Tag Archives: winter preparation

Winter Tip 5 – Winter Risk Management

With a beard that could command a thousand ships, Chris T held open a clear plastic bag and waited patiently as I gingerly inserted my hand and ruffled 34 pieces of neatly folded paper. I wasn’t in the best of moods – it was the morning and I was expecting a hat. As I swished my hand around the bag I asked Chris why there were 34 names when there were only 33 people who’d agreed to play this round of Secret Santa. He didn’t know.

I thought about it for a second as I bought myself some time. The swishing of paper was kind of therapeutic, and the longer I waited before choosing my victim, the more of a chance I’d have of claiming that I’d not had enough time to find a decent present for under £5 if what I got was rubbish. Chris began to get restless. “Just choose one already. You don’t need to mix them up – they’re already random,” he urged, “and you don’t have to close your eyes. The paper is sealed. There’s no way you could know even if you could see”.
“Will I get to swap if I don’t thi-“
“No, just pick a name.” Chris was having none of it.

I swished a little faster and eventually settled on the bit of paper I’d had in my hand since I began mixing. I pulled it out of the bag and the queue behind me sighed with quiet relief as I walked away, unwrapping the paper. Last year’s Secret Santa saw me buying my chosen colleague a condiment gun designed to dispense two condiments onto a hotdog. I was ecstatic about this find and couldn’t wait to see what I had to unwrap. As the long-awaited opening day arrived, I was greeted by a poorly wrapped little box with a tiny tag bearing my name. How endearing, I thought. Smiling I tore open the Tesco brand white plastic paper and revealed the contents. A small, glass Christmas bauble. A little button on the bottom made it flash and some of the glitter it was shipped with was still visible on the glue that was meant to hold it. I was devastated. As it transpired, my ‘Santa’ who shall remain unnamed (TOM) had forgotten about the deal until that day and had panicked. Since that day, the prospect of Secret Santa has never been the same.

That day doesn’t seem so long ago, but as we reach the end of November it’s clear that winter is here and that the short, dreary days will soon have engulfed our days of Christmas shopping. In an unashamedly blatant link to the last in our tips for preparing your commercial property for winter, shopping centre managers have almost run out of time to finish their preparations for the snowy season ahead. So here, along with a recap of our previous four tips, is our final snippet of advice for how to prepare your property for the cold weather ahead:

1.      External clocks for Lighting

Ensure that your site’s external lighting is up to date, all the bulbs are working and the time-clocks are adjusted to allow for the change in light as the winter draws in. The last thing you need after all your timely preparations is a tenant injured in an easily prevented trip or fall.

2.      Ensure you hold a suitable gritting contract for your building

The amount of calls we get from tenants complaining that it’s snowed surpasses any weather based reactive maintenance calls we receive. A reactive call out for snow shovelling and a bag of grit will cost between £150 and £300 depending on the size of your property, but on a first-call-first-shovelled basis you could be waiting an age for a contractor to become free. With that in mind, you need to make sure your gritting contract covers the right factors. Auto gritting is a must; upon the threat of snow your contract includes pre-emptive visits to throw salt over your site to prevent snow and ice. Auto snow clearance is also very important if your site’s of any substantial size, and with the right options selected you can even be notified when there’s snow abound.

3.      Seasonal gutter clearance

When it rains, it pours. And when it pours out of your gutters because they’re blocked by a year’s worth of debris, your tenants get wet. Tenants hate getting wet.

A simple gutter inspection can alleviate unnecessary emergency call-outs to clear blocked or broken gutters and could even go as far as to rectify any problems that could potentially cause thousands of pounds’ worth of leak damage to your building. By getting them cleared the water will drain properly, and the contractors will check for damaged systems and even backflow while they’re up there. A must-have in your winter preparation arsenal.

4.      Roof Inspections

In the same way that a gutter inspection could help repair any small problems which lead to big issues, a roof inspection could highlight holes, loose tiles or blistered asphalt that’ll save you a significant amount of money compared to what you’d be spending cleaning up the mess they’ve caused.

5.      Pre-Order Sandbags

Getting into the sand market early will ensure that you’re not fighting for every grain when the floods come bowling in. At about £4 per bag at this time of year, look into how many you think you’d need to block up any sources of ingress. Buying them now will ensure you have them when you need them rather than at the back of the queue paying premium prices, knee deep in your new moat. You can also look at other means of flood prevention which could prove more cost effective like purpose made barriers. An air brick seal can cost £10 and save you thousands.

