Buildings and Grounds Are the building and grounds regularly inspected? Regularly inspecting your facilities and grounds is one of the most important safeguards that your organization can take to keep the premises safe. The ultimate goal of inspecting the premises is to minimize the risk of property loss and personal injury due to unsafe conditions. The safety inspection process can make strides toward accomplishing this goal by identifying such conditions, making corrections or repairs, and controlling or eliminating hazardous conditions. Recommendation(s) Self-inspections are not being conducted to identify potential property hazards. A self-inspection process should be instituted that focuses on identifying and correcting unsafe conditions that could lead to personal injury or property damage. Weekly walk-through inspections before services can identify and correct immediate defects such as weather-related hazards (snow or ice on sidewalks, wet entryways without mats, etc.), walkway obstructions, and other fall or property hazards. Any hazards or defects identified should be corrected. Monthly inspections should be conducted by an organized body or team within the church (i.e., safety and security team, property committee, grounds committee, trustees, etc.) following an established checklist. The following areas should be inspected: Parking lot Sidewalks Building exterior/roof Entrances/exits Interior walkways Interior rooms Mechanical, electrical, and storage rooms Kitchen Nursery and child-care areas Annual inspections should be conducted by an organized body or team within the church (i.e., safety and security team, property committee, grounds committee, trustees, etc.) following an established checklist. In addition to the areas inspected monthly, special attention should be paid to electrical, HVAC, plumbing, and fire protection systems as well as water penetration and building structure integrity. Periodic consultation with professional contractors and/or local fire officials is recommended in conjunction with the annual inspection process. For all inspections, a process should be in place to correct defects noted or, if a defect cannot be corrected immediately, to place or mark the area out of service until repairs can be made. Tasks: Self inspection process Develop a self inspection process. Self inspection process training Train any employees and/or volunteers who would be responsible for conducting self inspections. Establish a safety and security team Organize individuals, teams and/or committees responsible for conducting regular periodic inspections. Building and grounds checklist Develop or obtain an established checklist to conduct regular periodic inspections of the facility. Conduct periodic inspections Conduct periodic inspections of the facility and grounds using a developed or an established checklist. Are there any hazardous conditions or objects on the property that could be considered an attractive nuisance? An attractive nuisance is any inherently hazardous object or condition of property that is likely to attract children (for example, construction sites, unfenced swimming pools, poorly maintained playground equipment and discarded large appliances). However, it can be applied to virtually anything on the property of the landowner. While putting up a sign to warn children regarding the danger of the land may exempt the landowner from liability, it will not work in all situations. This is particularly true when the child cannot read the sign. Usually the landowner must take some more affirmative steps to protect children. The law doesn't require owners to childproof their properties, but it expects people to be alert to potential dangers to children and to take reasonable steps to prevent harm to those too young to understand the danger. Recommendation(s) The property should be inspected to determine if there are any existing conditions that could be considered an attractive nuisance. If any conditions are found, they should be quickly corrected in a manner that the condition would no longer present a danger to children. The following are some examples of items that could potentially be considered as attractive nuisances; however your search should not be limited to this list. Poorly maintained playground equipment Construction sites Swimming pools Discarded large appliances Abandoned vehicles Trampolines Unattended dumpsters Vacant buildings Tasks: Attractive nuisance inspection Inspect the property to determine if there are any existing conditions that could be considered an attractive nuisance and take the corrective steps to eliminate any hazards found. Have building(s) ever been inspected for structural damage? Most structural problems can be avoided by proper design and planning; but structural failures have been common for a long time, and sometimes are costly to handle properly. Therefore, early detection of structural damage is very important for identifying and diagnosing the nature of the damage in an early stage so as to reduce catastrophic failures and costly repairs. Buildings should be surveyed for various items when inspecting for structural damage. Foundation The building's foundation is often an item of concern when identifying structural damage. If the foundation is not built properly or soil conditions change after the building is completed, structural damage will begin from the ground up. One large misconception is that foundation problems only occur in older buildings, but foundation problems are also very prevalent in new construction. Exterior or interior indications of foundation problems could be caused by either settlement or upheaval. Settlement means a portion of the building foundation has dropped below the original foundation elevation. This occurs due to a loss of soil bearing capacity caused by compaction of fill, loss of moisture in the supporting soil, or due to the erosion of the supporting soil. Upheaval means the slab has risen above the original foundation elevation. This happens most often due to the introduction of moisture under the foundation. The most frequent cause of this moisture is a plumbing leak under the slab. Note that some damage is strictly "cosmetic" damage that does not interfere with the foundations load bearing capacity. These "cosmetic" items could be cracks in floor tiles, cracks in sheetrock, etc. A qualified foundation repair contractor or a structural engineer