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Blackstone Acquires Majority Stake in SERVPRO

6/10/2019 (Permalink)

SERVPRO and Blackstone (NYSE:BX) announced today that private equity funds managed by Blackstone (“Blackstone”) have recapitalized SERVPRO, a leading franchisor of residential and commercial property damage restoration services. Blackstone is acquiring a majority stake in SERVPRO as part of Blackstone’s Core Private Equity strategy, which is designed to hold investments for longer periods of time than traditional private equity. The Isaacson family will be re-investing alongside Blackstone and will continue to be significant shareholders in the business going forward.  Financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

Founded in 1967 by the Isaacson family, SERVPRO is a leading national franchisor, providing services in both residential and commercial property mitigation, restoration and reconstruction following damage related to water, fire, mold or storm activity. Since its founding, SERVPRO has now grown to over 1,700 franchisees in the United States and Canada. 

Rick Isaacson, SERVPRO CEO, said, “We are thrilled about this long-term investment from Blackstone and the strategic benefits its global platform can provide the company, our franchisees, and our customers. SERVPRO was founded over 50 years ago with the vision of becoming the premier cleaning and restoration company, and we believe this partnership with Blackstone is a vital next step towards this goal.”

Peter Wallace, Senior Managing Director at Blackstone, said, “We are excited to make this investment and join together with the Isaacsons and the SERVPRO team as long-term growth partners. We believe the additional capital and extensive network of relationships that Blackstone can bring to bear will benefit not only SERVPRO, but its more than 1,700 franchisees and its customers.”

David Kestnbaum, Managing Director at Blackstone, said, “SERVPRO is a high-quality company with a strong management team and great long-term prospects. We look forward to working with SERVPRO and its franchisees to help fuel the business’ next phase of growth.  As one of the largest owners of residential, office, retail, hotel, and industrial real estate in the world, Blackstone has unique expertise and insights into a broad array of properties that are relevant to SERVPRO.”

Harris Williams is acting as financial advisor to SERVPRO with respect to the transaction and Bass, Berry & Sims PLC is acting as SERVPRO’s legal counsel. Jefferies, Credit Suisse, and Deutsche Bank Securities provided debt financing for the transaction and served as financial advisors to Blackstone. Simpson Thacher & Bartlett is acting as Blackstone’s legal counsel. 

Coastal Flooding On The Rise

5/28/2019 (Permalink)

Many homeowners dream of waterfront property, the smell of salty sea air and to be greeted by the ocean when the wake up every morning.  As idyllic as it may sound there is another side to living on the coast. During 2018 coastal communities experienced record number of high tide flooding.  Sidewalks and streets were frequently flooded mainly due to El Nino conditions.  The projected increase in high tide flooding in 2018 may be as much as 60 percent higher across U.S. coastlines as compared to typical flooding about 20 years ago, according to NOAA scientists. These predictions are part of NOAA’s 2017 State of High Tide Flooding and 2018 Outlook, a report produced by NOAA’s Center for Operational Oceanographic Products and Services every year since 2014.

The report finds that during the 2017 meteorological year (May 2017-April 2018), the U.S. average number of high tide flooding days was the highest measured at 98 NOAA tide gauges.  More than a quarter of the coastal locations tied or broke their individual records for high tide flood days.

The top five cities that saw the highest number of flood days across the U.S. and broke records include Boston; Atlantic City, New Jersey; Sandy Hook, New Jersey; Sabine Pass, Texas; and Galveston, Texas.  These cities faced the brunt of an active nor’easter and hurricane seasons and sea level rise, which has made these and other less extreme events more impactful.

SERVPRO of Framingham specializes in Water Remediation, if you ever experience a flood or water damage call us 24/7 508-370-4400.

Lighting Storm Rolls Through Massachusetts

5/23/2019 (Permalink)

As severe thunderstorms rolled through MetroWest, a lightning strike caused some damage to a Massachusetts home after it made a tree topple over onto the property's living room.

