Munday and Cramer

Winter Maintenance for Buildings 

Temperatures are starting to drop below freezing, we’re clearing frost off our windscreens and many areas are getting pretty snowy. Winter might not technically start for another couple of weeks at the time of writing, but it sure feels like it has! With many buildings shutting down over the holidays, it is important to prepare winter maintenance so you don’t have any nasty surprises when you head back. January is often gloomy enough already! 

Facilities management during the Winter can be tough on time and budget. Today, we are going to discuss the different areas of your building that will need particular attention as you prepare for the falling temperatures, for the snow, rain and ice and for potentially not being around for a week or more.  

Winter Maintenance for Roofing

It might not be a very desirable job in a windy December, but that’s why it’s best to get it out of the way nice and early. Roofing can become a serious issue during the winter. For flat roofing, there is a risk of heavy rainfall or snowfall building up on the roof, which could buckle and collapse in a worst-case scenario. Most modern roofing should be fine, but check for any damage, bowing or sagging, which could become an issue down the line. If there is significant build-up at any point during the winter, it could be worth clearing it, just to be safe. Replacing a roof can be very costly, not to mention a severe health and safety failure if it does collapse. 

Pitched roofing is unlikely to be under any risk from this kind of damage, although it does pose some other potential issues. For starters, high winds and other winter weather can dislodge roof tiles, leaving buildings less protected from the elements. Check for any tiles that have become loose or damaged that could become hazardous in bad weather. 

Winter Maintenance for Guttering

While we’re up here, let’s talk about guttering. When it rains, you should check the gutters to ensure rainwater is being caught by the gutters and flows through properly. Pay close attention to joints to make sure they aren’t leaking. You should also check that they are not full of leaves and other blockages after the Autumn, which can make the gutters ineffective. Likewise, the drainage should be cleared of any blockages. 

Should drainage be inefficient, ice could form in guttering, which builds up more and more as melted snow hits the cold eaves. Eventually this could lead to water infiltrating past tiles and leaking into roof spaces. This can lead to flooding, damaging the property and potentially causing structural issues. 

Winter Maintenance for Plumbing

One of the most common issues during the winter months is the plumbing. Pipes freezing or bursting can be a nightmare during the winter. To ensure pipes are not at risk of freezing, simply wrapping them in insulating materials can prevent them from getting too cold. Just in case you do have a problem with any pipes, make sure you have marked valves so you can quickly turn off the water supply should you have any issues. 

Another thing to look out for is dripping taps. It may not seem like a big issue at first, but a slow drip can freeze and work its way back into the pipe, completely blocking it. Fixing the drip is the ideal solution, although a temporary solution could be to actually open up the tap a bit more. If the water is moving at a trickle rather than a drip it will not be able to freeze. This is not a long-term solution of course. You wouldn’t want to waste all of that water! 

Winter Maintenance for Boilers

Boilers have a tough time in the winter. They are used for longer periods of time than in the rest of the year, heating homes and water when we need them the most. Unfortunately, this is also the time they usually decide to break. Stay on top of maintenance with boilers, or else you could end up with an unusable building and big expenses if they break down. 

To ensure your boiler is working to the best of its ability, a full service is ideal, although not entirely necessary if you know what to look out for. For starters, get to know your boiler. What we mean by this is the sounds it makes when it is working properly. If you suddenly start hearing noises like popping or whistling, it could mean the boiler needs to be cleaned out or potentially leaking. 

You should also ensure all radiators are working as they should be, bleeding them or cleaning them out if need be. Efficiently heating your building is a great way of bringing down energy bills, as well as being better for the environment, so maintenance for your heating system is very important as we head into the winter. 

Winter Maintenance for the Rest

There are a few more things that will need minor inspections, just to keep your building as safe and efficient as possible over the winter. For starters, exterior lighting could be important during the longer nights or heavy precipitation. Double-check all lights are working and appropriately secured. 

You should also check the building itself, be it brick or anything else. Any damage should be fixed before the winter as the changing temperatures and weather can cause damage to steadily worsen over time. This should include checking surfaces, but especially around windows and doors. Keeping heat in during the winter is important, both for comfort of occupants and for energy efficiency. 

Finally, it is good to have a plan for roads and paths should snow and ice be imminent. You will need to ensure access is not restricted due to poor road or footpath conditions. This should include salt/grit and shovelling at a minimum, but could also include vehicular ploughs for heavier snowfall. 

Contact Us

For more information on how the team here at Munday + Cramer can help with facilities management throughout the winter, or if you would like to find out more about our building surveying services, operating in Essex, London, Kent, Norfolk and Suffolk, then get in touch! Contact Munday + Cramer today on 01245 326 200.