Environmental Sustainability Risks and Opportunities for Florida’s Commercial Buildings

Environmental sustainability is one of the hottest topics in today’s political and economic climate. For many of us, there seems to be a zero-sum game between economic and environmental health, with many Americans fearful of the future. However, it is important for businesses to look at the opportunities that this worldwide problem brings us, as well as the changes we need to make in order to lead sustainable businesses in an ever-changing world.

Nowhere is this more true than in Florida. Our state is home to one of the most unique landscapes in the United States, and one of the most unique in the world. We are home to the one-of-a-kind Everglades National Park, hundreds of miles of beautiful beaches, incredible seafood provided from our oceans and Gulf, and a unique sub-tropical climate that brings in millions of tourists every year. Most Floridians value what our natural landscape has to offer, and have a vested interest in protecting it for both humans and wildlife to thrive.

Florida businesses are posed with unique risks and opportunities relating to environmental sustainability, which we will explore briefly and offer guidance for businesses looking to make a positive impact on their communities and greater environment:

Greatest Risks: Sea Level Rise and Pollution

The saltwater is one of Florida’s greatest assets, but also one of our greatest environmental threats to date. Because of intense ocean pollution and increased carbon capture, sea levels are expected to rise at an alarming rate over the next few decades. This puts waterfront businesses at risk of losing property value and threatens future generations of losing valuable real estate altogether. This coupled with ocean pollution can put seafood industries and the waterfront restaurants they serve at incredible risk if nothing is done to clean up our oceans.

While this risk is great to Florida property owners and the fishing industry as a whole, there is plenty that the FWC and other organizations are doing to protect the ocean and Gulf of Mexico from further overfishing and pollution. Businesses also have options to mitigate sea level rise in their communities to protect their property values as sea levels creep up on waterfront property.

Greatest Opportunities: Solar Power and Natural Resource Conservation

Florida is known as the “sunshine state” and is, therefore, one of the best places for businesses to invest in solar energy. Though solar power isn’t as popular in Florida as it has been in California, more and more businesses are investing in this alternative energy for the economic value alone. Solar energy puts the control in property owners’ hands, allowing them to generate their own energy and reduce costs dramatically over time.

However, solar energy isn’t Florida’s only valuable natural resource. Conservation efforts statewide are helping to protect our wetlands and foster safer fishing practices for local bays to ensure our seafood is a protected commodity that can support local communities for decades to come.

Florida businesses have so many opportunities to grow despite a changing environment, and at MaintenX we want to support them in doing so. Talk to your local MaintenX team about ways you can invest in energy-efficient and solar technology today.

 

 

 

What is Underpinning In Commercial Construction?

The foundation is the single most important part of any architectural structure. The foundation provides stability to everything else and is the single-most difficult and expensive component to repair or any building. In many cases, if the foundation is damaged, the building will be torn down or abandoned. However, for high-value commercial real estate, there is an option to fix the foundation without completely renovating the building.

Underpinning is the process of repairing and reinforcing a foundation that is damaged or sinking. In areas like California where earthquakes occur frequently, underpinning is a common solution to reinforcing a foundation that is beginning to sink. It can also be used to expand the foundation to more evenly support a large structure.

While underpinning is a complex process, it can save your commercial building investment as well as the businesses that rely on the building for their livelihoods.

Types of Underpinning

There are four primary types of underpinning used to reinforce foundations, and each is used depending on the size and structure of the building, as well as the severity of the repair. The four types are as follows:

  • Pit
  • Mass pouring
  • Beam and base
  • Pile

Your construction team will determine which type of underpinning is required for your project. They will go through a lengthy inspection process to determine the severity of the damage. In some cases, underpinning may not even be necessary. However, if your construction team recommends it, you shouldn’t skip this step before moving on to other renovations.

When is Underpinning Necessary?

Underpinning is typically used of the soil structure underneath the house changes, such as during an earthquake or flood when the soil is disrupted or washed away. It can also happen during major plumbing repairs or if a nearby tree falls and uproots underneath the structure.