Then a bolt of lightning struck around 3 a.m. The explosion woke them all up, but no one was hurt.

Windows in the back of the home were blown out and a large tree was torn apart.

Debris from the tree could also be seen scattered across the home's yard and porch.

In the backyard, pieces of a giant tree were turned into shrapnel... the trunk ripped up by the roots. The cover of a cable box in the front yard was also in pieces with its underground wires fried and exposed.

SERVPRO of Framingham's Reconstruction Team can put your home back together after a storm, flood, mold or fire..."Like it never even happened."

When Your Commercial Property Experiences a Flood

5/23/2019 (Permalink)

As a business owner, you must protect your property. You likely have insurance that covers you in case of theft, fire or other serious property damage, but not all policies cover flood damage. Even if you don't live in an area prone to flooding, one burst pipe is all it takes to create a big problem. 

Have Digital Backups of Any Paper Files

No matter how well you prepare, your paper files are at risk if storm damage is a possibility. If you don't already have digital copies of your important paperwork, now is the time to create these backups. Doing so can save you days' worth of headaches during the restoration process.

- Property deeds
- Insurance policies
- Inventory lists
- Employee information
- Company handbooks and policies
- Client or customer information

Create Sandbags to Protect Your Building

Placing sandbags at the doors and windows can protect your property from up to two feet of storm water. After filling each bag with sand, fold the top over and place the bag with the folded top down. Create one layer at a time, and limit their placement to three layers, unless you intend to create a pyramid or are leaning the bags against doors and windows. Remember, sandbags are a temporary solution and aren't likely to protect the building from larger floods.

Move What You Can

Consider your furniture and whether you have higher ground in your building. If you have a second story, move as much furniture and equipment to the higher floor as possible. If you have enough notice and a second property that is on higher ground, consider moving furniture and equipment to a new building entirely.

While you aren't likely to get away from flooding with no damage at all, following these steps will help you protect much of your property. Less time spent cleaning up means more time getting back into the swing of doing business.

Tornadoes Strike Even in Massachusetts

5/23/2019 (Permalink)

National Weather Service is warning of intense weather headed to Massachusetts, which could mean severe thunderstorms or even tornadoes.

Temperatures are expected to climb as high as the mid-80s on afternoon in late May and as a storm system makes its way across the state, the highest risk of extreme weather is expected to kick in at around 5 or 6 p.m.,  NWS meteorologist. Short-lived but powerful storms, isolated thunderstorms and powerful winds, and hail sized up to an inch or two inches are more likely out in the west and northwestern parts of the state, the Weather Service says, but still possible closer to the city. The conditions may also be right for tornadoes to form.

“There’s a cold front approaching the area and we’re going to have a storm that will form along that boundary,”Correia says. “Really warm temperatures will help that instability.”

She says that the risk of tornadoes remains pretty remote, but it’s worth being alert regardless, especially if you commute by car or haveplans to be outside.

Home Ignition Zones and Wildfires

4/26/2019 (Permalink)

Last year was a devastating year for wildfires as it destroyed thousands of homes of the animals that inhabit the forest and the homes of celebrities that overlook such beauty, alike. As a growing number of people living in these at-risk areas, more than 25,000 structures were destroyed, including 18,137 residences and 229 commercial structures in 2018 alone. California accounted for the highest number of structures lost in one state due to the number of significant fires, including the Mendocino Complex, Carr, Camp and Woolsey fires.

According to National Fire Protection Association, home destruction vs. home survival in wildfires point to embers and small flames as the main way that the majority of homes ignite in wildfires.Embers are burning pieces of airborne wood and/or vegetation that can be carried more than a mile through the wind can cause spot fires and ignite homes, debris and other objects.

