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Winter Prep Checklist For Commercial Facility Managers

Is your commercial building ready for winter? Plummeting temperatures, accumulating snowfall, slippery and brittle ice, and the salt and de-icing chemicals can really do a number on a building and its systems. With some preventative maintenance and proper planning and processes in place, you can avoid many of the problems that come with the cold. 

Roof Inspection

Commercial roof maintenance is often overlooked, but this system is critical to the performance of your building. Minor leaks can become a major problem in the winter during freeze-thaw cycles as water finds its way into cracks. As the water freezes and expands, it can damage surrounding building materials and make the leak worse. An annual roof inspection finds and fixes these issues to protect your building and internal assets from water intrusion, mold, and structural damage. 

A commercial roof inspection should be completed before it gets cold, and will generally include:

  • Clearing and checking downspouts, gutters, and drains
  • Inspecting all penetrations and flashing for tears and proper sealing
  • Checking vents and ensuring proper operation and sealing
  • Inspecting overall roof condition and making repairs as needed
  • Making recommendations to improve energy efficiency, such as adding reflective coatings

In addition to a commercial roof inspection, it’s a good idea to keep a polymer-modified mastic on hand to make minor repairs and seal out water during the winter.

Plumbing & Irrigation 

Freezing and expanding water is also a concern for your plumbing and irrigation systems. Pipes that crack are costly to repair and if they burst indoors, could result in flooding and water damage. If your building is an area that experiences long, hard freezes, it’s critical to make sure all of your plumbing pipes are well insulated. External and exposed pipes need extra insulation and should be checked regularly to make sure they don’t freeze.

Since irrigation systems aren’t used in the winter, it’s important to have them professionally winterized in the fall. Your landscape company or plumber will blow out the system so that there’s no water left to freeze in the lines. 

Snow Removal Contract

Snow and ice are a liability on your property if employees or customers slip and fall. Additionally, heavy snow accumulation and the freeze-thaw cycle are a threat to flat commercial roofs. Every year, OSHA investigates serious injuries and deaths of employees attempting to remove snow from roofs. This is why there are stringent OSHA 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 OSHA training in snow removal, it’s best to have a commercial snow removal contract

For snow and ice removal in the parking lot and on sidewalks, be sure to have plenty of supplies on hand, such as salt, de-icers, snow shovels, and commercial indoor/outdoor mats to catch snow as people enter the building. For large parking lots, a commercial plowing contract can keep the lot clear and safe for employees. 

HVAC Preventative Maintenance

Like your roof, early HVAC preventative maintenance makes sure this critical building system is ready to perform for the winter. Preventative maintenance cleans the system, seals leaks, and inspects and adjusts system components to ensure proper operation and improve energy efficiency. Finding and fixing minor issues in the fall makes it less likely you’ll be faced with expensive repair or replacement in the middle of the winter – to say nothing of lost business if you’re forced to shut down during repairs! 

General Property Maintenance

As a facility manager, it’s easy to get wrapped up in your building’s inner systems, but it’s important not to neglect the outside of the building in the winter. Regularly check the parking lot and sidewalks for cracks and potholes, inspect siding, and repair or caulk any damage or gaps around the windows or doors to seal out cold air. 

Also keep an eye on landscaping and alert your landscaper to threats like clogged drains or overhanging limbs, which can be more dangerous under heavy snow and ice in the winter. 

Let Trillium Facility Solutions Get Your Building Ready For Winter

This may be a simple checklist, but it takes a lot of work to prepare your commercial building for winter. If you’re ready to take the hassle out of facility maintenance, see what Trillium Facility Solutions can do for you. Using our network of vetted, reliable, and affordable vendors, we schedule every service on your behalf. We handle all of the communication, scheduling, negotiating, and billing so that you have more time for what matters most. All of our amazing team members are here to serve! Contact us for more information at 844-372-2699.


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