Fires, floods, and other disasters pose as much threat to commercial properties as they do to residential. This is especially true when the costs of damaged assets, disrupted operations, and lost business are added up.
“Depending on the business, being offline for an extended amount of time could result in hundreds of thousands of dollars in lost revenue, if not more,” says Beck Wells, Vice President of Commercial Operations with FirstOnSite Restoration. “There’s a real need in the commercial restoration industry for dedicated, timely, and efficient disaster recovery services.”
That can be easier said than done – especially in situations where disaster recovery crews are challenged to split their focus between large volumes of residential calls and commercial jobs with greater scope.
“Residential and commercial restoration jobs can be very different,” adds Wells. “The project management required for a large manufacturing plant that has had its roof blown off is quite different than a basement of a residence that has been flooded. While you may have a commercial project management team that can handle that warehouse job, when they are receiving 40 other residential jobs at the same time, they will not be able to give their full attention to the commercial project.”
A dedicated team for commercial
Certainly, commercial recovery projects often require the dedication of a singularly focused team. Recognizing this, FirstOnSite formed a “Complex Commercial Team” in 2018 that is focused solely on providing dedicated disaster recovery services within the commercial space. In so doing, the firm can allocate specific crews for both residential and commercial jobs while avoiding the challenges that can come with attempting to respond to both sectors at the same time.
To support its Complex Commercial Team, FirstOnSite has also invested in a Large Loss Team, which can be called in to tackle projects that require a committed team for the largest scale and longer projects.
“Our Complex Team handles the day to day commercial work while our Large Loss Team can step in to handle a larger, long-tail project,” says Wells. “They could be there for a couple of months or even a year when needed, but the focus is that they provide their expertise from start to finish on projects that take longer to complete without distractions. Meanwhile, the Complex Team is still actively handling day-to-day commercial work so that our customers receive the service they deserve.”
“There are two different areas of focus within our commercial division because there are two different needs,” he adds. “Jobs are responded to immediately, and can be seamlessly transitioned to the best-suited teams and experts.”
No simple tasks
There is no such thing as a ‘typical’ job in commercial restoration. Project priorities and considerations will differ between each property and can be informed by anything from the nature of the business (e.g., retail, industrial, office), the scale of the damage, or the clients themselves. Herein, there is a benefit to having commercially-focused experts at the ready and deeply familiar with the challenges that await them.
“Commercial jobs are complex. It’s not as simple as going in and cleaning up a basement; you need to know the customer’s business priorities,” explains Wells, adding, “We may walk in and think we know what needs immediate attention, but our client may, in fact, say, ‘Actually, we need that assembly line taken care of first,’ So it’s about paying special attention to our customer’s needs in order to protect their business and reputation.”
Spreading the word
To date, FirstOnSite’s Complex and Large Loss Teams have been called in to tackle a number of highly-specialized jobs across Canada. They have included bringing large-scale retail outlets back online to helping high-profile university campuses get back to class. On more than a few occasions, the two teams have worked in tandem to tackle immediate, large scale disaster relief efforts with long-term recovery components.
All in all, says Margo Malowney, VP Marketing and Communication at FirstOnSite, making a dedicated team of commercial restoration specialists available to commercial clients has benefited both FirstOnSite’s clients and its operations: “Having that national network of Complex and Large Loss Team experts who are on call and ready to go means we can react quickly for our commercial clients while not taking away any focus or resources from our equally vital residential partners. And as our customer base grows, we’re making sure those teams are growing to match the demand.”
FirstOnSite Restoration is a leading Canadian-based disaster restoration company providing remediation, restoration, and reconstruction services nationwide, as well as for the U.S. large loss and commercial market. For more information on FirstOnSite’s Commercial and Complex Loss services, visit their webpage.