Preparation is the key to ensuring your organization keeps performing at its best when cold weather hits. While snow flurries and a frosty holiday season can be fun, they are also causing concern for facility management teams. Wet weather can lead to leaks, structural damage, and much more. With the right planning, though, your facility can weather the winter months with ease.
There are several action steps you can take to make sure your team has a winter maintenance plan that will be effective and efficient.
Inspect everything before winter
The top priority for your management team leading up to winter should be facility inspections. This step is vital to ensure you catch any spots in need of maintenance before they become a problem. Allow yourself plenty of time for inspections and keep a checklist handy to make sure nothing is left out.
Roof inspections are especially important for buildings with flat roofs. Check the entire surface of the roof for cracks, leaks, and dips where water buildup could occur. Repairing any damage will be much easier in the summer and fall months than in the winter. Make sure to clear the roof of any debris, as well, and give the gutters a thorough cleaning. This maintenance will ensure your building isn’t leaking heat and energy during the cold weather.
Inspecting pipes and ventilation systems are important, as well. Check all of your facility’s piping for cracks and leaks. Ensure your pipe insulation is in good condition to prevent freezing. Your ventilation systems should also be in good repair and running well. This is crucial to ensuring moisture buildup does not occur, which could result in damage and poor air quality if left unchecked.
Remember to do a thorough inspection of all of your facility’s fire safety equipment. Make sure that whatever safety measures you have in place are functioning well and not in danger of freezing.
Create a snow removal plan early
Having a plan in place before the snow hits is key for success. When you are prepared for harsh weather ahead of time, your team will be able to handle any snow, sleet, or ice safely and efficiently. There are a few things to consider when assembling a snow management plan.
The foremost concern will be how to effectively remove snow from the roads and walkways around your facility. The measures you take will depend on the size of your campus. A few maintenance employees with snow blowers may be able to get the job done for smaller sites. On the other hand, heavy-duty equipment is necessary for clearing large spaces effectively. If you decide that renting equipment or hiring a contractor is the best option for your facility, make sure to schedule those services well in advance.
Your snow management plan should also include entryway mats to keep the interiors of your facility clean and dry. Ensure your maintenance staff has plenty of salt and well-functioning snow removal tools.
Additionally, map out where excess snow will be stored. Snow dumping can harm plants and landscaping, so make sure to set aside spaces that are as out-of-the-way as possible.
Research basic meteorology
A designated weather watcher may be a valuable addition to your team during the winter months. Learning about the basics of meteorology will help you anticipate cold fronts and winter storms and prepare accordingly. If you spot anything concerning on the radar, a little knowledge of how the weather works will allow you to make informed decisions for your staff and facility.
Prepare landscaping and walkways
While most plants are dormant during the winter months, they can still suffer damage if not fortified properly. Salt and other melting solutions are a common cause of root damage that can leave your plants weak when spring returns. Make sure to pile excess snow away from vulnerable plants and shrubs if possible, and promptly clear landscaping areas of melting materials.
Before winter hits, water your plants well so they are hydrated when it gets cold. Using wood chips as mulch is a great idea as well, and acts as a shield against the elements. Depending on the kind of plants you have around your facility, wire mesh, fertilizer, and other extra preparation may be necessary, as well.
In addition to keeping your parking lot and roadways clear, remember to make a plan for sidewalks and other smaller spaces that get foot traffic. This includes everything from stairs to mailbox spaces, and anywhere else people may have to walk to get around your facility.
Face winter with confidence
By creating a thorough winter preparation plan with your management team, you will ensure your facility thrives in winter. When your whole team is trained on what to do in the event of flurries and blizzards alike, everyone will be able to work with confidence and clarity.
About the Author:
Emily Newton is the Editor-in-Chief of Revolutionized, an online magazine showing how technology is innovating different industries.