Jake Jones – Propertyserve Helpdesk

Winter Tip 4 – Winter Risk Management

I’m not a bath kind of guy, but yesterday I sneezed three times in a row and decided I must have a cold. Sitting bored in a lukewarm bucket of water doesn’t appeal to me over a quick, hot shower but my girlfriend had left a little box of exploding bath bombs in my bathroom and I didn’t feel like standing up much, so this alignment of three significant factors led me to opt for the lukewarm bucket. I sat there for a while, arms folded and frowning at the prospect of having to write a letter of complaint to Lush explaining that not only would their ‘Exploding Bath Bomb’ be more aptly named a ‘Dud Fizz Ball’, but that I was now covered heat to toe in glitter and would have to take a shower anyway. Pulling the plug with my needlessly wrinkled toe, I watched the water spin anti-clockwise for a bit before I grumpily swished my feet about and watched it change direction. As the water drained and revealed how much glitter a pair of Speedos can gather, I realised that the water I was swishing hadn’t naturally gravitated around a single direction every time as the Simpsons would have had be believe.

I got out of the bath and, removing my goggles, sat at my computer. I didn’t have to search long to find that the belief that water only swirls clockwise in one hemisphere and the anti-clockwise in the other is nothing but a common misconception. Inaccurate, too, is the belief that a MacBook Pro is immune to viruses, malware and glitter. There ain’t no party like an S Club Party? Double negative. There are loads of parties like S Club parties. Realistically, if there’s no party like the party you’re having, what you’re having probably isn’t a party.

Just like lying in a cramped plastic container of water and fairy liquid, Vitamin C affects our chances of catching a cold in no way whatsoever, and cracking your knuckles while your girlfriend shouts at your for getting the carpet wet and sparkly has no bearing on the likelihood that you’ll develop arthritis. These popular misconceptions are easy to believe and unless we’re careful they can actually reach a point where it becomes dangerous. Some people, for example, refuse to vaccinate their children against serious diseases under the ill-founded belief that it can be linked to autism, while in the past others have been killed under the mere assumption that they were practising witchcraft. As the winter draws near, it’s easy to believe that your commercial property will last the testing times of the cold, dark months that lie ahead under the common misconception that severely bad weather only really occurs every other year. Time is running out to prepare for the cold, and so here is the fourth instalment in our series of blogs devoted to the preparation of your commercial property for the winter.

Tip 4 – Roof Inspections

In the same way that a gutter inspection could help repair any small problems which lead to big issues, a roof inspection could highlight holes, loose tiles or blistered asphalt that’ll save you a significant amount of money compared to what you’d be spending clearing up the mess they’ve caused.

Jake Jones – Propertyserve Helpdesk

Winter Tip 3 – Winter Risk Management

The end of autumn brings out a special hope in most of us. As we look longingly to the months ahead we think of cottages dusted with snow, logs cracking in an open fire and happy children skating on the frozen lake. Trish from accounts has already ordered several woolly jumpers from TK Maxx online and despite no one wanting to make the first move, at least half of the office is secretly bursting to get the secret Santa up and running. It’s been a long, sweaty summer and everyone’s looking forward to the cosy, loving months of the English winter.

Fast forward a week and there’s a tremendous banging on the front door. It’s Trish from accounts and she’s having trouble with the mag-lock. What’s left of her umbrella is inside out and whatever hair the rain hasn’t matted to her contorted, yelling face is streaming wildly in the wind. Finally she yanks open the door and bumbles her way inside. Her woolly jumper has done nothing to deflect the torrential downpour of freezing cold rain and there’s a leaf stuck to her forehead.

This isn’t the winter she was promised.

We’d all love that picturesque winter of our dreams but the reality is that we’re in for a bombardment of rain, sleet, snow and everything in between. The elements will wreak havoc on your property and without the right preparation you’ll be looking at a major repair bill to foot in the spring. Here’s the third instalment of our top five ways you can prepare your commercial property for the winter:

Tip 3 – Pre-Order Sandbags

Getting into the sand market early will ensure that you’re not fighting for every grain when the floods come bowling in. At about £4 per bag at this time of year, look into how many you think you’d need to block up any sources of ingress. Buying them now will ensure you have them when you need them rather than at the back of the queue paying premium prices, knee deep in your new moat. You can also look at other means of flood prevention which could prove more cost effective like purpose made barriers. An air brick seal can cost £10 and save you thousands.

Jake Jones, Propertyserve Helpdesk