After being lucky enough to enjoy weeks of glorious sunshine, the bad news is that the colder months and miserable British weather are most definitely on their way. While it may seem way too early to begin preparing for winter, this should most definitely be in your schedule, particularly if you are responsible for a commercial property. During the autumn and winter, the number of risks around your site is significantly heightened, which means that without putting precautionary measures in place, you are putting yourself in a potentially dangerous position. With this in mind, having worked with hundreds of clients, we have picked up several winter preparation tips for site managers, allowing you to put measures in place ahead of time.
5 Essential Winter Preparation Tips
Although this year has been dramatically different from anything we could have anticipated, it most definitely doesn’t mean that operations have been put on hold. It is for this reason that, regardless of whether you have your staff back on site or they are continuing to work from home, you should make a conscious effort to prepare your property for winter. Along with the colder months come adverse weather conditions and temperature fluctuations, which can have an immense impact on the state of your site. Not only this, but the wintery conditions can also create several health risks for occupants and visitors. Together, these could result in costly repair fees, business downtime and the potential for injuries. So, if just like us, you are putting in place your preparations ahead of time, then we suggest following these steps:
- Repair Any Damaged Cladding
- Schedule A Roof Maintenance Visit
- Treat Cut Edge Corrosion
- Clean Guttering Systems
- Recoat Deteriorating Window Frames
First and foremost, if you have noticed any damage to areas of cladding on your property, then now is the time to schedule repairs. Failing to rectify any problems before the colder months means that you are likely to find that these issues grow, often beyond repair meaning that you may have no choice but to replace panels. Along with being an expensive investment, cladding replacement is likely also to mean that you will need to close your building for the duration of the project, causing downtime to business operations. This is a disruption that can easily be prevented through remaining proactive with repairs, ensuring that they are dealt with while small and easy to manage.
There are a number of ways that your cladding may become damaged, and some are common with age, as well as exposure to adverse conditions. For instance, cracking can occur in almost all cladding types, yet can be by far one of the most dangerous issues if ignored. If cracks are not filled and recoated then during the winter months, rainfall will begin to seep its way into the gaps. When temperatures drop, this build-up of water will then freeze and expand, making the cracks bigger. This runs the risks of cracks growing further into other areas of your property such as the roofing, guttering and walls on the interior of the building. For more information on the types of cladding damage that you may encounter, take a look at our previous article.
When completed by skilled professionals, cladding panel repairs are relatively straightforward and can be scheduled at a time that fits best with your working day, minimising disruption. Just Spray has many years of experience in cladding repairs, working with clients to rectify all manner of damage, such as cracks, dents and paint peeling. These are then complete with on site spraying, which restores panels to their original condition, making any signs of repairs as discrete as possible. Feel free to get in touch with our team to discuss your project and book in a site survey.
One of the most important components of your commercial property is the roofing system, more so in winter than any other season of the year. Why? Because the roof is responsible for providing protection against adverse weather conditions, which means that if there is any damage, this has the potential to grow and cause detrimental damage. Leaks, in particular, prove a significant risk during the colder months and if left unresolved, will impact the safety of your property in more ways than one. Not only will leaking heighten the risk of damp and mould, which can affect the health of occupants, but it can also cause water to leak around electronics, creating potentially fatal hazards.
To prevent your roofing from causing problems during the winter, we strongly recommend scheduling a maintenance visit ahead of time. Carried out by professional operatives, roof maintenance visits are designed to assess the overall condition of your system, highlighting any areas which would benefit from repairs. This allows you to resolve any problems before they have a chance to grow, not only preserving the safety of your property but also saving you a considerable amount of money on future repairs. When booking a maintenance visit, it is imperative that you opt for working with only fully trained, accredited experts as those who are not professional may advise additional work which is not necessarily required. If you are yet to schedule a roof inspection or are worried about potential damage, then please do not hesitate to speak with the team at Just Spray. Having many years of experience in roof sheet repairs, they are always more than happy to arrange a site survey to guide you on the best route.
