on these sorts of glass panels, glass doors for commercial buildings, and other glass structures. 

What Causes Damage to Commercial Glass?

As is the case with any pane of glass, similar factors can lead to the commercial glass being damaged to the point it needs to be repaired or replaced. The difference is in the details and the specific ways these factors damage and impact the glass. Some of the things that can damage commercial glass include:

Sometimes certain situations arise that really could not be fully prepared for or avoided. Maintenance workers could accidentally bump the glass while working and cause it to crack or shatter. Someone inside the building could fall into the glass and damage glass windows. Or a freak mishap with a bird crashing into the glass could cause damage to the glass.

When to Repair Glass Versus Replace Commercial Glass

If your glass windows or a glass door for commercial buildings has suffered minor damages, the question that has to be answered is how are you going to deal with it. Obviously, the damage needs to be dealt with, but is it better to repair damaged windows or just outright replace them? This can be difficult to determine at times but generally, the following considerations can help building owners decide what the right course of action is:

When to Repair
It generally is ok to simply repair commercial glass if the minor damages impact small or non-essential parts of the window structure. Leaking caulking and seals, a stubborn window that is hard to open, air and water infiltration, small scratches in tint and glaze coatings, and similar issues can all generally be repaired with relative ease. This does not mean you can put off commercial glass maintenance and repair indefinitely. Caulk and sealant issues can allow for water intrusion and can affect the stability of the window. Scratches and issues with window coatings can make the panes more susceptible to further damage. And it is a major health and safety risk to have anyone in a high-rise office with windows that are meant to be opened that cannot be opened easily. In case of minor damages and issues such as these, the cost of repairing the windows may turn out to be lower than replacing them outright.

When to Replace
On the flip side of the repair or replace debate is a situation where the window or glass in a commercial high-rise has been so damaged or compromised to such an extent that it is too dangerous to leave it in place. Major damage can include large cracks and chips in the glass, deep scratches in the coatings or window surface, windows and glass panes that appear loose, and of course, major breakage or signs of imminent failure of the glass. Keeping up with necessary high-rise window replacement work is vital to preserving the structural integrity of the glass. Any sort of major glass damage or window failure needs to be immediately reported, people need to avoid the area, and professionals need to be called in to remove the damaged glass and replace it as soon as possible. The risks of severe injury far outweigh the costs involved with overall building façade maintenance.

Considerations in Making Commercial Glass Work

When your building requires commercial window maintenance and glass repairs it is important to carefully consider several important aspects of this high-rise and high-risk task. It is no easy feat to get to windows 100 stories in the air and it is an even greater challenge to work on glass windows or replace huge glass panes at those altitudes.

Right from the start, there is an obvious concern over the safety of the workers doing the repairs. They are working at high altitudes, off the ground, moving around cranes and lifts and other pieces of equipment, and working with huge panes of glass. Getting everything up to the right level is a challenge in and of itself. Then they have to repair or replace the window and move new glass panes into place and follow detailed and precise protocols. All the while, they are dealing with high winds, low temperatures, and other hazards. Working with a skilled and professional high-rise glass repair team is vital, not just to ensure a successful repair job, but also to ensure the safety of everyone in the general vicinity.

On the flip side of things is the fact that ignoring the damage to a window or glass door for a commercial building can end up costing a business a great deal financially. A recent report highlighted by Buildings.com estimates that 39% of commercial heating energy use and 28% of commercial cooling energy use are impacted by windows in the building. The same study showed that more than 34% of all commercial space energy consumption waste is attributable to windows. Fortunately, improvements in window design have made it easier to maximize the protection and performance of window and glazing systems. New types of glass and improved window designs can also help guard against issues with heat transfer through the windows. This is why keeping up with commercial glass window washing, routine inspections, and testing, and regular maintenance and upkeep is important for building owners. 

Types of Commercial Glass

With new advances and improved technology, glass can be made in more ways than ever before, a critical consideration for high-rise glass installation. Regular glass like what is used in homes and normal office buildings is not the same as what is found on skyscrapers and commercial buildings. Some of the common commercial glass specifications available include:

Common types of glass used in various kinds of commercial buildings include:

Window glass in skyscrapers and high-rises is designed with commercial window maintenance in mind and is usually made of shatter and break-proof glass that is designed to be less damaging if the glass falls from great heights due to window failure. Likewise, considering other features such as insulation properties, reflectiveness, color, and commercial glass tinting, and more should also carefully be accounted for. Commercial waterproofing and sealants are also worth taking note of. Matching the performance characteristics of the building and its location, as well as where in the building itself the glass is located, are also important considerations to keep in mind for commercial glass repairs and maintenance.

