Four Ways to Make Your High Rise More Resilient

Superstorm Sandy was more than a tragic weather event. It revealed moments of heroism and, today, is helping property managers pursue new ways of making their high rise buildings and communities more resilient.
Doing so can take a lot of hard work, not to mention money. Yet these are dollars well spent – the investment made in building resiliency today can save that amount many times over when your building is better able to weather the next big storm. And with the help of the best property management company, you’ll have access to experience, resources and partnerships that will make the whole process more efficient.
Here are some strategies you can pursue to make your building more resilient to storms.

Start at the bottom.

The heart of your building’s systems are probably in the basement. Unfortunately, that’s where flooding is the worst during a serious storm. Start by installing floodgates in the appropriate areas. You can also raise water meters, gas booster pumps and electrical switchgears off the floor to ensure they don’t become submerged during a flood. This is also a good place to install high velocity sump pumps. Outside, move your fresh air intake vents from sidewalk level to further up – as much as eight feet should do the trick.

Go structural.

Injecting concrete into your slab can prevent water seepage. It also helps to replace open grates outside near your building with hydraulic sidewalk hatches – these upgrades will keep water from rushing in during serious storm activity. Floor drains and injector pits will also prevent the accumulation of water.

Be prepared.

It isn’t a matter of if the next big storm will strike. It’s a matter of when. Make sure you’re prepared for the worst by installing back-up generators (away from where they can be damaged by flooding, of course). Along with this, install a quick connect system so that the generator can easily be plugged into your building’s electrical system. Beyond this, make sure your building has an easily accessible emergency kit that includes radios, flashlights, glow sticks and blow horns, as well as basic first aid supplies. Instituting a building-wide emergency communication system, such as FSRConnect™, offered by FirstService Residential, sends out instantaneous alerts to all residents in times of need.

Phase it out.

A full resiliency plan takes time to implement. You’ll need to set priorities based on your unique building and its current systems. It will help to collaborate with an experienced property management company – they can make sure you achieve your resiliency objectives in a way that is aligned with your budgetary considerations, too. And a careful, deliberate approach will ensure the smartest measures are taken first, that way you will be able to mitigate damage in the event a large storm occurs before your building is fully resilient.

No doubt these are aggressive measures, and they take time and money. But the examples presented in this article were successfully implemented in several high-rise communities in New York City following Superstorm Sandy. Through careful planning, judicious hard work, and a methodical multi-phase resiliency plan, residential buildings can be better positioned to withstand the effects of a serious storm. And while no resiliency plan can fully protect you against all possible damage, you can minimize the likelihood of a catastrophic impact.
With the advice of a great property management company, you can create a resiliency plan for your building – and bring it to fruition. Contact FirstService Residential to learn more about resiliency measures and how to implement them for your community. 
Friday September 05, 2014