There are methods for homeowners to prepare their homes to withstand ember attacks and minimize the likelihood of flames or surface fire touching the home or any attachments. Experiments, models and post-fire studies have shown homes ignite due to the condition of the home and everything around it, up to 200’ from the foundation. This is called the Home Ignition Zone (HIZ). Within these three zones, Immediate Zone, Intermediate Zone, and Extended Zone, you the homeowner have the expectation to remove dead plant and tree materials, keep grass mowed to a height of 4”, clean roofs and gutters of dead leaves, debris and pine needles to name just a few! For more information please go to: https://www.nfpa.org/Public-Education/By-topic/Wildfire/Firewise-USA/Online-learning-opportunities/Online-courses

Safety in the Home

4/26/2019 (Permalink)

Keep your family safe from fire. Be aware of the hazards in your home. And, be sure to have an escape plan. Pull together everyone in your household and make a plan. Walk through your home and inspect all possible exits and escape routes

Burn awareness Most “fire-related injuries” are burns.  Make sure kids stay more than 3 feet away from the stove. Most “fire-related injuries” are burns. In fact, approximately every 60 seconds someone in the U.S. sustains a burn injury serious enough to require treatment.*

Dryers and washing machines The leading cause of home clothes dryer and washer fires is failure to clean them. 

  • Clothes dryers accounted for 92% of the fires; washing machines 4%, and washer and dryer combinations accounted for 5%.
  • The leading factor contributing to the ignition of home fires involving clothes dryers was failure to clean, accounting for one-third (33%) of dryer fires.
  • A mechanical or electrical failure or malfunction was involved in the vast majority of home fires involving washing machines.
  • Fires involving clothes dryers usually started with the ignition of something that was being dried or was a byproduct (such as lint) of drying, while washing machine fires usually involved the ignition of some part of the appliance.  

Escape planning Learn the steps to create and practice a home fire escape plan.  Fire can spread rapidly through your home, leaving you as little as one or two minutes to escape safely once the smoke alarm sounds. A closed door may slow the spread of smoke, heat and fire. Install smoke alarms in every sleeping room and outside each separate sleeping area. Install alarms on every level of the home. Pull together everyone in your household and make a plan. Walk through your home and inspect all possible exits and escape routes. Households with children should consider drawing a floor plan of your home, marking two ways out of each room, including windows and doors.

Gasoline & propane safety Always handle gasoline in the home or propane-powered equipment cautiously.  Handle any propane-powered equipment cautiously and always follow the manufacturer's instructions.

  • Cylinder tanks for equipment such as stoves and ovens must be located outside of the home.
  • Keep gasoline out of children's sight and reach. Children should never handle gasoline.
  • If fire does start while handling gasoline, do not attempt to extinguish the fire or stop the flow of gasoline. Leave the area immediately, and call for help.
  • Do not use or store gasoline near possible ignition sources (i.e., electrical devices, oil- or gas-fired appliances, or any other device that contains a pilot flame or a spark).

Hoarding and fire safety Many fire departments are experiencing serious fires, injuries, and deaths as the result of compulsive hoarding behavior.   The excessive accumulation of materials in homes poses a significant threat to firefighters fighting fires and responding to other emergencies in these homes and to residents and neighbors.

Maintaining Your Commercial Property

4/26/2019 (Permalink)

With yearly returns falling between 6-12% of purchase price, commercial property is one of the best investments available today. An investment that profitable commands an extremely high time commitment. Moreover, if you own multiple properties, the time it takes to maintain all of those properties is all but impossible for one person to handle alone. At best, it’s like adding an additional full-time job to your current list of time commitments. At worst, it will completely overrun your life. Here’s some of the best and most time-effective ways to maintain the value of your commercial property.

1: Keep Your Tenants Happy

Tenants are the single most important aspect of your commercial property investment. A property without tenants is always doomed to lose money. It stands to reason, then, that keeping your tenants happy is the first step towards a successful investment.

2: Keep the Building Safe

Keep communication channels with your tenants open. If tenants always know that they can get a hold of you when something goes wrong, they will be more confident doing business with you.