Tips to Improve Commercial Glass Maintenance

Keeping up with necessary commercial glass maintenance and the repair of glass structures in high-rise buildings are never-ending. According to a veteran window cleaner interviewed in the New York Times, “a standard 50-floor skyscraper would take 30 to 40 days to clean in its entirety. The Empire State Building, by contrast, with its 102 floors, takes six men about four months to clean — and once they’re done, the window cleaners have to start all over again.” With this level of frequency, glass cleaning, repair, and maintenance need to be as routine as any other interior cleaning and inspection schedule. The following tips can help building managers stay on top of commercial glass maintenance and ensure overall window cleaning safety:

Regularly wash and inspect glass for signs of damage. 

Regular commercial glass window washing is good for general window care and maintenance. The more often the glass gets cleaned the more opportunities there are to do inspections and catch minor issues and concerns before they become major problems.

Schedule a qualified inspection at least biannually or seasonally, depending on climate.

Surface level inspections by window washers and maintenance crews are good but a professional inspection needs to be done regularly as well. Water and air intrusion tests, safety checks, and code enforcement inspections are vital maintenance services as well.

Address any cracks as soon as possible.

Small cracks and chips can quickly become a big issue. Weakened glass is more prone to further breakage and can pose a major safety concern for those in and around the building. Small cracks can be repaired but major cracks require commercial glass replacement.

Ensure scratches are closely monitored.
While they are not as serious and urgent as a crack or chip, scratches on the window surface also need to be noted and monitored. In places of high winds or extremely low temperatures, scratches can open up the glass to further damage and eventual breakage.

Know the types of glass used in your buildings.

Every type of glass has slightly different parameters for what it can and cannot tolerate and support. Knowing what glass is used in the various areas of a high-rise building makes it easier to do maintenance checks and to ensure repairs and upgrades are done correctly.

Know when to repair versus replace panes. 

A quick repair job may get a damaged window stable when dealing with minor issues like commercial glass tinting damage or minor scratches. Other times an immediate replacement is needed to protect the integrity of the building and those in the area.

Test glass for signs of air and water penetration.

Along with visual inspections for signs of wear and tear or damage, professional inspections need to include air and water intrusion tests. These can help easily pinpoint issues with commercial windows and glass door for commercial buildings.

Ensure your team and service provider is using the right type of sealants. 

While maintenance and cleaning of windows are critical for high-rises, it is equally important to ensure the correct materials and products are used. Improper weather-proofing materials and harmful cleaning products can weaken and damage the glass rather than protect it.

Maintain scaffolding and platform equipment for commercial window maintenance.

With extreme high-rises and larger buildings, the need to be in the air on the face of the building is near-constant. Maintaining scaffolding and equipment means inspections and maintenance work can be done more quickly and issues can be addressed more effectively.

Realize the need to maintain the full exterior to keep the glass in the best shape.

Commercial window maintenance also involved elements of the building’s exterior beyond the glass itself. Maintaining the actual physical structure the windows are set in and all related support structures can also help ensure windows and glass panes remain intact.

The Benefits of Proper Glass Maintenance

Proper glass maintenance and commercial glass replacement can bring with it a wide range of benefits, the most obvious being a safe working environment. We have also already touched on how commercial glass maintenance and repair can help conserve energy and create a more structurally sound environment. However, there are other benefits worth considering for hi-rise exterior maintenance and upkeep.

Protects the Glass
Dirt, dust, smog, and debris will naturally accumulate on windows over time. Cleaning glass windows help ensure sufficient light passes through them so the interior space can benefit from natural lighting. This can help maintain higher comfort levels for those inside and will also ensure the living and working conditions of the inhabitants of the building don’t suffer.

Health Benefits
Sunlight is important for physical as well as mental health. Vitamin D comes from the sun, which promotes optimal physical, mental, and emotional wellbeing. Studies have shown that working in dark, isolated spaces negatively impact worker motivation and performance. By keeping commercial building’s windows clean and letting in natural light, this is avoided.

Prolong Building Longevity
A tall building experiences more impact from wind and debris than lower buildings. The size of the building itself can also stress windows over time due to the pressure and weight the glass experiences. This exposure will weaken glass panes over time and cause cracking and breaking if not maintained. That’s why abandoned buildings lose their windows. 

Reflect Light Not Absorb
The more grime that builds on the surface of a commercial building, the worse it becomes for everyone. Not only does the building become an ugly eyesore in the neighborhood, but it can also affect the surrounding buildings that rely on light reflecting off that building to keep them out of its shadow. Glass will reflect light, dirt, and grime will absorb light.

