Wolgast Blog

Hail Damage Risk for School Districts and Restoration Action

Posted by Cory Sursely on 2/15/2021

HailRoofDamageWhat do a pea, a quarter, a mothball, and a golf ball have in common? You probably guessed it, they are all used to describe sizes of hail. The bigger the diameter of hail, the bigger the damage it causes, especially for School Districts. You may wonder why a school would be worse off than most other structures, but when you consider that most Districts have a campus with multiple buildings in the same area, the cost to restore after a hail storm can add up quickly.

Additionally, hail can be an isolated incident that occurs primarily during the months of May through September, mostly when school isn’t in session. Damage to a roof has to be assessed quickly and protection applied to prevent rain waters leaking into a building and damaging more of the structure than just the roof. Plus, if it isn’t known that hail fell upon a school roof with no one there in the summer, the winter freeze and spring rains can make the damage significantly worse and more difficult from an insurance stand point.

When our school client called us in April of 2020, during the complete pandemic shutdown of schools in Michigan, to notify us that their roof had been impacted by hail, we met with them that same day to see what kind of damage they had. The golf ball sized hail had torn holes in 70% of the High School’s roof membrane. They were fortunate that only one of their school structures had been damaged.

After the adjuster of their insurance company, SETSEG, had completed their assessment of the damage, we got to work. We provided restoration services and managed the replacement of the damaged area. We assisted the School District and SETSEG to coordinate the installation of a liquid coating to seal the holes as temporary protection until the roof membrane could be replaced. The roof replacement was complete prior to the start of the school year and also involved drywall repair, acoustical ceiling replacement, installing lights and speakers, carpet cleaning and deodorizing, general cleaning and painting the ceiling.

Wolgast is a professional Construction Manager for schools throughout Michigan. We have decades of experience and know how to make school structures functional for students and teachers whether we are building new, remodeling, expanding, or restoring after a storm. In the instance of restoration, we will work with your insurance company to return your building to a pre-loss condition efficiently and correctly. Please contact us if you have building needs for your District – 800-WOLGAST.

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Tags: Schools, Construction Management, Restoration

Fire Resistant Building Elements for Business Owners

Posted by Cory Sursely on 10/5/2020

Forty to sixty percent of businesses that face disaster, such as a fire, never reopen according to FEMA.gov. To prepare for Fire Prevention Week the beginning of October, we have compiled information about making a business structure more fire resistant.

In 1922, the NFPA originated Fire Prevention Week was a small organizational observance. President Coolidge adopted it nationally in 1925 to be recognized every year during the week of October 9. That date coincides with The Great Chicago Fire, which happened in 1871, killing 250 people and leaving 100,000 homeless (nfpa.org).

This yearly reminder to building inhabitants whether end users or owners is a good practice to help save many lives, homes, and businesses, and we feel that knowing what causes the most fires in a commercial or industrial setting will help business owners protect themselves from hazards, see graphs.

Commercial Building Fire Causes         Industrial Building Fire Causes

Sources: nfpa.org: U.S. Structure Fires in Office Properties, Aug 2013     nfpa.org: Fires in Industrial and Manufacturing Properties, Mar 2018

For commercial buildings, the majority of fires are started while cooking, so having flame retardant materials and furniture is important in the kitchen area. It’s also important to know that intentional fires are commonly arson caused by a disgruntled person either in the bathroom or an exterior dumpster, therefore, it’s good to be aware of who is in a building when there has been an altercation, empty trash daily, install motion sensor cameras, and keep the dumpster away from the building.   Additionally, most unintentional fires are commonly started by cigarettes in the landscaping or space heaters placed against the wall. Having designated disposal units for cigarettes and a policy about the use of space heaters are great, low cost means to protect from everything going up in smoke (smokeguard.com).

Depending on the size and use of a building, a sprinkler system may be required by code. For example, an office or medical building, AKA light hazard, over 12,000 s.f. is required to be “sprinkled”, but a restaurant only needs to be 5,000 s.f. to require a sprinkler system. I interviewed Bernie with Jimco Fire Protection, Inc. about what materials building owners should use to be more fire resistant and he suggested, “Metal trusses with fire retardant sheeting is the best way to go on a roof.” By using these materials, an attic doesn’t need to be sprinkled regardless of the size even if the rest of the building needs to be. Another option that Bernie doesn’t readily recommend is instead using wood trusses and installing a dry suppression system. It may be less upfront cost, but there will be regular ongoing maintenance of the system that will likely add up to cost more and cause more risky down time. According to sciencedirect.com, other material selections good for fire protection of a building envelope (i.e. walls, ceiling, floors, columns, and roof), are heat resistant materials and/or metal choices, such as concrete, coated steel, brick and mortar, treated wood, glass, and other metals to name a few.

