Access Restoration Services Ltd. (ARS) and Omega Superior Maintenance Inc. recognizes the evolving situation regarding the Corona Virus outbreak, and we are doing our part to ensure our clients and their staff and properties are protected. Together we share in the concern and will continue to protect our staff and valued clients from any increased risk;
Our team will be following these new guidelines listed below effective immediately:
Our staff and vendors have been advised to follow the Canadian governments’ recommendations with regards to those showing any symptoms, including not coming to work, self-quarantining, and seeking appropriate medical attention if required. This includes those who are returning from traveling to areas of concern, as published and updated by the Ontario Government.
Our staff are being instructed to change gloves more frequently and dispose of the used gloves in a secure manner. We have also mandated that our staff wear gloves while working in all client facilities and updated best practices have been distributed for handwashing and sanitizing.
Our staff have been instructed to, in the course of carrying out standard work in client properties, disinfect frequently touched surfaces such as; door handles, panels, elevator buttons, bathrooms, etc.
The team at ARS and Omega remain committed to the safety of our staff, vendors, and clients, and continue to monitor the situation as it evolves. Should additional measures be implemented, we will issue an updated memo.
Earlier this year, Toronto mayor, John Tory, announced that a comprehensive series of inspections would be carried out to numerous apartment buildings in Toronto. This work, he said, would be carried out by a team of workers directed by the Electrical Safety Authority (ESA), Toronto Fire and City of Toronto Bylaw Enforcement Officers.
Tory’s newly established team has taken a defensive approach and have ordered structured ‘power shutdowns’ of certain buildings it believes may be at risk of imminent failure to one or more of its building systems. The power shutdowns are designed to allow for critical inspections and repairs to help ensure public and resident safety.
Of special interest to city officials are high rise rental apartments over forty years old that may have received minimal preventative maintenance to their electrical systems, especially their electrical distribution equipment. Insufficient maintenance to these systems runs the risk of creating significant safety hazards for the building’s residents. Tory emphasized that not only do catastrophic events that occur to buildings as a result of improper maintenance create financial strain on the residents, but on the City itself. There are significant costs related to responding to emergency situations such as fire and floods in high rise buildings.
Access Restoration Services (ARS) is specially equipped to handle all aspects of a power shut down. As a full-service restoration company, we have the experience to handle all aspects of inspections and repairs to electrical systems and all systems found in high-rise buildings. Coordinating electrical disconnections, inspections, and repairs not only requires a team of electricians, it also entails the assistance of more than a dozen other trade specialties to safely complete the work. For example, a Phase Testing/Thermal Imaging company may be needed to complete physical inspections and testing of the electrical distribution. A plumbing professional may be required to drain water from the building to prevent flooding during the power shutdown and then to re-energize the plumbing system at the end of the process.
Other trade specialists include those who inspect and correct fire-stopping deficiencies that function to impede the spread of fire, fire residues and water escape to adjacent suites and floors of the building. 24-hour security guards need to be in place during a power shutdown to maintain fire watch while the fire detection systems are off-line; elevator technicians must be on hand to safely decommission elevators before the start of a power shut down and recommission once power has been re-established. Temporary power distribution equipment is typically needed to power Life Systems including emergency lighting in stairwells and emergency lighting in the parking garages. Temporary power also serves basic building systems to ensure that residents can safely access their apartment.
Faced with a power shut down order from the ESA, owners or property managers have a very small window of time to comply – sometimes only a week or two. This does not leave much time to plan and execute all of the intricate ‘moving parts’ required to properly plan and execute the power shut down. ARS can plan, coordinate and execute all aspects of a power shut down, from start to finish, with as little as 48 hours’ notice.
The proactive method of inspecting and repairing a building’s electrical system that would serve to reduce the stress of the building’s residents as well as its managers is to start the planning process before the inevitable visit from one of the City’s authorities. There are certain times of the year that would only increase the negative impact for residents such as major holidays and periods of extreme temperatures. There are also certain times of the week that prove to be more disruptive to residents. Routine visual inspections and regular maintenance of electrical distribution equipment by licensed electricians and building systems performed by appropriate licensed technicians is key to reducing likelihood of unwelcome surprises.
The length of a power shut down will depend on the state of the electrical distribution equipment and the age of the building. Most shutdowns require a period of one to two days. While some buildings might only require eight hours to finalize necessary inspections and repairs, other buildings that have received very little maintenance or had mechanical systems’ work carried out by unqualified personnel have required up to four-day shutdowns. Much depends on the level of inspection required, how much maintenance needs to be performed and how much equipment needs to be replaced.
