Are your commercial facilities ready for winter? Freezing temperatures, heavy snowfall, persistent ice, and road salt all take their toll on the various components that make up your facilities. However, you can minimize the risk that your business gets disrupted by Old Man Winter by taking advantage of preventative maintenance planning systems. In this blog, we review five key pre-winter checklist items and how computerized maintenance management systems (CMMS) like SimpleFM make getting the work done easy and efficient.
5 Winter Prep Checklist For Commercial Facilities:
1: Roof Inspection
Performing preventative maintenance on your commercial roof during the fall is critical to avoiding issues with your building during the winter. Minor leaks can become major problems in the winter as freeze-thaw cycles wedge ice into small cracks and cause them to widen. As leaks become more significant water can also damage surrounding building materials and compound the problems. An annual roof inspection finds and fixes these small problems before they get out of hand to protect your building and internal assets from water intrusion, mold, and structural damage.
Key elements of a commercial roof inspection typically include:
- Checking all penetrations and flashing for tears and proper sealing
- Clearing downspouts, gutters, and drains
- Ensuring proper vent operation and sealing
- Inspecting overall roof condition and making repairs as needed
2: Plumbing & Irrigation Insulation
Freezing water is also a major concern for your plumbing and irrigation systems. When water freezes, it expands and can easily crack or burst pipes. When that happens indoors, it often results in flooding and water damage which is both expensive to fix and highly disruptive to your business. In areas that experience cold winters, it’s critical to make sure all of your pipes are well-insulated. External and exposed pipes need extra insulation or possibly heat tracing and should be checked regularly for problems.
Irrigation systems typically aren’t used in the winter, so it’s important to have them professionally winterized in the fall. This involves blowing out the system so that there’s no water left to freeze in the lines. Burst irrigation lines can leave you with a huge water bill and flooding in the basement when the surrounding soil becomes saturated with water.
3: Snow Removal Contract
Accumulating snow and ice pose several risks to your property. First, there is the liability risk due to employee or customer slips, trips, and falls. Second, heavy snow accumulation and the freeze-thaw cycle can overburden flat commercial roofs. A corollary to this is the hazards involved with clearing snow off of roofs. Every year, serious injuries and deaths occur as employees attempt to remove snow from roofs. Because of this, OSHA has established strict standards around snow removal, fall protection, and the use of equipment such as ladders, aerial lifts, and snow rakes.
If your internal maintenance crew has not undergone in-depth training on working at height and removing snow from roofs, it’s best to have a commercial snow removal contract in place.
Even an exemplary snow and ice removal program can’t completely eliminate risk (like when it snows all day long). Therefore, it’s a good idea to have plenty of supplies on hand, such as salt or other de-icers, snow shovels, and commercial indoor/outdoor mats to limit tracking of snow and ice as people enter the building. A commercial plowing contract can help keep parking lots clear and safe for employees.
4: HVAC Preventative Maintenance
As we mentioned in our previous blog, winter is the busiest time for HVAC technicians because these systems tend to fail when they are used most heavily. Performing HVAC preventative maintenance in the fall helps make sure this critical building system is ready to perform for the winter. Annual HVAC preventative maintenance typically includes cleaning the system, sealing leaks, and inspecting and adjusting system components to ensure proper operation and improve energy efficiency. Finding and fixing minor issues in the fall significantly lowers the chances of needing expensive repair or replacement in the middle of the winter not to mention the costs of having to shut down your business during repairs!
5: General Property Maintenance
While your building’s internal systems typically receive the lion’s share of attention, it’s just as important to ensure the outside of the building is ready for winter. Good practices include regularly checking the parking lot and sidewalks for cracks and potholes, inspecting siding, and repairing or caulking windows and doors to seal out cold air. Also, keep an eye out for hazards such as clogged drains and overhanging limbs – both of which become more dangerous when covered with snow or ice.
Let SimpleFM do the heavy lifting for you
This may be a straightforward checklist, but it takes a lot of behind-the-scenes work to prepare your commercial building for winter. Some of the biggest challenges include having to manage work orders, find vetted contractors, ensure competitive pricing, and prioritize between tasks on a limited budget. Thankfully, SimpleFM was designed specifically to make all of this much easier.
SimpleFM’s software and experienced team help organizations manage, monitor, and control maintenance including: equipment, resources, and regulatory compliance. Let us handle your facility and work order management needs and help your organization save time and money. Want to see how easy facilities can be? Sign up for a Demo or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.