Considering these and many other benefits of commercial glass repair and upkeep, it becomes all the more apparent why building management teams must stay on top of high-rise window replacement, and high-rise window cleaning and general upkeep.

Lower Building Total Cost of Ownership With a Complete Building Exterior Maintenance Program From the Right Partner.

The features of commercial glass, as well as what basic type of glass used, can vary greatly depending on several factors unique to each building. A skilled and experienced high-rise glass repair team will be able to match your unique commercial window needs to the best maintenance and repair services available.

 Areas that are prone to high winds or high rain need glass with greater resistance to impact damage as well as specialized coatings to help keep things water and airtight. As you get higher above ground, it becomes more critical to use specialized commercial glass to ensure safe and effective building operations. Choosing the right quality glass and glass treatments can greatly reduce energy expenses and lighting costs and help building management better manage expenses with better commercial glass replacement and repair options.

Questions and concerns about what kind of glass to use, what additional treatments or products should be utilized, how often inspections and repair work should be performed, and whether upgrades should be done regularly or only when windows are damaged or need replacing are just some of the issues building manager teams need to consider. It can be confusing to make sense of it all and to make the right choices every single time commercial glass repairs or maintenance are needed. Working with a team of professionals, who have experience dealing with high-rise commercial buildings and commercial glass services can provide reliable guidance when it is needed the most. Request a consultation with Valcourt Group to et a commercial glass maintenance and upkeep plan, implemented by a certified high-rise glass repair team today.

What Is Involved in a Commercial Building Water Leak Investigation & Repair Service?

Sep 16, 2021

Of all the components of a commercial building that property managers must pay attention to, the waterproofing seal ranks as one of the most critical of all. The building envelope protects the inside of the building from damage caused by water intrusion. Knowing how to find a water leak in a commercial building and how to identify and correct issues sooner rather than later can significantly impact the building’s stability and the safety of employees and visitors alike.

Where Do Commercial Building Envelope Water Leaks Occur?

Routine inspections and professional testing and evaluations are critical steps in the building maintenance and management process. Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory estimates that “asthma-related medical costs attributable to mold and dampness exposure add up to roughly $3.5 billion each year, and this figure does not take into consideration other health effects building mold causes.”  As damage spreads, the problems will also increase in number and severity. So, building managers need to be aware of the critical places where moisture commonly occurs:

Water infiltration can cause premature deterioration of a building’s interior components, significantly depreciating the value and posing a severe risk to health and safety in extreme cases. Protecting against water intrusion with innovative services and building envelope restoration must be the primary focus of building management personnel at all times.

Trial by Water and Air: How to Find an Envelope Water Leak in a Commercial Building

Field inspectors follow a set of specific procedures established by industry standards and record the results of all onsite tests. They check for air, water, and moisture intrusion at various levels and locations in the building. Knowing where these potential problems areas pop up can help maintenance teams tailor inspections and follow-up efforts to focus on those vital spaces. These sorts of tests and assessments will demonstrate how to find a water leak in a commercial building and why building envelope water testing procedures keep buildings safe and structurally sound. 

Actual Steps of the Repair

One of the first questions building owners and managers consider upon finding potential problem areas is,  “does building insurance cover water leaks?” In most cases, the answer is yes, so long as specific criteria are met and every effort has been made to address and fix the issues. The five basic steps for repairing water leak issues to prevent further damage include:

Overcome Water Leaks in Apartments and Other Properties With the Right Building Service Partner.

The best way to deal with water leaks in apartment buildings, businesses, high-rise buildings, and other commercial structures is through routine inspection and regular maintenance of the waterproofing envelope and seals. When the envelope fails and water and moisture seep into the building, it can cause a host of problems and cause widespread damage that can cost a fortune to fix. Keep these problems from disrupting normal business operations with professional waterproofing and sealing services from Valcourt today.

Signs Your Building Envelope Has Moisture & Water Infiltration

Sep 09, 2021

Building management and facilities management involves many important aspects and services. One of the most critical of these falls under building envelope maintenance. As the first line of defense against water infiltration and related damages, the waterproofing envelope must stay high on the list of priorities for building owners and managers to frequently monitor.

