It’s been a mild winter so far. But the cold will most likely show up soon, and when it does it can freeze your business, both literally and figuratively. Failing to protect and maintain your commercial property when it snows and throughout winter can lead to disastrous consequences—especially when it comes to safety (and therefore legal) issues and productivity loss.
Maintaining your commercial property during winter’s snow and cold isn’t difficult, but it does require proper planning and strategy. Below are some of our tips for keeping your property up and running during the coldest months.
- Ensure that your roof has the right weight capacity. Since snow is extremely heavy, it can literally cause a roof to collapse. So ensure your roof is rated for that extra weight—and that it is in good enough condition to stand up to that rating.
- Clear your gutters. Ideally, you should clean your gutters before the first snowfall, but you’ll also want to ensure they are clear of debris periodically throughout winter, so as to avoid ice damming and other issues.
- Prevent ice dams. Ice dams are extremely problematic, and aren’t just caused by bad gutter maintenance. Ice dams need to be prevented by looking for heat sources that are letting out warm air near the edge of the roof. By finding and diverting the hot air, you can prevent snow from melting and freezing at the roof edges—which then traps in moisture that can ruin your roof and your overall commercial property. While you’re caring for your gutters and ice dams, you’ll also want to check your fasteners and downspouts to ensure they don’t fall off due to the weight of a heavy snow fall.
- Protect your pipes. Bursting pipes due to freezing is a huge concern for winter, as it is extremely expensive to fix and can cause tens of thousands of dollars of damage quickly. To keep the water in your pipes from freezing and bursting the pipe, you’ll need to maintain your water flow and temperature.
- Create a snow-removal strategy. Ideally you should have your snow-removal contract (from a reputable company) in place well before the first snowfall.
- Have a plan for alternative power supplies. Not only is there a chance that you’ll need them, but the continuity it provides can help prevent expensive downtime. This will require portable and/or permanent generators.
- Plan for continuity. In addition to having a back-up power supply, you’ll also want to have a plan to inform employees and tenants of building/property closures, provide at-home access to resources, and plan for the reopening of facilities.
Following the above plan can save you tens of thousands of dollars in the event of a snow-related incident.