Winter is in full swing! As much as we love a good winter wonderland at Aquicore, it pays to be prepared when major storms are on the horizon. If you’re a property manager, that goes double for you. After all, you’re not just responsible for your own home – you manage a major piece of real estate, too.
Any time when a commercial property isn’t fully functional, it costs tenants valuable time and money. Take a moment to run through this quick and easy checklist to avoid headaches down the road from low temperatures and hot tempers.
1. Check your snow removal supplies
Is all of your equipment in working order? Do you have enough ice-melting products? It goes without saying that it’s far easier to deal with these problems now than during a snowstorm.
Melting any ice on walkways is essential – injuries due to slips and falls can result in civil liability to the owner. However, it pays to do some cost analysis when you choose a product. Rock salt is the cheapest, but it isn’t especially effective. Factor in the labor costs of re-applying when you make your decision.
2. Have all HVAC equipment checked
Send your maintenance people down to check on all of the boilers and furnaces on the property. Nothing upsets tenants like a day without heat, and emergency calls are far more expensive than routine maintenance. During a particularly bad storm, you might not even be able to book an emergency repair right away!
3. Assess the roof condition
One of the most common causes of commercial property damage during a snowstorm is a collapsed or partially collapsed roof. Snow and ice pile up fast, resulting in significantly increased weight on the top of your building. If there are any existing problems with the roof, they could be exacerbated, resulting in an extremely expensive cave in.
4. Look for weakened tree limbs
If there are any trees on your property, make sure that none of the branches overhanging your property are weak enough to break off under the weight of a heavy winter snow. If any are, be sure to have them safely removed before the next storm. A falling branch can cause serious injury or property damage.
5. Ensure that heat stays above 45 degrees
Burst pipes are another major cause of cold weather property damage. When temperatures fall below freezing, the water in your building’s pipes will freeze and expand. Avoid this by setting the minimum nighttime temperature throughout the building to 45 degrees Fahrenheit either manually or with your building automation system.
6. Conduct a building shell inspection
If you haven’t already, conduct an inspection of your building’s shell to make sure that there are no gaps that are letting in cold air and resulting in higher energy bills for heating. An energy management system can help you monitor your heating systems to detect any usage above the norm, but there’s no substitute for a real set of eyes once a year.
7. Loop in your tenants on energy savings
Whether you use a gross lease, triple-net, or anything in between, it pays to loop your tenants in on energy saving efforts. Even tenants that aren’t paying directly for their energy use may feel a sense of environmental responsibility. Tenants that are paying have a clear financial motivation to reduce their energy consumption. Actions like closing curtains at night and opening them during the day or checking the seals around windows can have a real impact on the total energy usage of a building. Sending around a few helpful tips will be much appreciated.