Power shutdowns can be very unsettling and uncomfortable for residents. They could be without power and water for an extended period of time. The situation is worse for tenants who live on higher floors or those with physical limitations since the elevators do not operate during a power shut down. Making matters more stressful, ordered shutdowns usually allow less lead time for residents to make any adjustments they might need to their daily routines ahead of the power shutdown. During this stressful time, Access Restoration Services maintains a safe work site where fire safety and life safety remain in place. The fire department is put on notice and work is done as quickly as possible to minimize the inconvenience of those who live and work in the building.
With the increase of catastrophic events occurring to Toronto’s aging buildings caused by poor or irregular maintenance to its building systems, there is an increased commitment from Toronto’s Authorities to review building owner’s and property manager’s maintenance programs. While some of these buildings that have been properly maintained will not require a shutdown and only minimal maintenance, others will almost certainly require extensive shutdowns and maintenance undertaking.
Property managers, building owners and facility managers responsible for buildings forty years and older could opt for a proactive approach before an order comes through from the City. Access Restoration Services utilizes a tested process driven by a team of highly skilled project managers, production coordinators and administrative professionals that can help building management plan and execute necessary inspections and repairs with a view to reduce the impact to the people who live and work in the building as much as possible.
As posted on https://oaem.ca/featured/planning-for-a-different-working-relationship/
There’s no doubt the commercial landscape has changed. Industries and businesses are under tremendous pressure. Shutting down operations for a few weeks or even a few days is simply not an option.
Today, disaster recovery and restoration mean it’s imperative we work quickly and closely with our clients to reduce downtime or avoid it altogether. Insurance contractors need to offer flexible mitigation planning and scheduling to respond to the needs of their clients.
Our aim is to get a business back to normal as quickly as possible. To do this we often work directly with a company’s employees in the planning phase. That planning often starts even before disaster strikes. We encourage companies to take precautions beforehand to reduce the impact of any potential disaster. We give them a checklist.
Pre-disaster planning is paramount to ensuring the quickest, safest and most cost-effective restoration work. No one wants to spend money on pre-planning. I get that. Yet being proactive is better than taking a bigger financial hit from a disaster later.
A lesson learned from the Fort McMurry Fire
The wildfire that started southwest of Fort McMurray, Alta., in May 2016 showed how vitally important pre-planning can be for the restoration industry and the people directly affected. Almost 90,000 people had to evacuate the community, making it the largest wildfire evacuation in Alberta history. Destroyed were 2,400 homes and buildings, and the damage ran into the billions of dollars, the costliest disaster in Canadian history.
Due to a lack of planning, certain response crews left the area almost as quickly as they arrived when they realized they weren’t prepared for the danger of working in that hostile environment. They weren’t prepared to handle the heavy toxic metals released into the environment by the fire.
Expertise is also the name of the game
We’re realizing that expertise in the restoration industry is everything. Knowledge and experience are often missing in restoration efforts, especially in less populous regions. At Access Restoration Services (ARS), our highly qualified, specialized operations managers can be anywhere in the world within hours. Their expertise is of tremendous benefit in recovery efforts in sparsely-populated communities.
Local communities may not always need emergency vehicles. But they do need direction and leadership. Experience and knowledge in crucial situations can dramatically improve the speed and effectiveness of getting properties back to their original condition and people back on track.
ARS is a proud leader in disaster mitigation and property restoration. The company provides restoration services for water, fire and storm damage. ARS has its head office in Toronto and has six other locations throughout Ontario. It also has offices in Calgary and Fort Lauderdale and is expanding into British Columbia and the East Coast.
BEHIND THE SCENES WITH A TOP CANADIAN RESTORATION COMPANY – ARS
Fires, floods, and tornadoes -disaster can strike at any time. And while an emergency preparedness plan can go a long way towards mitigating the impact, sometimes even the best-laid plans can’t prevent damage to a site. Enter ARS – Access Restoration Services.
Founded in 1959 as a general contracting company with a commitment to doing good work, ARS has evolved to become Ontario’s leading disaster mitigation and restoration company.
From fire or water damage to natural disasters and biohazardous materials, ARS provides a comprehensive range of property restoration services to industrial, commercial and institutional clients. Because of the company’s extensive experience in the field, they have a special focus on complex and technically challenging projects.
With the primary goal of minimizing business interruption, ARS designs and carries out complete restoration solutions, starting at day one with damage and safety assessment, and carrying through to complete restoration.
When it comes to restoration, Nathan Normoyle, VP of National Operations at ARS, really has seen it all. We spoke with him about the most common winter disasters, and the most unusual projects ARS has encountered. From futuristic poultry to a natural disaster that had North America holding its breath, these projects are not your typical day at the office.
