Keep Vandals and Vermin out of Vacant Facilities

B_0913_Vandals1CAP’s Marc Insul contributes to this feature article in Buildings Magazine. Click to read full article.

Chances are you’re familiar with old, abandoned buildings – hopefully not because one is in your portfolio, but perhaps there’s one in your neighborhood. The roof is caving. It’s infested with rodents. Debris litters the lot. You probably wonder how the property came to be in its present state and why the owner isn’t keeping it in better shape. It’s at this point that onlookers may call the city and make a formal complaint.

When a property of yours becomes unoccupied, keep your eye on it or risk it becoming an eyesore or worse. Maintenance and preservation techniques prevent vandalism, physical deterioration, and citation from local authorities.

However, the troubling truth is that owners aren’t familiar with best practices for maintaining vacant properties. From whom to notify and which inspections to perform, owners feel as hopeless and abandoned as the building itself.

“Maintaining a vacant property can be an unpleasant full-time job,” says Marc Insul, president of Commercial Asset Preservation (CAP), a firm that maintains and oversees vacant properties. “But doing so is a necessary task any owner or lender of commercial property needs to consider if they want to preserve equity while preparing the property for its next use.”

Chicago seeks tougher rules on vacant buildings

Reprinted from Chicago Tribune Business

Proposed amendment requires properties to be secured immediately, cuts number of inspections before tickets or violations are issued

In the first 10 days of September, city of Chicago operators logct-ct-biz-vacant-housing-a-jpg-20130826ged 359 calls about problems at vacant buildings, ranging from reports of open or missing front or back doors to pried-off plywood panels to trespassers.

The city is trying to lessen that number by requiring the entities responsible for vacant buildings to more quickly register them, and if they don’t, speed up when the city can issue a fine and force them to secure a building.

When Trash Bags and Gardening Tools Can Help Fight Crime

NEXT CityReprinted from NEXT City

Next City is hosting a live blog of the 2013 Reclaiming Vacant Properties conference, now ongoing in Philadelphia.

With some 40,000 vacant lots, Philadelphia is no stranger to issues linked to urban land vacancy. But the city is also familiar with strategies that can not only improve individual lots, but also reduce crime and improve quality of life.

Today, 8,500 public and privately owned vacant parcels are cleaned, greened and maintained through the Philadelphia Land Care Program, a collaborative effort spearheaded by the city and the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society (PHS). Since the program began in 1999, it has demonstrated that the cleaning-and-greening approach has an impact beyond stabilizing the neighborhood. It has also been shown to reduce gun violence, vandalism, stress and inactivity.

To see the full article, click here.



Winterizing your vacant property

winter buildingNot all properties can hold up well during the winter. It’s possible a property may get vandalized, pipes may freeze up and water or ice damage may occur if not properly maintained. Review the CAP winterization service checklist to better prepare your property before winter begins.

 To Do

  • Consider if the geographic location of the property is subject to freezing temperatures
  • Protect the property from outside intrusion. Consider changing locks, boarding, fencing, security lighting.
  • Base the level of service upon whether or not the property has been winterized previously
  •  Turn off or install an interior shut-off valve in the property to protect against the risk of the main water line to the building being turned on.
  • Consider whether or not to maintain heat in the building
  • After the winterization is complete, conduct follow up inspections to check on the property (very important)

 To Avoid

  •  Winterizing a property that has not been secured
  •  Shutting down a boiler unless absolutely necessary
  •  Winterizing a fire suppression (sprinkler) system
  •  Shutting off the water supply to a fire suppression system
  •  Winterizing a property with shared water and occupied units
  •  Leaving damaged plumbing unrepaired
  •  A delay in winterizing the property

Read more of Marc Insul’s, president and COO of Commercial Asset Preservation, LLC., winterization advice here:

Commercial Asset Preservation, LLC. wants to make sure you’re making the right decisions for your vacant property. We offer efficient means of protecting your investment in a cost-effective manner. We’ll take necessary cost saving actions to preserve and protect the asset. Visit our website for more information.

Protecting vacant property

Being responsible for a vacant property includes insurance risks and liabilities. Every vacant property owner should know the potential risks that come along with it.

 Potential Risks

Vacant buildings are targets for theft, trespassing and vandalism. It is important to keep in mind that owners can be held liable for any criminal activities that may have damaged the property.

Criminal activities can happen night or day and they can be at a rather costly to the property owner. For example, the cost of copper rises as the increase in copper theft continues to occur. Other criminal activities may also include graffiti and/or broken windows, which require a cost to clean and fix the area.

Whether the damage is big or small, vacant properties are vulnerable when it comes to damages such as fire, water damage, electrical explosions, wind or hail damage and mold. A study by the National Fire Protection Association shows that approximately 31,000 fires occur every year in vacant buildings, costing $642 million annually in direct property damage. No matter what, do not let one issue go unnoticed.

Potential environmental hazards are another thing that owners should be aware of. If your facility contains chemicals or other pollutants that may act as a potential threat to the environment, make sure they’re securely stored or removed from the area. The owner may also be held liable for any hazardous materials that contaminate groundwater or other nearby natural resources.

Commercial Asset Preservation, LLC. wants to make sure you’re making the right decisions for your vacant property. We offer efficient means of protecting your investment in a cost-effective manner. We’ll take necessary cost saving actions to preserve and protect the asset. Visit our website for more information

Commercial Building Maintenance Blog Post

Commercial Building Maintenance & Property Preservation Services

Vacant and Abandoned Commercial Real Estate
Maintenance and Inspection Solutions

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For complete commercial building maintenance &
property preservation solutions, call Toll Free (800) 445-0640.

Interested in working with CAP? Call our vendor coordinator at (801) 461-8224 if you have any questions.