Underpinning isn’t necessary if the foundation is simply worn or has superficial cracks, but if the foundation is no longer steady on the ground, it is typically required for the building to be considered safe.

MaintenX works with construction subcontractors to offer underpinning as well as other foundational repairs and exterior maintenance services to businesses across the U.S. If your building has recently been through a major change and needs emergency repairs, contact us today to learn about your options.

How To Fix Patchy Grass

Patchy grass is more than just an eyesore at your commercial facility. It can make a poor first impression on customers, as they may think that you don’t take pride in your business’s appearance. Patchy grass can also detract from other beautiful landscaping you have, as it can make a beautiful front entrance with flowers look dull.

Patchy grass can happen for a number of reasons, which is why it’s important to diagnose the problem first before looking for solutions. However, if you know the cause of your dry landscaping, you can try one of these four options to fix it:

Check for plumbing leaks.

Grass that is “too green” may be a sign of plumbing issues under the surface. If your pipes are leaking, they may be providing water and nutrients into the soil that can lead to unusually vibrant patches of grass amidst other areas that are dead and dry. If you fix the leaks, you can fix the patchiness of the grass and begin working on soil health where it’s needed.

Add sidewalks and pathways.

Patchy grass may occur of too much foot traffic is causing the grass to become trampled in some areas. By adding a sidewalk, pathway, or simple stepping stones, you can direct foot traffic and prevent people from walking over your nicely manicured lawn.

Reduce the number of shade trees or add landscaping around them.

If you have too many shade trees on the lawn, you may notice that the grass is not as heavily concentrated in these areas. You can change this by either trimming or cutting down the trees, or by adding shade-tolerant landscaping around the trees to detract from the patchy grass. As growing trees is a lengthy process, we always recommend alternative landscaping to preserve the trees as much as possible on the property.

Spray for weeds and pests.

It’s no surprise that weeds and pest infestations can kill grass quickly. However, you need to be careful with the type of herbicides and insecticides you use, as they can kill the other landscaping you have. Use an organic spray, if possible, or look for alternatives like picking the weeds manually as this can minimize disruptions to other plant life.

MaintenX can help you maintain a beautiful exterior with our variety of exterior maintenance and repair services. To learn more about options in your city, contact your local MaintenX team today!

How To Keep Your Grass Green in The Summertime

In Florida, where MaintenX is headquartered, many of our clients struggle to keep grass green in the hottest summer months. This can also be true for those throughout the Southern United States, where high temperatures and sporadic rainfall can make grass either dry out or drown rather than thrive. It can be difficult even at home, let alone at your business where you don’t have the time to put in the yard work on your own.

While it’s best to hire a landscaping company to manage the grass for your facility, if you are a small business there are many ways you can improve the look of your grass without a professional. Below are just a few ways we help our clients keep a green lawn all year long:

Let it grow out.

One of the biggest mistakes property owners make is cutting the grass too short when they mow it. While it may look nice and clean-cut immediately after mowing, you’re likely tearing the grass out at its root in many areas. This will lead to patches of dead grass across the lawn in a few days. If you raise your mower blades by just a few inches you can help maintain healthier grass.

Install a sprinkler system.

In Florida, we experience sporadic downpours followed by days of intense heat and humidity in the summertime. If you want to avoid the drowning/dry-out cycle for your grass, install a sprinkler system to ensure your grass is watered every day. We recommend opting for a manual one to ensure you’re not overwatering on rainy days.

Water in the morning.

If you water our grass in the morning, the water is less likely to evaporate in the heat and can sink down into the soil where it needs to be. The earlier you can water, the better. In areas of intense summer heat, we recommend as early as sunrise to ensure the water soaks in and can provide for your grass all day.

Aerate the grass.

