The clocks went back and the days got shorter, with that came a severe drop in temperature. So it’s the time to ask yourself, will your facilities survive the winter?
It isn’t just core buildings that can have issues during cold spells, what about the smaller, support buildings, the gutters or your roof?
Snow and Ice
We all know that snow should be cleared from any main entrances, but what about emergency escape routes? If there was an emergency, you’ll need to make sure that there is a clear and safe path away from the building.
Over prolonged snow periods, will the roof structure hold the weight and what about snow slippage from the roof on to the paths? You’ll need to think about this ahead of any snow fall to make sure there are no accidents.
Facility roofs can be a critical point of risk when the winter weather hits. Flat roofs require regular maintenance and it’s important to make sure any repairs are done before the temperatures fall. You could consider forming a snow and ice removal plan to prevent snow burden or ice overload from causing breakdowns in roof surface or structural integrity.
Gutters are critical in controlling drainage from rain, snow and melting ice, and to prevent flooding inside and outside of the building. Given recent weather changes, gutters should be regularly maintained to handle flood-level downpours in all seasons.
Clean gutters thoroughly, removing all debris and unclogging drains
Determine in advance where excess snow is to be stored
Fire Suppression Systems (Sprinklers)
Are these in an outbuilding and is there sufficient heat to stop them from freezing?
Are there any dry pipes, free from moisture or liquid that could freeze and render the system inoperable?
Consider keeping the heating on low ensuring a regular temperature to stop any pipes from freezing, it’s especially important during close down as there will be nobody around to check and you don’t want to return to work to a completely frozen system.
You need to consider the location of your equipment and whether it’s susceptible to freezing, as well as making sure the heating/cooling coils on the air condition plants and heat recovery coils have enough antifreeze mixture. Consider external pipework in your checks, is trace heating fitting and does it work? It’s important to ensure that any equipment susceptible to freezing is regularly checked and maintained to ensure it doesn’t fail during the winter months.
Finally, it’s a given that during winter, the electrical consumption in a building rises, whether that’s due to the heating system or additional heaters. Are you confident that your supply will cope with the additional load?
Winter typically begins now and runs through until the end of February but as we all know, cold snaps can happen at any time so it’s important to have a solid action plan in place to make sure you’re always prepared.
We’re happy to assist in reviewing what you have, and each requirement, based on your specific asset database. We’re a specialist technical asset management consultancy, providing independent technical and digital solutions across the built environment. Our ELIAS technology provides clients across the globe with wholistic and dynamic asset management and compliance solutions.
Keep up to date with industry best practice and legislative changes via our website. Alternatively, you can contact one of our technical team members who will be happy to help you further.
The above guidelines are relevant with UK legislation and intended to steer building owners, operators, occupiers and maintenance providers with greater levels of knowledge of the obligations placed upon them.