For those with metal cladding panels or roof sheets, the most common type of damage that you are likely to experience is cut edge corrosion. Cut edge corrosion comes as a result of just one step during the installation process, yet can cause immense damage to your commercial property if not treated in the early stages.
Before leaving the manufacturers, all metal building materials, including cladding panels and roof sheets, are protected with a plastic coating, which acts as a barrier between the material and conditions which may cause damage. However, during the installation process of cladding and roofing, in particular, the metal sheets are often cut to shape to fit with the building in question. This means that the metal edges are then fully exposed and no longer protected, leaving them susceptible to rusting. As a result, when the winter months draw in and rainfall increases, the edges will begin to erode, which if left untreated, will spread across the system. Not only does this look unsightly, but it also means that your property will deteriorate at a quicker rate, increasing the likelihood of a leak.
If you have noticed cut edge corrosion forming, then you’ll be pleased to know that this can be resolved through a treatment, eliminating the risk of any future rusting. Any problem areas will be feathered before a new layer of protection is applied. For a full guide to cut edge corrosion and tips on how to prevent the problem, head over to our previous article.
A component that is often left unconsidered on a commercial property, yet can have a massive impact on its condition is the guttering system. Gutters play a significant role in controlling water flow around your building, preventing leaks, especially over the months where rainfall is increased. This means that enlisting the help of your caretaker to clean guttering systems or hiring professional cleaners should always be at the top of your preparation list. Failing to do this in time for the colder months can risk the following problems:
- Blockages – Inevitably, leaves, debris and dirt will build up in your guttering system, especially during autumn; however, it is vital to ensure that these are cleared, especially in the lead up to winter. If these are left to accumulate, then when rain falls and temperatures drop significantly overnight, this heap of debris will freeze. Not only will this increase the likelihood of a leak, but it also means that your gutters may crack with the added tension.
- Roof Damage – As guttering systems are integrated into your roofing, neglecting one will have a knock-on effect on the other. When gutters are blocked, the rain will have nowhere else to go but to overflow onto the roof, meaning that the materials will rot at a far quicker rate.
- Foundation Cracks – If you own a smaller commercial property, then failing to clear your guttering may lead to cracks in the foundation of the building. This is because, much like the point above, the water will overflow, but in this instance, it will create a pool around the foundations which will freeze and expand.
- Pests – A guttering system filled with built-up leaves and branches makes for the perfect nesting environment for pests. Whether it may be insects or rodents, there are a number of unwanted visitors you may find burring their way into your building after making gutters their home. If you’re unsure of what other pests may cause a problem to your commercial property, take a look Rentokil for a helpful article.
Whether you own an office building or store, the windows can make a significant impact on the overall appearance of your property; however, are likely to go through their fair share of wear and tear. If you have spotted that the window frames, in particular, are starting to deteriorate then now is the perfect time to schedule repairs before the colder months set in.
There is an abundance of benefits that come alongside window frame spraying as not only will the aesthetics of your property be improved, but it is also a cost-effective alternative to replacement. There will be no need to remove the frames and cause disruption to daily operations as instead, the areas surrounding the windows will be masked before they are resprayed in the colour of your choice. As all modern coatings are designed with an impressive portfolio of features, you will be adding an extra layer of protection against adverse conditions, prolonging the lifespan of your windows. Moreover, when choosing to have your commercial windows resprayed by Just Spray, you will be able to take advantage of a modern colour visualisation tool. This allows you to gauge an idea on the different shades available, either colour matching to your existing frames or experimenting with different colours to rebrand your business.
Preparation Is Always Key
In spending time putting together a structured plan of action, you can ensure that your commercial property is prepared for every adverse condition that it may face during the winter. This allows you to successfully future-proof your building, preventing safety risks and saving money in the long-run. You will dramatically decrease the likelihood of extensive, costly replacement projects as you will be able to repair the damage before it has a chance to grow. If you have any questions with regards to the steps mentioned above or would like to schedule a project ahead of winter, please do not hesitate to get in touch with Just Spray.