December signals the start of winter, and despite one of the warmest Novembers on record, you can be sure that during a British winter, adverse weather conditions are never too far away.
For a facilities manager, heavy rain, low temperatures, strong winds, snow and ice present a formidable set of challenges throughout the festive season. To avoid problems over winter, preparation is key. With this in mind, we have prepared our winter checklist to highlight some of the common problems bad weather can present.
As the mercury drops, heating bills inevitable rise as schools and offices have a responsibility to maintain a safe and comfortable learning and working environment for their occupants. Good insulation and educating people on the importance of closing windows and doors can help to reduce energy usage, and a quick audit of the building, checking windows and doors for drafts, leaks, and cracks, can prevent heated air escaping.
Snow and Ice
Hand in hand with the colder weather, snow and ice can cause extensive damage to a property, as well as posing a significant safety risk to people and vehicles visiting your premises. To avoid burst pipes and subsequent leaks, water pipes and sprinkler systems freezing can be insulated, whilst maintaining a reasonable ambient temperature around the building will prevent water in the pipes from freezing.
Heavy snow can present major maintenance problems when it accumulates on roofs or causes drifts. Heavy snow can block entrances and ice can form on pavements. Choose and purchase adequate de-icing materials and when weather fluctuates, it is important to keep ahead of freezing and thawing cycles to avoid dangerous slips and falls caused by black ice.
Good gutter maintenance is critical in controlling drainage from rain, snow and melting ice, and to prevent flooding inside and outside the building. It is important to:
- Clean gutters thoroughly, removing all debris and unclogging drains.
- Run tests of gutters and downspouts to be sure water does not back up.
- Check outflow of downspouts to push water away from building foundations.
Flat roofs require continual maintenance. Inspect and repair flat roof membranes and seams before cold and wet weather hits. It is also good practice to identify areas where water can accumulate and where ice or heavy snow can pile up in wintertime.
Provide floor mats for entranceways for when people enter the building with wet coats, shoes and umbrellas. Consider providing umbrella stands and ensure that your cleaning contractor is on top of water spillages which can lead to slipping hazards, or damaged carpets.
How we can help
Our cleaning and soft FM services can help you in any season. For more guidance on any of the issues discussed in this blog post, or to learn more about our cleaning services, call us on 0800 44 88 026.