As people walk over your grass and the elements solidify the soil, it becomes more difficult for oxygen to penetrate the ground and reach the roots. Aeration is the process of loosening up the soil so that oxygen can reach the roots and provide a healthier environment for your plants. Aeration every few weeks or months can help maintain a healthy environment and doesn’t take any special equipment other than a garden rake.

MaintenX can help you with landscaping and exterior maintenance services throughout the summer. If you’re interested in what we have to offer in your area, contact your local MaintenX team today!

Three Times You Don’t Need To Call Your Maintenance Service

At MaintenX, we always want our customers to call us first for repairs and preventative maintenance on their buildings. However, we also want to save our customers as much money as possible so they can keep coming back to us year after year. We strive to provide fast and affordable service, but there are some regular maintenance tasks we believe management can handle on their own if they want to save a few bucks.

If you’re looking to cut costs in your maintenance plan, these three services are easy and safe for you to DIY:

Cleaning the gutters or outdoor HVAC units.

These may be dirty jobs, but they don’t necessarily require a professional HVAC technician or roofer to complete. Gutters can be cleaned by janitorial staff as long as they have the equipment to safely go on top of the roof. Outdoor HVAC units can typically be cleaned of leaves and dirt along with landscaping service but should be serviced for mechanical maintenance annually by your HVAC team.

Unclogging drains (the first time).

Before you call your plumber for help, there are several options you can try for a clogged drain in the restroom or commercial kitchen. We don’t recommend you ever use drain cleaning solutions as they can be corrosive, but you can make a makeshift snake with a wire hanger or other piece of long wire as a hook. For hair or food particles stuck in the drain, you can sometimes fish out the clog or break it apart this way if it is close to the surface. You can also use a plunger if the clog is relatively recent and hasn’t been building up for some time. However, if you have tried these DIY measures and are still having a slow-draining sink or toilet, call a licensed plumber for help.

Paint interior rooms.

Unless you have unusually high ceilings, painting rooms within your facility should be a simple DIY project you as the owner or manager can do yourself. Painting only requires a few tools and a day or two of work per wall. But will save you hundreds of dollars and major headaches depending on the service available in your area. While you can hire a professional if you want to save time, this is an easy cost-saving project you can take on at your facility.

While there are plenty of other tasks you can complete on your own as a small business owner or manager, there are some areas where you should never take chances. Your HVAC, plumbing, electrical, and roofing repair are some areas where it’s always best to call a professional, even if you think you can get the repair done cheaper by someone else. When it comes to the systems that keep your business open, don’t take chances and instead call MaintenX for fast, reliable service!

Trending Colors and Decor for Office Buildings 2022

2022 has arguably been the best year of the decade for most Americans thus far. As we turn out of the pandemic and into a brighter future, many small business owners are rethinking how they utilize their office space. With a thriving economy and a changing perspective of what “business as usual” means for the workforce, there is no reason why you can’t embrace the modern era in office interior design.

Below are the top three trends that are changing the way office spaces are utilized and designed in 2022. If you’re looking to make a change, any of these ideas can help you make your office a more enjoyable and productive place for employees:

Spring colors

Pantone’s color of the year was a vibrant lavender shade dubbed “very Peri,” with complementing colors resembling the bright and joyous colors of spring flowers and greenery. Cool aloe greens and warm pastel pinks were suggested to counteract the boldness of Very Peri which suggests that people desire vibrancy and color rather than subtle shades of beige found in many office buildings today.

Wood furnishing and natural decor

For years, the definition of “modern” was sleek, cold, unnatural materials and shapes in interior design. However, after a decade of us growing apart as a society through the influx of social media and the last two years of social isolation, people are craving warmth, connection, and natural elements in their office spaces. Wood furnishings are seeing a resurgence in style, as are office spaces with greenery incorporated. Sustainable building architecture is utilizing plant life to bring back a connection to the outside world amidst the ever-growing concrete jungles of urban life.

Resimmercial office design

The term “resimmercial” in interior design simply means the merging of residential and commercial design principles. This hybrid of home living and office design was popularized after the pandemic sent millions of Americans home to work for months. Even though most of us have returned, employees are craving the comforts of home even more.

