Safety Hazards To Look For in Old Commercial Buildings

Safety Hazards To Look For in Old Commercial Buildings
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    Leasing space in an old building comes with several advantages professionals find appealing. For example, many old buildings have a unique charm and cost less rent. However, people interested in older structures should be aware of their risks. Learn about dangerous safety hazards to look for in old commercial buildings so you can make an informed decision.

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Defective Wiring

Faulty wiring is one of the most commonly occurring safety risks in old buildings. The electrical system likely contains the structure’s original wiring unless renovations have happened. Bad wiring can be a nuisance at best and a fatal hazard at worst.

Frequent power outages, flickering lights, and sparking sockets all indicate an issue with the building’s wiring. Ask about the age of your potential office space’s electrical system or have a professional inspect the location.

Pests

Old buildings often have structural damage that allows outdoor elements to affect the interior. Broken windows, damaged vents, and holes in walls become easy access points for vermin to build nests in the property. This is especially true if nobody has maintained the facility for a long time.

Pests pose many health risks to professionals working inside commercial buildings. Rodents and birds often carry zoonotic diseases that make humans sick. In addition, ants and termites can damage the property’s structural integrity. Keep an eye out for nests, droppings, and other signs that indicate the presence of pests.

Water Damage

Another safety hazard you should look for in old commercial buildings is water damage. Poorly maintained structures are vulnerable to the elements. For instance, moisture can seep in through cracks in walls, missing roof tiles, and broken HVAC units.

The main problem with dampness in a building is the potential for mold growth. Toxic mold can cause serious health problems. Excess moisture may also cause structural damage that looks unsightly and poses a significant risk for injury.

Carbon Monoxide

While newer buildings come equipped with upgraded appliances, older structures usually still have a few outdated mechanisms. Heating apparatuses such as boilers, for instance, increase the chance of carbon monoxide exposure due to carbon-based fuel use.

Carbon monoxide poisoning can cause various symptoms, including nausea, cognitive impairment, and difficulty breathing. In extreme cases, prolonged exposure can be fatal. Avoid this serious hazard by installing a carbon monoxide alarm and updating the facility’s appliances.

Lead Paint and Asbestos

Before the 1970s, many architects used asbestos and lead paint to provide insulation and coat walls. Now, we know exposure to asbestos and lead affects health long term, but some old buildings may still have them.

Health experts have proven that asbestos can lead to certain cancers and other detrimental diseases. We also know lead paint increases the chance of lead poisoning, which can cause issues with various bodily functions. It’s crucial to have your potential commercial property inspected for these materials to keep everyone inside safe.

You shouldn’t completely write off old buildings as potential commercial spaces. However, you must be aware of the risks involved so you can come up with proactive solutions. Now that you know what to look for, you can have confidence in whatever building you choose to lease.

Image Credit: by Adobe Stock royalty-free image #141226758 By: Mike Maree

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Categories: Building Management

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