Know the pitfalls and impact of cold; plan!
In the coldest months of the year, there is great potential for power outages. National Geographic said this could happen for a number of reasons, including high winds, ice, blowing tree limbs and more. Planning for disaster means setting expectations for what could happen.
By knowing a power outage is a possibility during inclement weather, you allow yourself the ability to plan for action and response. Diesel Service and Supply suggests having a backup power supply for commercial facilities, especially with outages caused by severe weather on the rise over the past decade.
FM Link suggests also having a communications plan in place. Using Hurricane Sandy as an example, the website said only 62 percent of buildings were prepared for what that storm brought and only 53 percent had plans for disruptions lasting in excess of a week. Don’t let a building fall into this trap; have a plan of action in place for any realistic disaster that could impact business. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
Ensure heating works and offer alternative means
Building managers must check their HVAC system, heating in particular, on a regular basis to ensure it is well maintained and up to date. Any malfunction can mean a building you manage (and tenants within) is too cold. On weeks like this one, this can have some atrocious impacts.
The Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety suggests finding ways of giving people within the building options for alternative heat, as well. It’s not always going to be preferable or necessary, but offering tenants a space heater could add some needed warmth to some extremely cold days. However, this likely will not be necessary if your HVAC system is firing on all cylinders.(Photo by Tim Boyle/Getty Images)
Know the limits of your roof
A roof repair can be extremely expensive. Choice Roof Contract cited a study from Benchmark, which found a roof with dimensions of 10,000 sq. ft. can cost more than $42,500, or $4.25 per sq. ft., to replace. Timing and the situation is also a factor, as other studies noted by the company have found roof replacement can cost $7 to $12 per square foot. This is a cost that will hurt to pay in the middle of winter, no doubt about it.
With this in mind, IBHS’ advice on supporting snow should be heeded. The organization said to know how much weight a roof can take and recognize what can happen when snow is fresh, packed, accumulated over time, or simply ice. When the snow or ice on a roof exceeds 20 to 25 pounds per square foot, your facility may be in danger. Take precautions to ensure the situation does not get to this dire point. (Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)
Prevent a disastrous ice dam
Ice dams can occur when refrozen water around a roof begins to backup underneath the covering of the roof. While this is likely more of a problem for homeowners, businesses and larger, flat-roofed facilities are not off the hook. IBHS suggests removing snow from the roof on a regular basis with a push broom, as a shovel or snow blower may cause damage.
It will also be important to keep all drains, downspouts and other areas where ice can collect free of garbage, debris and anything else that can restrict the flow it desperately needs. (Photo by Luke Sharrett/Getty Images)
The dreaded frozen pipe problem
A frozen pipe can create a lot of headaches. Running water stops working, the potential for a burst pipe is greater and a lot of money may have to be spent on fixing it.
IBHS said a frozen pipe is one of the biggest risks a building can face for property damage once the temperature drops below freezing. Some things that will be important to keep in mind about frozen pipes, according to the organization, include:
Monitor the building’s temperature to ensure indoor pipes stay heated.
Insulate pipes to ensure they stay warm.
Keep a watchful eye of the building’s sprinkler system.
Check light fixtures in the top floor or attic to ensure they are properly sealed.
Read more tips on avoiding frozen pipes from the IBHS website (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images).
This one may seem obvious, but safety too often goes overlooked once conditions get icy. Be sure walkways outside of your building are shoveled and salted. One slip and fall could mean disaster for a building owner or manager in the way of a lawsuit.
Buildings.com said safety conditions are one of the biggest concerns for building occupants; allow them to walk into your building in peace and in one piece (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images).