Also, depending on the size and use of a building, an owner may be required by code to incorporate the following into the structural design, fire curtain, a minimum number of fire alarms, emergency lights and exit signs, and a minimum number of fire extinguishers. Bernie reminded us that if adding on to a building, it could trigger the additional expense of some of these requirements.

Low cost ways to protect staff, customers and assets from fire damage include good housekeeping inside and out of the building, maintenance, having a disaster response plan, and a contingency plan. The best practice is to take the time to train staff on fire safety and how to use an extinguisher, and discuss a disaster plan with staff including where to meet outside the building to be accounted for in the event of an emergency.

I asked Bernie what was new in the fire protection industry and he said, “Sprinkler heads are the only thing changing. In the 70s there were only 4 options, now there’s an unknown number of options.” He shared that on the market are single heads that can reach 30 ft. one way and 30 ft. the other way, essentially covering entire rooms with its spray. A head of that strength of spray requires only one main line in a room, rather than using more materials to branch out with piping through the space and also needs less labor saving on cost.

Wolgast Corporation and Wolgast Restoration are in a unique position to be able to assist business owners to rebuild during a disaster. We have the insurance restoration expertise to help with clean up along with the design and construction expertise to rebuild the structure if it’s needed. In the event of an emergency call 855-WOLGAST for our 24-Hour emergency hotline, or 800-WOLGAST for other building needs.

Tags: Professional General Contractor, Restoration

The Best Way to Speed up Your Building Restoration

Posted by Cory Sursely on 4/9/2019
Having a Restoration Company and a General Contractor on the Same Team

The team of  Wolgast Corporation and Wolgast Restoration was created to be a high level provider of full-service restoration services to deal with all of your challenges when mayhem strikes your building.  Wolgast Restoration specializes in residential and commercial restoration when it comes to structural damage from water, fire, wind, or other mishaps.  And Wolgast Corporation is a commercial contractor who has specialized in buildings of all shapes and sizes since 1948.

So, what are the benefits of having your restoration company on the same team as a general contractor?  The communication and actions to start planning the reconstruction portion of your project (if it’s needed) flows fluidly through the company as the experts in charge of your building talk freely and regularly.  Also the strength and resources that Wolgast Corporation has developed over the past 70+ years provides a solid foundation for Wolgast Restoration to handle projects of any size. 

During the clean-up portion of a project, project technicians can assess the situation and keep the construction staff informed of what’s needed and the construction staff can be estimating budgets, planning for materials, obtaining permits and organizing team coverage.  All this is done without much effort on your part, because when you have endured mayhem, the last thing you want is to be burdened with is making phone calls and searching for an unknown company to preserve your building.

Wolgast Restoration is providing its services through the same systemized approach that Wolgast Corporation uses to provide its construction services.  We find that having this systemized approach allows us to provide the most uniform and quality service for each unique job.  It helps us move quickly to the next task rather than pause to determine what to do next, all to the benefit of our clients through time savings.

We have offices in Saginaw and Kalamazoo areas.  If mayhem strikes you, please don’t hesitate to strike back with Wolgast Restoration.  Call 855.965.4278 to take immediate action.  In the meantime, if you have questions, please visit www.wolgastrestoration.com or call 989-790-9120 when it isn't an emergency.


water damagefire damagewind damage

Tags: the Wolgast Way, Restoration

Tips for Improving Your Building Investment This Winter

Posted by Cory Anderson on 10/2/2012

As a business owner or manager, your building is an investment that you’d like to protect from harsh weather; therefore, here are a few tips on how to prepare your building and grounds for cooler temperatures, ice, and snow.