Incorporating these trends can help your office space transition into the 2020s with ease. If you are interested in more than an interior redesign, however, contact MaintenX to learn about commercial remodeling services available in your area.

Hiring a Handyman vs. a Contractor For Minor Repairs

Small businesses are always looking for ways to cut costs on operations. A more efficient piece of equipment, a simpler closing process, or a cheaper repair can all help toward keeping a burgeoning business afloat. However, there are some places where cost-cutting simply isn’t the best solution.

Hiring a handyman may be tempting if your facility needs a minor repair and they’re cheaper than calling in a specialist. A friend or your home handyman may be able to cut you a deal, but will that deal cost you in the long run when the repair doesn’t last?

There are some times when cheap maintenance service is the right decision and other times when it can lead to ongoing problems at your facility. Here’s how to tell which situation you’re in:

Does the service technically require licensing?

Some services – such as roofing repair, electrical maintenance, and plumbing renovation – require licensing to be legally provided by a company. If your service typically requires some sort of license to perform, you need to hire a contractor. This is especially important for commercial facilities as not hiring the right person may lead to troubles with your own permits and licensing.

Does it require special equipment?

Contractors invest in high-quality equipment to provide service that a handyman may not have on their truck. Even if the handyman is able to complete the repair, they may put themselves at risk or not be able to complete the service properly without this needed equipment.

Does the handyman list this service on their website or brochure?

Typically, a handyman will have a list of provided services that you can select from. If the service you’re looking for is not explicitly listed, you should look for a contractor to make sure the job is done right.

Was previous work done by a licensed contractor?

If you’re having trouble with your HVAC system and a previous contractor has already done work on the unit before, you should call a licensed contractor to finish the work, especially if you think something was done wrong. A handyman may not be able to accurately diagnose problems or work on a piece of equipment that has had previous faulty service. Prevent the problem from getting worse by hiring the right help.

MaintenX helps small businesses find affordable and quality work for HVAC, plumbing, electrical, and roofing repair across the U.S. If you need work done by a specialist, contact us to connect with the best subcontractor network in the U.S.

Modern Building Design Trends in 2022

The primary objective of any company is to stand out from the competition. Whether you’re a Silicon Valley tech firm or a mom-and-pop shop from down the road, you want to take every competitive advantage you can to make yourself seen. You can do so with innovative products or a stellar marketing campaign, but one area you cannot neglect is your storefront design.

An inviting storefront is especially important for retail and restaurant spaces, but it can be utilized as a marketing advantage for any business. A modern building design will make your business memorable and may attract attention solely for the look of the building before customers know what’s inside.

Bring your branding outside.

Most businesses will have signage outside their storefront and near the road, but you can do even more to transform your architecture into a branding moment. By associating your business with the unique architectural elements such as the pillars, front entrance, or building colors, you can set yourself apart as a local attraction that locals will recognize and remember.

Try unique textures.

Most commercial buildings have a simple concrete exterior, but you can make your building more modern by adding panels with a woodgrain or stucco texture. This adds visual interest and can make your building look more modern and unique from every other building on the block.

Use railing to your advantage.

Railing is a common addition to commercial buildings to separate outdoor areas or front entrances from the street. These symmetrical lines can add to the visual appeal, especially if matched to other vertical or horizontal lines utilized in the building design. They can also help a building look taller or more spacious if the outdoor area is closed off.

Pops of color.

Many business owners are afraid of bright colors, but this can actually help your business by making it stand out. Murals or a solid bright color like green or red can help your building become a local landmark. This will subconsciously drive in traffic to your storefront with the simple change of the exterior. Murals can also serve the same purpose and will add beautiful public art to your local community at no cost to residents.

MaintenX can help you make your building stand out with exterior renovations of any kind. If you’re interested in modernizing your commercial facility, contact your local MaintenX team for more information.