Fire and Ice
“There are a number of things that the winter season has an impact on,” explains Normoyle. “The frequency of fires and smoke damage increases as it’s the heating season.” From gas burning heaters to wood stoves, the prevalence of heating equipment being used during the colder months leads to more fires. But it’s not just heaters that cause winter fires. “As we approach Christmas time, it’s not just people in houses that put up Christmas trees, but also businesses,” Normoyle explains. “We see a drastic increase in fires that are resulting from Christmas trees or the associated electrical setup for Christmas trees and other decorations.”
Fires aren’t the only disasters that multiply when the temperatures drop. Frozen pipes are another common winter worry. Says Normoyle, “Plumbing doesn’t like cold weather, so if it isn’t insulated properly, or let’s say the heat source is down for a day in a building or a home, that increases the frequency of frozen pipes, which causes significant water damage.”
While fire, smoke and water damage are the most common restoration projects that ARS faces, we wanted to know what their most unusual cases were. And they did not disappoint.
Birds of a Feather
No business is safe from the threat of fire, and that includes poultry farms. But when the poultry is state of the art, the restoration crew needs to tread as lightly as a feather.
Recently, ARS was called to a chicken hatchery that had suffered extensive fire and smoke damage. But it was no ordinary poultry facility. “These are considered the perfect chicken,” says Normoyle, “So we had to work around these genetically perfect birds to ensure that the facility was able to continue operating, and that we didn’t cause damage to the stock with our restoration methods.”
This was no small feat.
“Anyone who owns a bird knows that if you leave a window open and there’s a cold draft, that’s enough to kill a bird,” explains Normoyle. “So it’s a very delicate environment to work in.”
Not only was the environment a delicate one, but because the birds in question were particularly valuable stock, extra precautions had to be taken. “The facility was considered hermetically sealed,” says Normoyle, “So the crew was walking around in hazmat suits, in amongst maybe 20 or 30 thousand of these perfect chickens. That’s definitely one that we don’t see every day.”
Because of the delicate nature of the project, restoration took nearly 5 months. But the result was happy chickens, and a happy customer. “It was a successful project and the client left very happy, with minimal business interruption, which was the goal,” says Normoyle. “So it was a win-win.”
One Explosion, 12 Floors, 250,000 Square Feet
In 2017, the hydro vault of a commercial office building exploded — ironically, due to flooding. ARS was called in to handle the fallout. “Basically, the underground pathways and electrical rooms of the building were filled with water due to flooding above on the street level,” explains Normoyle, “and that caused a severe explosion, which blew up and set on fire the hydro vault and the wiring that runs from the hydro vault into the underground of the building.”
Like the wick on a stick of dynamite, the fire traveled along the wiring, filling the building’s 12 floors with toxic electrical smoke.
“There were several thousand people who worked there,” says Normoyle. “So several thousand workstations. If you can imagine: 2000 desks, computers, and all the office equipment. And we had to move the whole building into a temporary facility to allow it to continue to operate.”
That’s exactly what ARS did. In order to minimize their client’s loss of revenue, the crew relocated all 250,000 square feet of workspace into temporary facilities for the duration of the restoration.
“It was a very technically complicated project,” says Normoyle. “It lasted approximately 15 months and at the same time we were on a very very tight deadline.”
A City in Flames and a Nation Looking On
At the beginning of May, 2016, wildfires swept through Fort McMurray, forcing the largest evacuation in Alberta’s history, as approximately 88,000 people fled their homes. Arriving on day 8 of the evacuation, ARS was the first restoration company on the ground in Fort McMurray.
“We were on site while the fires were still burning in the city,” recalls Normoyle. “Eight days after the initial evacuation, we were on the ground with approximately 400 staff; we were responsible for restoring a large portion of the infrastructure for the hospitality industry.”
This included nine different hotels and a number of commercial and industrial buildings throughout the city. ARS had done many fire and smoke restoration projects before, but nothing quite like this.
“Because the city was evacuated, there was no fuel, there was no food, and very limited accommodations,” says Normoyle. “So we took over a full hotel that was empty; there was no service, no staff, nothing, and our staff were housed in that building.”
In order to feed the crew, ARS had to hire an off-site catering company who set up a field kitchen 100 kilometres outside of town, and trucked meals in three times a day.
Fuel was also an issue. “We brought our own fuel supply in the form of fuel trailers with battery pumps,” explains Normoyle. “So every time a vehicle needed fuel, you would have to get out, connect the cable to a battery, and basically pump fuel out of this temporary storage tank into the truck. And we did that for the better part of 30 days until the evacuation order was lifted.”
The job wasn’t an easy one, but for ARS, it was well worth it. “We were able to make a significant contribution to allow the city to get back to its normal operations,” says Normoyle, “so it was a unique and rewarding experience for us as a company.”
Article posted on Trinity Power website: https://www.trinitypower.com/restoration-company-stories/