3: Keep It Clean

Nothing will ruin someone’s opinion of a property faster than filth and clutter. Your property is likely the face of your tenants’ businesses. If it’s messy and poorly maintained, their clients will become dissatisfied, which will ultimately fall back on you.

4: Maintain and Upgrade Your Property

Commercial property maintenance involves more than just vacuuming floors and wiping down windows. In fact, there are hundreds of things that you must do to keep a building maintained: check the roof for leaks, ensure that all fire and emergency equipment is functional and up to code, keep the air intake clean, and much more.

5: Invest in Efficiency

Making your building more green both maintains and increases its value. The gold standard for green buildings today comes from LEED certification. LEED stands for “Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design.” Buildings that are LEED certified demonstrate more environmental consciousness and energy efficiency than normal buildings.

Don't Ignore Water Stains!

4/5/2019 (Permalink)

You look up and see the dreaded water stain on the ceiling of your home in Metro West Boston and you instinctively know this is not good.When you cannot identify the possible water source above the stain, you could have a leaky pipe. It is not uncommon for water to run along piping or rafters before dripping onto your ceiling.

A leaky pipe may haveexisted for quiet some time itbefore becomes apparent to you. And sadly, there could be a good deal of water damage to your home that you cannot see yet. It is something you want to handle right away before EVEN more damage is done. A professional remediation company such as SERVPRO Framingham can help you get everything cleaned up. Our technicians are trained and have the right equipment for the job.

In a situation like this, we find the areas of your structure that are wet and define precisely how wet they are compared to regular moisture levels. We use various devices to help us track moisture within your home. Our goal for drying is to return materials affected to their normal moisture content levels. These tools are used to find the actual moisture content of different materials and help us figure out if your structure is dry.

SERVPRO of Framingham technicians also use thermo-hygrometers which measure both relative humidity and temperature. Some even do more, like measure dew point. We allow the thermos-hygrometer to adapt to air conditions in the room before we take a reading. We then use these readings in conjunction with a psychrometric calculator or chart. We do so to determine the specific humidity.

Readings for four areas are compared including the unaffected areas, the areas affected by moisture, outside the home, and the exhaust being processed through the dehumidifier into the area affected to make sure dehumidification is contributing to a drying process that is effective.

SERVPRO of Framingham Stops the Flood Damage In Its Tracks

4/5/2019 (Permalink)

When a severe thunderstorm strikes the Metro West area, conditions can cause extensive property damage.High-speed winds can break exterior walls or blow tree branches into your windows leaving a gap for rainwater to come into your structure.

If there is a significant amount of water present in the home, moisture gets pulled out of materials using a specialized extraction system. After water removal, the next step in mitigating flood damage is the rapid drying process. Drying out structural components promptly can happen with the use of drying equipment.

Air movers and dehumidifiers get placed by our SERVPRO of Framingham technicians in the affected area to create an environment that speeds up the natural evaporation process. The number of air movers and dehumidifiers used depends on the size of the affected region and how much water got into the home from the thunderstorm. The amount of dehumidification needed is calculated by how many porous materials inside the house got wet.

Once the amount of dehumidification is figured out the number of dehumidifiers needed to start drying get set up. Each day our SERVPRO of Framingham technicians return to the site and check moisture levels and humidity inside the affected area. If the region is not drying quickly, then more equipment can be set up to improve drying. If drying has been successful and the levels have dropped, then dehumidifiers get taken out.

In some situations, our SERVPRO of Framingham technicians set up a drying chamber around the affected area to help speed up drying. A drying chamber consists of thick plastic sheeting that is set up with poles around the affected region. This "tent" targets the damp areas needing additional drying. The smaller the chamber is, the less cubic feet of air the dehumidifier has to turn over.

Specific methods and techniques can help reduce drying time so that microbial growth should not occur. Monitoring the work site every day helps us make a change to ensure rapid drying. For professional help with drying out moisture after a storm floods your neighborhood, call SERVPRO of Framingham today!