Non-Medical Spaces in Medical Facilities That Need Extra Care

Medical facilities have the strictest codes and standards of hygiene among all other industries in the U.S. They must be nearly perfect to prevent the spread of disease and infection from patient to patient, and must do so on a daily basis. In order for a medical facility to meet this standard, they must employ a top-quality cleaning and maintenance program for the entire facility.

While cleaning standards for patient and procedure rooms are very specific and are likely handled by medical staff, non-medical spaces may not receive the same attention to detail. However, every inch of your medical facility is exposed to potential dangers, so it’s important to clean and maintain every area of your space, including these frequently missed places:

The front desk

Every patient who comes to your facility will touch the front desk to fill out forms, talk to the staff, and receive instructions for further care. This means that it is a prime space for germs to gather and be spread from patient to patient. Ideally, you could wipe down the front desk after every patient, but this isn’t typically practical. What you can do is make sure to wipe down the desk with disinfectant at every break or at least two times per day to be as proactive as possible.

Waiting rooms

Waiting rooms are a prime location for patients to spread germs among each other, especially if one does not know the cause of their illness. Since COVID-19, many medical facilities now take social distancing measures to prevent the spread of disease, but this is not always practical. Make sure to thoroughly clean seats, tables, coffee stations, and any other surface that a patient may touch at the end of each day.

Elevators

Elevators are used by every patient and staff member in your hospital. The shared buttons and close quarters make them an ideal place for the spread of disease. Make sure to wipe down elevator doors and buttons on a daily basis.

Cafeteria

Doctors and family members who are exposed to sick patients, as well as sick patients themselves, will all visit the cafeteria at some point. This means that tables, chairs, trays, cups, silverware, and every other surface touched by patients are fair game for the spread of germs. While many of these surfaces will be disinfected by the kitchen staff, it’s important to take time to clean things like seats, walls near tables, and other surfaces that are exposed on a daily basis.

Common bathrooms

Patient bathrooms are often cleaned thoroughly along with the rest of the patient room, but common restrooms in the lobby or cafeteria don’t always receive the same level of care and attention to detail. However, they are equally liable for the spread of germs. Be sure to disinfect regularly to keep your staff and patients safe.

MaintenX specializes in repair and maintenance for medical facilities across the U.S. If you are looking to improve your maintenance plan for the upcoming year, talk to us about preventative care and cleaning options with MaintenX.

Understanding Commercial Restroom Maintenance

Contrary to what you may believe, your restroom is likely the most visited place within your entire facility. While your floor plan or office rooms may seem like the most important spaces because they are where work gets done, the restroom is a safe place for people to retreat, relieve themselves, and find solace after a long day of work.

Restrooms aren’t solely a place for relief and handwashing. They’re a place for people to find a quiet moment during a busy day. They offer privacy to change clothes or take a phone call, and mirrors for one to reapply makeup or wash their face after a long workday. Restrooms also make a very clear impression to customers about how you handle your facility. If the restroom is dirty, they will likely assume you don’t take pride in your business or your work.

To understand your restroom maintenance plan, you need to think about all of these elements of restroom use. Ask yourself these questions to determine if your restroom maintenance plan is up to par:

  • Is there bright lighting for people to feel safe and be able to check themselves in the mirror?
  • Are the stalls spacious enough for comfortable use?
  • Are the floors clean enough for someone who needs to take off their shoes to change?
  • Are the mirrors clean when someone checks themselves in one?
  • Are the faucets leaking and causing a mess?
  • Are the paint colors and decor calming and inviting, or are they cold and harsh?
  • Are there enough stalls to prevent a line (except during especially busy times)?

If your restroom does not meet all of these standards, you may think about remodeling to ensure it provides a comforting experience for both guests and employees.

MaintenX offers restroom remodeling, maintenance, and repair services to businesses across the U.S. If you’re interested in learning more about ways you can improve your restroom experience, contact us or visit our Resource Center.