Saturday, January 18, 2014


Winter Warm-Up:

Minimize Winter Maintenance and Risk Management Issues

The dead of winter is upon us, along with the potential for severe winter storms, heavy snowfall, and extreme cold. Snow, ice, and freezing rain bring a host of safety hazards and other concerns. Plunging temperatures may cause frozen or burst pipes, often with extensive and costly repairs. The management company response to winter events can make or break your reputation and resident and tenant satisfaction. Here are some steps that you, as a real estate manager, can take to keep things running smoothly throughout the harsh winter months:

General Planning

  • Ensure that the emergency and disaster plan covers preventive measures and procedures to follow during winter events and storms (e.g., equipment and supplies required, facility shut down or early release procedures, winterization instructions, etc.)
  • Hire reputable contractors with experience, equipment, and personnel to respond to the varied winter conditions in your area
  • Check and service water heaters and HVAC systems regularly as they are working overtime in the cold winter months

Snow and Ice

  • Identify and address pavement deficiencies that may become covered by snow and difficult for pedestrians to see
  • Identify and address roof and site drainage issues that may cause water to drain onto walkways and freeze, causing icy conditions. Direct runoff away from the building structure.
  • Inspect the amount of snow on rooftops, and remove if necessary. Flat roofs are especially vulnerable to freezing, thawing, and refreezing, which can plug roof drains and add weight.
  • Ensure areas around vents and exhaust pipes are clear
  • Choose snow storage locations so they do not block views or cause drainage concerns.
  • When snow melts, ensure it does not drain onto walkway areas where it can freeze later.
  • Inspect canopies and awnings for snow and ice drainage and the potential for falling debris
  • Instruct maintenance staff to clear sidewalks of snow and ice, and use salt, chemical pellets, and sand as appropriate. Display caution signs for slippery conditions.