Identifying and monitoring common problem areas can help building owners and managers stay on top of water damage. However, it is not always as easy as it sounds. As Buildings.com explains: Water infiltration is the biggest culprit in envelope failures, but its causes range widely. Frequently the result of multiple factors converging over time, leaks can take years to show up – and if you can see water on the inside, significant damage to your envelope is likely. By the time water shows up on the inside of your building, it has had to pass through a lot of materials to get there.” And this hidden damage can cause significant issues throughout the building system with two major types of expenses:

Avoiding direct and indirect costs lie at the heart of waterproofing efforts. For this reason, building envelope restoration and protection against water infiltration and damage continue as some of the top ways facility managers can protect their property. Warning signs not to ignore include the following:

1. Movement of Ceiling Panels, Windows or Other Building Materials

Anytime supports or other materials within the building shift out of place, swell, warp or otherwise change, it often signals a serious issue with the building envelope

2. Damage to Building Materials Where Water Drains

Even when the draining system appears to be functioning normally, leaks and seepage can occur in the areas where water comes into contact with building materials.

3. Humidity Trapped Within Windowpanes

Many commercial windows have two or more panes put together, so moisture in the walls can form condensation within the glass. This signals higher moisture levels.

4. Signs of Mold and Mildew Growth, Including Odors

Any discoloration of materials, noticeable surface mold and mildew, or odors that indicate musty or rotting materials should warrant immediate attention.

5. Paint and Coating Damage

A common but lesser-known sign of water intrusion and water damage is cracking and peeling paint and changing interior and exterior coatings.

6. Water Stains and Discoloration

The most common indicators of water damage in a commercial building are water stains and marks on ceilings, walls, floors, and any other visible surface.

7. Rotting Trim and Roof Components

Water intrusion at higher levels, such as the roofing system, can show warning signs of rotting trim, facades, and unusual wear and tear on the systems.

8. Efflorescence of Stonework

White residue on stonework may indicate the wicking and absorption of moisture into materials over long periods due to building envelope breakdown.

Know the Signs of Building Envelope Water Infiltration, and Have the Right Partner to Address Them

All commercial buildings need protection against water intrusion. This type of commercial water leak dilemma becomes more common all the time. Part of this comes from financial pressure to save money and delay specific maintenance and repairs. It is also partly due to the sheer age, level of neglect, and deterioration of many older buildings. Staying on top of building envelope maintenance will help reduce damages caused by water infiltration. Contact Valcourt to schedule your consultation today. 

What Is Concrete Strengthening & How Does It Work?

Aug 31, 2021

During the construction of a building, depending on its use, elevator cab designs may be a bigger worry than the possibility of concrete corrosion. But elevators are only as good as the foundation of the building, and that applies to every facet of your structure. Improvements will most likely be needed to repair and strengthen reinforced concrete structures over time.  Depending on the type of concrete and location, additional restorations might be needed eventually. In some cases, the only requirement might be concrete strengthening; in other instances, new tactics such as the strengthening of concrete columns with fibers may need to be evaluated for their added benefits and long-term value. Let’s take a closer look at concrete strengthening, how it promotes stronger structural integrity, what to know when choosing materials, and a few other points of interest.  

What Is Concrete Strengthening? 

When an existing structure deteriorates, or alterations need to be made due to the form failing to serve its purpose, concrete strengthening is the best way to repair issues for long-term benefits.  Generally, all concrete structures are reinforced with some type of material, but building owners will inevitably need high-rise maintenance of concrete structures that won’t break the budget. Reinforced concrete results when a steel reinforcement, usually a kind of steel bar, is used to increase the strength of the structure. To create reinforced concrete, building owners turn to carbon fiber strengthening of concrete and Fiber Reinforced Polymer Concentrate (FRP). Such solutions are available for use on reinforced concrete, steel, wood, and masonry load-bearing structures. However, in some cases, concrete strengthening additives are also needed to extend the life of the concrete, control setting and hardening, and fix the general structural behavior of the concrete. 

When Is It Most Beneficial to Use?

Over time, a building can take quite a beating, its purpose can change, loads may increase, the local standards may evolve, or even historical structures may need more support. In response to this, repair and strengthening of reinforced concrete structures resist these stresses that would cause regular concrete to crack and crumble. While other resources, such as building waterproofing services, can help maintain a building for the short term, concrete strengthening will become a necessity. According to Structure Magazine, reinforced concrete will allow for the arrangements supported to have more comprehensive strength than traditional concrete, extending the long life service of the design. Using concrete strengthening, the steel supports added to larger systems will have a lower risk of erosion due to less water gradually entering the masonry work. Rather than reconstruct an entire building, it is much simpler to provide the proper reinforcements during initial construction and with all repairs. 

How to Choose the Right Material

A key component in concrete maintenance is an evaluation of materials and knowing how building maintenance will reap the most beneficial results possible. For instance, evaluating how the structure needs to be strengthened will guide the selection of proper materials for the job. 