To take care of your lawn during the dormant fall and winter it’s best to start maintenance before the real freeze sets in.  According to Green Thumb Lawn and Turf Specialists of Big Rapids, the top things to do include:

  • Perform core aeration on your lawn to remove thatch from lawns which may have been compacted by foot traffic or other use during the summer.  Doing this promotes deeper root growth for a lush lawn that’s healthy and draught resistant.
  • Applying fertilizer and weed control this time of year strengthens the grass plan as it goes into winter dormancy and weeds are more susceptive to herbicide sprays.
  • Adjust your watering schedule since less will be needed during cooler temperatures.
  • Overseed your lawn if it’s looking thin.  You can do this by applying seed to the already grassy areas of your lawn.  According to www.Lawn-Care-Academy.com, mature plants slow down their production rate.  The new grass plants grow faster.  “The practice of overseeding lawns is the easiest way to keep grass young”.
  • Treat trees for disease prevention in the fall.  Depending on the type of tree, there are a variety of treatments to prevent disease caused by bugs.

Building Maintenance:

Many of the same practices that you use on your home apply to your office or commercial building.  Wolgast Corporation suggests that you do the following to prepare for cooler weather:

  • Clean your gutters before the snow and ice set in to prevent pooling of water when it melts and having it run down to your foundation.
  • Install storm windows if you have them to provide better insulation and lower heat bills.
  • Shut off the valve to your hose bib to prevent it from freezing or breaking and having water run down into your foundation.  On a similar note, make sure that the water is blown out of your irrigation system to prevent damage from the expansion of ice in the lines.
  • Check around your building for cracks and crevices.  If you notice any, take action to seal them to protect your structure.  Also prime and paint any areas on the exterior of your building where wood is exposed.

HVAC System

I also solicited tips from Answer Heating and Cooling of Freeland, MI on the steps you should take to prepare your HVAC System this winter.  They suggested:

  • Change air filters regularly to improve efficiency.  This is important in the winter when the furnace is used consistently.  Along the same lines, check drive belts on your furnace or air handling unit for wear and proper tension to prevent a reduction in airflow or frozen coils.  Then check all wiring for loose and burnt connections.
  • Clear condensate lines from your air conditioner to ensure that nothing is clogged inside to prevent air movement.
  • Clean the burner assembly on your gas furnace.
  • Make sure that air intakes and exhaust vents on the exterior of your building remain unblocked during snow removal to prevent carbon monoxide from occurring inside.

I’m not sure how to exactly describe a “real winter” because they vary in Michigan, but I imagine that there will be lots of snow and ice.  Don’t wait to get your building maintenance in order. 

**FYI – should you have any issues with your building this winter as a result of the weather, Wolgast Restoration is ready to help you with any insurance claim involving your building.  The Wolgast Way.

Tags: Professional General Contractor, Restoration, Good for Business

Tips for Making an Insurance Claim for Your Commercial Business

Posted by Cory Sursely on 3/22/2012

I chose to discuss Insurance Claims in this blog because when the time comes, some business owners have never been through the process and may not know what to expect.

As you can imagine, there are many different scenarios that can cause damage or loss to your property.  It could be the effects of a variety of storms, an accident, fire, or vandalism damages on your building.  The number one tip that I can give you is to call your insurance company in all circumstances (after you call the emergency services if necessary, of course).  When someone else is to blame for the damage of your property, do not rely solely on their insurance company to handle the claim because it often slows down the process.  Get your insurance provider involved early to assist you with communicating with the other insurance company and expedite the process.

Additionally, if the damage is to your building, your insurance provider may recommend that you receive bids from a professional, trustworthy contractor.  We also recommend that you use the contractor that you trust to give you the best value and quality for your repair.

On www.insweb.com, I found a few good tips, like, making necessary “make-shift” repairs right away so additional damage doesn’t happen.  This is best done by a professional Restoration Company and is also what your insurance company would encourage.  It's good to know from the start that you should not throw away any items removed during clean-up, so the insurance adjuster can see them.  Also, it’s a good idea to keep pictures of your property on file prior to any damage, so the adjuster can compare after damage.  Also remember, whenever you make updates to your property, be sure to take new pictures.

Below, are typical questions that may be asked when you call your insurance company, according to www.nationwide.com:

  • What has been lost or damaged?
  • When did the loss or damage happen?
  • How did the loss or damage happen?
  • What actions have you taken since the loss or damage happened?
  • What is the approximate cost of repair or replacement?

Your insurance company understands that you may not know all the answers to these questions during the initial phone call, but it’s a starting point to help determine the value of your loss or damage.

I hope that you never have any sort of issue that requires you to make a claim; however, Wolgast can help you make building repairs if you do.  Please call me at 800-WOLGAST.

Wolgast has no affiliation with either insurance company referenced above and is not for or against endorsing their services.

Tags: Professional General Contractor, the Wolgast Way, Restoration, Good for Business