For offices and other commercial facilities, the winter just gone was a particularly difficult one. Not only was the UK met by one of the coldest snaps in recent times (prompting the term Beast from the East #2 to do the rounds in national media outlets) but because of the third national lockdown, many of these buildings ended up being left unoccupied (or, at least, as good as) for several months. With that in mind, the team here at Munday + Cramer, a leading facilities management (FM) firm in Essex, wanted to look at some of the crucial checks and repairs you might need to make with spring (and an upcoming return to these facilities) upon us.
Clear Out Guttering
Clogged up guttering can, if left unchecked, lead to significant structural damage for a facility. Organic matter in the form of dead leaves, mud and other general detritus can easily block up a gutter, causing water to build up and overflow. This can lead to visible damage in the form of damp patches on the walls, and in more serious cases, damages to a building’s more important structural elements.
Whether structural or simply aesthetic, though, water damage isn’t something you want becoming a problem or finding yourself having to deal with. Our facilities management team would recommend cleaning your guttering (either yourself or professionally) once every couple of months – or more frequently if the weather’s been particularly poor. A visual check at this stage will also allow any failures in the guttering to be spotted and addressed (the addition of leaf guards, for instance).
Test Any Air Conditioning Units (HVAC Maintenance)
Although temperatures might not have shot up just yet (and, given that it’s Britain, who’s to say they will at all!) it’s important that you test your office’s air conditioning unit after a prolonged period of disuse. Air conditioning units tend to collate lots of dust and dirt when not in use which can cause allergies to flare up and even the entire unit to fail if not properly cleaned out. In some cases it might also be necessary to clean the air conditioning ducts themselves (and in some cases this is even legislative).
We all know now the importance of keeping rooms and buildings well ventilated in the context of reducing viral transmission. Upon returning to the office, your staff may well, in an understandable attempt to be as COVID-secure as possible, want to fire up the air conditioning unit. If they’re met with a thick cloud of dust and grime in doing so, however, they’re probably not going to be too best pleased…
Check The Status Of Smoke Alarms
Although they should be being serviced periodically, anyway, there’s no harm in testing out your facility’s smoke alarms before everyone returns. It might also be worth giving them a quick clean or hoover to get rid of any dust that’s built up – just as with the air conditioning unit.
Look For Signs Of Cracked Paving
When you take significant volumes of rain and add cold temperatures into the mix, the result is very often the formation of cracks and minor potholes. You’ll want to give your facility car park a once over before the majority of the workforce returns to make sure that no significant cracks or faults have opened up. Sorting it early and being proactive about it will ensure that employees’ days aren’t disrupted and repair work can be carried out without interruption.
Though not absolutely essential, we’d highly recommend giving your facility’s exterior a clean now that the weather is starting to improve. Having the windows professionally cleaned, the walls pressure washed and a fresh lick of paint applied might seem surplus to requirement but – especially in the context of returning employees – you want to make a good impression and create a working environment that’s pleasant to work in.
Consider Whether A ‘Deep Clean’ Is Required
In normal circumstances, we’d recommend having carpeted facilities deep cleaned as you approach spring as a response to all the muck and grime that tends to accumulate over the winter months. We’d still advise doing that this year, too, however, because even if your facility’s carpets haven’t been seeing use, then – although there’ll not have had mud or dirt trampled into them – they’ll have a thick layer of dust from not being used, which will be hard to remove entirely without the help of a professional deep clean.
Your two main options for this are either to hire professional carpet cleaning equipment yourselves, or hire in a professional cleaning team; in our experience as a facilities management firm, most go with the latter.
With the first date of spring this year being the 20th March, we’ve almost made it through an exceptionally difficult winter period. Getting spring off to a good start can be made much easier by making sure your facility is in good working order, both indoors and outdoors. So, if you’d like to find out more about our work within facilities management, then get in touch! Contact Munday + Cramer today on 01245 326 200 or by emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Alternatively, you can fill out one of our online enquiry forms on our website. We’d love to hear from you!