Fiber-reinforced polymer composite (FRP) materials can be useful as well. These are made of high-strength continuous fibers, such as glass, carbon, or steel wires, embedded in a polymer mix. The fibers provide the reinforcement, while the polymer matrix protects the fibers and transfers loads between the fibers. 

Let’s consider another scenario. There may be a need to strengthen concrete columns in other situations, which can be done by reinforced concrete jacketing, steel jacketing, or FRP confining or jacketing. Columns often need to be strengthened once the load carried by the column has increased; the inclination is more than allowable, or when the compressive strength of the concrete or the type and percentage does not meet evolving code requirements. It’s up to each company to thoroughly evaluate the best ways to strengthen their assets over time, which means choosing the right form of reinforcement can literally make or break your building. That’s why it is important to choose a partner that can help your team increase property value by handling everything related to high-rise maintenance.

Improve the Strength of Your Concrete by Choosing the Right Building Maintenance Partner

When looking for a maintenance partner, it can be overwhelming and frustrating to know who is the best fit. Both interior maintenance and exterior maintenance should be a top priority when taking care of a building in every aspect possible. Working with a trustworthy partner is always the goal. Depending on the job type, the best partner can easily achieve reinforcement through carbon fiber strengthening of concrete,  jacketed concrete strengthening, or even fiber-reinforced polymer composites. It is more beneficial to add structural modifications to a building rather than build a new building from the ground up, pardon the pun. It’s always a great strategy to keep a building up to date before restorations are needed. Request a consultation with Valcourt Building Services today to improve the strength and integrity of your new and existing concrete assets.

Signs It’s Time for Commercial Concrete Restoration & Repair

Aug 26, 2021

A building is a valuable asset, which is why many proprietors consider the need for commercial concrete restoration. Many signs emerge when it becomes time to implement planned building services. The naked eye can see some but not all damage. Visible cracks in a concrete structure or wall of a commercial building could pose substantial hazards to the occupants inside the structure and in the surrounding area. Looking for signs of damage is easy and will reduce the need for untimely, costly concrete restoration and repair

1. Obvious, Visible Cracks in Concrete

With high-rise commercial building maintenance, part of the job means keeping a watchful eye on the exterior. Damage to concrete may not appear to be a danger, but the integrity of the building might be at stake. Look for cracking and splits in the concrete. Addressing these issues proactively will help prevent the need for a more expensive intervention by concrete restoration companies

2. Signs of Aging Like Moisture Buildup or Pooling

Another indication of damage that needs to be addressed is signs of aging. Aging looks like water penetrating the structure and pooling or leaking. With concrete buildings, excellent waterproofing can mean the difference between structure longevity or needing a repair via concrete restoration and repair in the short term. In addition to the presence of water, other signs of aging include potholes, unevenness in the building, or simply just a lackluster appearance. 

3. Flooring Begins to Sink or Dip and Other Signs of Foundational Issues

For a lot of building owners, flooring appeal and consistent quality are essential features. If the foundation crumbles, the entire building will deteriorate. When the flooring begins to dip or sink, this might signify the foundation is compromised. This might not appear strictly in flooring; signs might also be present on walls as they dip when the floor shifts. When this happens, contacting concrete restoration companies will help to fix these issues. 

4. Uneven Appearances of Concrete

The uneven appearance of the concrete can indicate the need for repairs. According to Facility Executive, ongoing building maintenance will help minimize structural damage. Each team needs a team dedicated to performing routine checks and maintenance. The more eyes on the building, the earlier a business can identify and repair the damage. 

5. Struggling With Sticky Windows or Doors

As well as signs of a damaged foundation and uneven appearances, doors or windows that stick also mean it could be time to consider contacting a contractor for commercial concrete restoration and repair

6. Visible Damage to The Walls of the Interior and Exterior

In addition to the structural damages and other issues with doors and windows, all visible damage can indicate it is time for concrete restoration or repair. Damages to the walls or floors on the interior can permeate to the outside. Seeking exterior maintenance solutions will also prevent the damages from spreading to the interior. Essentially, any damage to the waterproofing, insulation, windows, doors, walls, or roof that can be seen needs to be addressed as soon as possible. 

Get the Best Out of Commercial Concrete Restoration & Repair by Choosing the Right Partner 

For building owners, protecting their most valuable asset means restoring and repairing the exterior or interior concrete as needed. Request a consultation with Valcourt Building Services to improve the strength and integrity of your new and existing concrete assets today.