Preparations for Winter = An Ounce of Prevention
Below are a few tips and reminders for you and your clients to help make sure that the necessary winterizing steps are taken with any assets, increasing the lifespan of the grounds and amenities. If your client has community assets, this will also help reduce any potential future costs for all community members for the repair or even replacement of any equipment such as pools, tennis courts, and lawn care tools from wear and tear caused by the rough winter conditions.
Some of the things Property Managers (along with maintenance staff) and Community Associations should be sure to check before the winter season hits include:
A thorough walk-through of all grounds, making sure to check all building components—roofs, windows, gutters, trim, decks, garages, elevators, siding, HVAC units, etc.
Check all landscaping and equipment, such as controllers, timers, sprinkler systems, sidewalks, fencing, outdoor lighting; include recreational equipment like pools, playgrounds, tennis courts, and exercise rooms.
Sprinklers should be turned off. Ensure any exposed water pipes are wrapped with plumbing tape; shut down and drain the water from any spigots.
Add weather-stripping around windows or repair any poorly-closing doors to reduce wind gusts and to maximize heating efficiency.
Review the maintenance plan for keeping all parking lots, sidewalks and stairs free from ice and snow. Make sure that a snow removal log is prepared and that staff is instructed on how to maintain it. Logs are an important defense against slips and falls.
Ensure all tenants are notified and fully informed in keeping their heat on and not to let the unit drop below 40 degrees (if they are going to be away from their unit).
Follow a proper maintenance schedule for the property’s heating and cooling system; change air filters and clean cooling system coils regularly to help save money on heating bills.
Gutters are a collection point for leaves; inspect and clean regularly to reduce the chance of ice damming and water damage.
Clean all landscaping equipment, removing dirt and moisture to reduce rust and wear, extending the life expectancy of the equipment.
Prepare snow removal equipment.
This is a great time to replace hoses on washing machines, a frequent cause of water damage.
This extensive preparation list is also the perfect opportunity to remind tenants and residents to change the batteries on their smoke alarms, and to remind and reinforce the safety precautions needing to be taken when using space heaters.
Don’t forget to keep a list of your vendors ready and handy in case damage does occur.
Remember: The first storm of the season might take you by surprise, but doesn’t have to be a time of springing into frazzled action. If you’ve proactively pre-prepared, then you and your clients, owners and associations can calmly handle any surprise storms.
How many times since February and March have any of us had to understand and apply this to our lives? We know in our minds that we can’t change what mandates the powers-that-be are demanding of us; and though none of “like” it (Let’s face it, masks aren’t comfortable no matter how pretty-pictured or interestingly-designed they are, and hugs are awesome!)
When it comes to determining how insurance companies arrive at rating different type of commercial property, it’s important to determine and understand the various scenarios for rating damage by fire.