According to the Farmers’ Almanac it’s going to be a long, cold, stormy winter with roller coaster temperature fluctuations. It’s hard to argue with North America’s oldest weather forecaster, which has been forecasting weather since 1818.
Winter can create a number of issues for your facility. These include the ones you see, such as roof damage, and the ones you experience like slips and falls. They also include those you might not notice right away, like burst pipes and ground upheavals. The only way to get through it all until next spring, is to be properly prepared.
1. Set a Winter Maintenance Budget
There’s always a need for increased maintenance during the winter months. Don’t get caught unable to find the budget for preventative measures, which can significantly reduce the risk of expensive repairs, or the consequences if somebody slips and falls. Make sure you have accounted for the extra time you are going to need from your facility maintenance partner to do some or all of the following:
- Snow removal and preventative ice management.
- HVAC system inspection, and maintenance, i.e. make sure air filters are changed when you switch from cooling to heating.
- Gas line inspection for signs of corrosion.
- Roof inspection for signs of damage. This includes clearing out drains and pipes.
- Grounds review for potential dangers, such as damaged or dying tree limbs.
- Plumbing maintenance and repairs.
- Janitorial services to cover extra cleaning during winter months.
- Electrical repairs (winter places a much heavier burden on your power system).
- Entrance ways:
- Make sure all doors are all working properly before the bad weather hits.
- Place absorbent rugs at outside doorways.
2. Create a Winter Facilities Maintenance Plan and Stay Aware of Changing Weather and Incoming Storms.
When everything is knee deep in snow, it’s no time to wonder who to call! Make sure your facilities maintenance partner can provide a plan for you to cover all these services and line everything up ahead of that first big storm.
- Provide clear and easy-to-understand snow removal instructions for your contractor so that they understand which areas have the highest traffic areas. Work out a schedule that ensures snow is cleared quickly and efficiently.
- Give clear instructions about storing cleared snow on the property. Piles of snow that turn to ice can last into the spring. You don’t want these dirty “icebergs” blocking an entrance way or a loading dock for several months!
- Be aware of changing temperatures when water thaws and freezes within a 24-hour period. This can make walkways and parking lots particularly treacherous. Make sure both are properly maintained to prevent slips, falls, and car accidents.
- Most slips and falls happen where individuals travel on foot between their worksites and vehicles, although about 8 percent do occur indoors; in entryways, hallways and other rooms where ice and snow have been tracked in from outside.
Set up a plan to conduct inspections of entrance ways and walkways, particularly during times of fluctuating temperatures. A good time to check outdoor areas is early in the morning when thin black ice is often unable to be detected until someone falls on it!
3. Pay particular Attention to Your Roof!
It’s important that your facilities service provider inspects your roof before the winter hits, and then, frequently through the season to check for damage that could cause leaks. Heavy snow, freezing rain or a few days of continuous rain showers and wind can lead to various problems if you’re not prepared.
- Keep roof drains clear of leaves and other debris and make arrangements to have the necessary equipment or services to pump excess water off flat rooves. Blocked roof drains and overflows can cause precipitation to accumulate, then overload the roof and cause damage. This is particularly important if you have an older building. Many were not required to provide secondary overflow drainage, such as scuppers, which means that they do not provide adequate drainage when primary drains are blocked.
- Slanted rooves are designed for water run off but you still need to check for damaged shingles that could allow leaks from heavy rainfall or snow.
- If you have snow or ice guards on your roof, make sure your facility maintenance team checks them for damage. Otherwise, you risk that snow or ice could fall on the public and cause injury.
4. Do Emergency Planning
Make sure your health and safety plan is up to date. Everyone in your building needs to be aware of the plan, what they can do to keep everyone safe, and what to do if an incident does occur.
- Prepare for emergency snow removal in the event of a heavy storm.
- Ensure that your facilities maintenance services provider has provided you with a guaranteed service and response time following storms
- If you require a backup generator, make sure it’s inspected and ready to go.
Kleenway has been providing facilities maintenance services including winter property maintenance for more than 30 years. Contact our team to get a quote or call 1-888-638-5587.