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Preparing your Commercial Property for Snow and Ice: Installing Snow Melting Equipment to Increase Safety

Preparing your Commercial Property for Snow and Ice: Installing Snow Melting Equipment to Increase Safety

Preparing your Commercial Property for Snow and Ice: Installing Snow Melting Equipment to Increase SafetyPreparedness is key when getting ready for winter conditions. Whether you’re the Director of Maintenance or a Commercial Property Manager, it’s never too early to prepare – especially in the event of a freak storm that surprises everyone.

The removal of snow and ice around a commercial property is critical to operations. But just as important is an organized plan to provide safety and security for tenants, employees, and visitors. Failure to do so can have some dire consequences.

Keeping your building (or facility) “open for business” during winter weather is a primary goal for any operations team. Another priority is keeping sidewalks and walkways safe. This is where snow melting equipment plays an important role.

Executing a Preparedness Plan Well in Advance

The snow and ice are coming! That’s why fall is ideal for assessing needs, acquiring resources, and creating a preparedness plan. An early start will also pinpoint deficiencies to be remedied.

Every Property Manager understands the importance of being ready for winter, particularly the aspect of being safety compliant. Poor implementation will present potential risks (and costs).

In any commercial property, risk management implores a sound preparedness plan. Bad timing or poor planning simply costs money. Worse still, an unsafe environment poses serious hazards.

A Top Ten List for a Winter Preparedness Plan

Whether you’re managing a property internally, or contracting out services, a comprehensive Winter Preparedness Plan is essential to operations. The upfront investment is well worthwhile.

  • Create a slip and fall prevention protocol

    A slip, trip, and fall prevention protocol should represent all aspects of your unique operation. As well, the protocol should be tailored to comply with industry standards and legal requirements.

  • Ensure snow removal efforts are suitable

    Without question, snow removal must be dependable and unfailing. The service provider must understand the needs of the property, be well equipped, and provide highly experienced teams.

  • Plan for sidewalks/entries to be ice-free

    City-specific bylaws clearly dictate your legal responsibilities and your liability obligations. That means NO shortcuts when clearing snow and ice from sidewalks, walkways, and/or entryways.

  • Stockpile salt and/or ice-melt products

    Today, ice melt products are more advanced than ever – they are effective, immediate, and safe. Safe for people, pets, and plants, the higher quality products also ensure less application waste.

  • Snow blowers, tools, equipment ready

    Winter maintenance equipment should be checked, serviced, and repaired well in advance of the first winter weather event. Being prepared saves on operational costs as well as ownership costs.

  • Exterior lights for maximum illumination

    With fewer daylight hours throughout the winter, maximum outdoor illumination is critical in a commercial setting. Preventive maintenance is key to keeping customers and employees safe.

  • Roof drainage/downspouts in good order

    A viable preventive maintenance plan for roofing and drainage is about being proactive. You’ll identify potential issues early, and you’ll address snow accumulation and ice damming head on.

  • Prevent water drainage over walkways

    Beyond city bylaws and insurance liabilities, maintaining proper surface drainage also prevents structural damage to your property. Failure to properly maintain is a recipe for costly problems.

  • Design a comprehensive Emergency Plan

    By law, commercial property owners must comply with regulations for a Public Emergency Plan. Here, a proactive budget will outweigh hazardous impact, property damage, and even cost of life.

  • Create a fool proof Loss of Power Plan

    Loss of power simply means loss of business – whether you’re operating a retail property or a commercial building. The ideal Loss of Power Plan is an on-site emergency power backup system.

Maintaining Control Over Winter Snow and Ice

Property managers with a proactive approach to winter are most successful. To succeed, you must have good systems in place, a qualified team, and the latest snow melting equipment.

Good planning means your facility will be “open for business” even during inclement weather. In the most severe of conditions, you’ll be ahead of the game, and back on track sooner than others.

Protecting your tenants, visitors, and employees

With the unpredictability of snow and ice, conventional shoveling, salting, and de-icing may be enough. However, there may be times when other snow melting equipment will be required.

For tenants, visitors, and employees, snow-melting mats are effective in preventing both snow accumulation and ice build-up. They are durable enough to withstand heavy pedestrian traffic.

While traditional salting (and de-icing chemicals) take a serious toll on outdoor walkways (and indoor flooring), snow-melting mats reduce salt damage and lessen on-going maintenance costs.


How to Keep Your Business Open and Safe in Severe Winter Weather

How to Keep Your Business Open and Safe in Severe Winter Weather

When needing to keep the doors open during severe weather, the safety of employees and the public should be primary considerations. With winter weather comes hazards like wet floors and ice buildup that can contribute to slip-and-fall accidents. Maintaining the proper functioning of a business or facility during severe weather requires planning and preparation. Let's look at some specific, actionable tips for keeping your business open and safe during severe winter weather.

How to Inspect Your Facility's Roof for Winter-Storm Preparedness

How to Inspect Your Facility's Roof for Winter-Storm Preparedness

How to Inspect Your Facility's Roof for Winter-Storm PreparednessA healthy roofing system is vital to the structure of your property but weather and age will eventually take a toll on its condition. You can greatly reduce the potential danger and expenses by implementing seasonal roof inspections and preventative maintenance.

Conducting a seasonal roof inspection is a must-do for winter storm preparedness. The purpose of a pre-winter roof inspection is not only to look for existing damage, but to determine how much remaining life your roof has left. Here are some details to look for:

Inspecting a Commercial Flat Roof

First, you’ll need to identify areas on the roof with the potential for water and snow build up during a storm. Scrutinizing these zones is an essential point of preparation since the melting of heavy snow after a storm will result in pools of standing water on a flat roof.
  • Check the surface for obvious signs of wear and tear: Look at your entire roof closely for significant damage such as chips, cracks, holes, or standing water.
  • Inspect exterior structural components: Every external part of a roof, such as chimneys, pipes, air conditioning units, vents, or skylights, should be thoroughly examined. Look for structural damage as well as mold and degradation.

Inspecting a Commercial Sloped Roof

Even though sloped roofs are designed to drain off water by running it downhill, they can still present leaks that can damage your roof over time. The vast array of materials used to build sloped roofs can make inspecting them a challenge, as each type of roofing material requires a different approach to maintenance.

Depending on how sloped your roof is, you’ll want to inspect it yourself or call in a professional roofer. Furthermore, if your sloped roof is extremely steep it’s best to hire a contractor for the job.

Examining Your Facility’s Gutters

Whether you have a flat or slanted roof, winter gutter maintenance is crucial. Gutters play an important role in protecting your building from winter weather elements, but they undergo a lot of stress from snow and ice. Therefore, your facility's gutters must be thoroughly cleaned and winterized each year to allow snow to melt off your roof.
  • Check for clogged areas: Snow melt causes debris such as leaves, twigs, and rocks to build up in your gutters. When cold temperatures hit, the debris will often freeze and as a result cause more clogs.
  • Examine the gutters for leaks, cracks, or sagging: Water damage can cause cracks to form in your gutters, while ice potentially leads to sagging gutters. When your gutters clog, you increase the risk of ice dams forming in winter.
  • Inspect your downspouts: Additionally, you should thoroughly examine your downspouts to make sure they're free of any build up. You can easily test for clogs by running water into the downspout.
In summary, your seasonal roof inspection should take into consideration whether you have a flat or a sloped roof. Examining the entire structure for damage, especially exterior components, can help prevent safety issues when winter storms hit.