can help you determine if the problems you are faced with are cosmetic or will require foundation repair. Indicators that there are foundation problems include the following: Doors that will not open or close properly Diagonal cracks in the wall at corners of doors and windows Windows that are hard to open and close Cracks in bricks and mortar Un-level floors Large cracks in the concrete slab Curling and tearing of existing sheetrock repairs Leaks and cracks in and around a chimney Pests Pests are believed to cause more structural damage each year than fires and storms combined. Many pests cause damage to property. Termites consume wooden structures for nutrition. Carpenter ants hollow out wood for living space. Many other pests attack properties with pre-existing structural or moisture problems. Environmental Earthquake, wind and flood hazards can also affect the structural integrity of a building. Buildings need to be inspected after withstanding an environmental hazard that may have damaged the building. Earthquake forces can damage the structure of your building in mere moments with a variety of motion. These include jolts, upheavals, drops, horizontal back-and-forth or side-to-side shaking or both, rolling and bouncing. The intensity and damage sustained will be determined by the type of geology your building rests upon and the type of materials it was built with. Wooden structures are more flexible and more able to withstand the violent shaking of quakes, while masonry buildings, especially those un-reinforced, can crumble. Wind causes pressure on the surface of buildings, which leads to placing a load on the structure of the building. When the load applied by the wind is greater than the capacity of the building materials, the building fails. Failure will be increased if the building has sustained any other previous structural damage that may have weakened the structure of the building. This could include pest, water or even previous wind damage. Even after a minor wind storm, an exterior inspection of the building should be conducted to determine if the building has sustained any damage. The roof, siding and/or windows are the areas most likely to receive damage. These items can be damaged by the force of the wind itself or by debris that impacts the building during the storm. This damage can expose the building to various elements, mainly water, which over time could affect the structural integrity of the building. The major concern associated with flood damage would be proper clean up to prevent mold growth. Mold may cause serious structural damage to a building, because it feeds on and breaks down organic matter. Therefore, when mold infests walls, insulation, paper backing, or carpeting, the materials must be removed. General maintenance itself on a building goes a long way in helping eliminate or reduce any structural damage. This includes repairing any normal wear and tear on a building and any accidental damage. Recommendation(s) If the foundation has extensive cracks and areas of crumbling material, possibly indicating structural impairment that could result in collapse or damage to the building, a structural engineer should be hired to determine the extent (if any) of structural impairment that exists in the foundation. Based upon the structural engineer's recommendations, all necessary repairs should be made. If the building has extensive cracks and bowing of the walls, possibly indicating structural impairment that could result in collapse or damage to the building, a structural engineer should be hired to determine the extent (if any) of structural impairment that exists in the walls. Based upon the structural engineer's recommendations, all necessary repairs should be made. If the exterior wall tuck-pointing is deteriorated, increasing the risk of water damage and potential collapse of the walls, tuck-pointing on the exterior walls should be completed by a qualified contractor. If the building has a pest infestation, a qualified pest exterminator should inspect and treat the building to properly remove the pest infestation. After the pests have been removed, a structural engineer should inspect the property to determine if the pests have structurally damaged the building. Earthquakes, floods and damaging winds can structurally impair a building or cause minor damage that can eventually lead to reducing the structural integrity of the building. To minimize any initial damage or prevent any further damage from occurring to the building, a thorough building inspection should be conducted after a building encounters an earthquake, flood or storm containing damaging winds. General building maintenance goes a long way in helping eliminate or reduce any structural damage to the building. Water is one of the main culprits in producing structural damage. Any damage to the building that is allowing water to infiltrate the building should be corrected. Gutters and downspouts should also be maintained to keep water away from the foundation of the building. Tasks: Structural damage inspection Inspect the building for structural damage. Structural damage repair If any damage is noted during the structural inspection, hire a structural engineer to evaluate the extent of the damage and recommend corrective measures. Are protective barriers installed to prevent vehicles from striking and damaging the building and service utilities? When parking lots or driveways are in close proximity to a building, vehicle protection should be installed to protect the building, heating and air conditioning units, main gas lines or electrical transformers from being damaged from an automobile accidentally striking them. Recommendation(s) If the building, heating and air conditioning units, main gas lines or electrical transformers are located in areas where they could be easily damaged from an automobile accidentally striking them, protective barriers should be installed, per the following guidelines: Four-inch diameter hollow metal posts filled with and set in concrete are a good choice to be used as barriers. Permanently anchored automobile restraining bumpers [car stops] can also be installed. Any barriers that are installed need to be painted yellow or other contrasting color for high visibility. Tasks: Vehicle damage barriers Install protective barriers in areas where vehicles could easily strike and damage the building and/or any service utilities.