5 Items Every Building manager must do before Winter

The ability to predict and know the weather is big business for many companies.  Despite the particularly harsh winter Illinois experienced last year, sources vary on their prediction for the 2014-2015 winter.  Regardless of an organization being able to forecast January temperatures within 5 degrees of actual – there is one thing we can be certain of.  Chicagoland will have snow, freezing temperatures and a wind chill.

Extremes in temperature have always wreaked havoc on buildings.  For property managers, October is a good month to prepare for the cold and snow of winter.  There are a number of items a property manager should be on the lookout for as the weather starts to drop.  Here are 5 items to check and add to your risk management list:

  1. Roof Inspection – The wet, heavy snow of the Midwest can often accumulate and place undue weight on trusses and beams of a roof.  Roofs that have not been inspected or have weak joists could cave in with the additional pressure.  It may be necessary to remove snow accumulation, as well.
  2. Protect Sprinklers – A frozen sprinkler isn’t so bad – it is the thaw that ruins things.  To help prevent freezing and thawing of sprinkler pipes, it is important to have adequate insulation around the pipes and to keep attics and basements at least 40 degrees.
  3. Temperatures Regulation – Freezing temperatures can damage more than just sprinkler pipes.  Equipment such as boilers, air conditioner, compressors and blowers can be impacted by low temps.  Other water pipes in the building may also burst.  It is recommended that all areas of a building is kept to a temperature of at least 40 degrees to prevent freezing.
  4. Heating System Maintenance – Annual inspection on heating equipment can prevent a mid-winter breakdown that causes temperatures to plummet within the building
  5. Ice Accumulation Plan– Falling ice can damage vehicles and injure people.  Icy sidewalks can cause many winter injuries.  It is important to prevent ice accumulation on all portions on, in and around a building.  Having a plan in place and a snow removal contractor secured is a vital step.

Failure to properly account for any of the above items could lead to burst pipes, caved roofs or by-passers slipping on ice.  In turn, this could lead to liability being assessed to you as the property manager for failure to provide a safe building for the owners.  It is important to prevent and stave off accidents when possible.  It is also important to carry adequate property manager’s insurance when something does happen.

Contact us to discuss ways to protect your firm from liability through proper insurance and risk management.