Courtesy of Beverly Companies
Plan strategically if you’re hiring a snow removal service. Communicate expectations clearly with a defined scope of work.

A Comprehensive Guide to Ready Your Commercial Property for the Winter Season

Nov. 27, 2023
Winters demand careful preparation for commercial property owners. Follow these three steps to ensure a successful snow season.

New Hampshire gets an average of 174.35 inches of snowfall per year. While not all states will fight such a harsh snow battle, winters always demand careful preparation for commercial property owners. As the colder months approach, consider these three stages to ensure a successful snow season and fortify your property against winter's harshness.

Stage 1: Thorough Property Inspection

Before the first flakes descend, conduct a comprehensive assessment of your property's crucial elements.

1. Pavement and Concrete. Examine the pavement and concrete for signs of deterioration and low spots. Addressing these issues prevents puddles that could freeze, posing a risk between snow events. High-traffic zones like entrances and loading docks merit special attention, as do vulnerable curbs.

2. Sewers. While inspecting pavements, ensure the sewers facilitate proper drainage across your property. Seamless transitions from pavement to sewer caps are crucial, reducing contact with plowing equipment.

3. Roof and Gutters. The weight of snow and ice can strain roofs. Regular inspections are key to avoiding leaks or collapses. Check for holes, missing shingles, proper water flow and debris. Ensure flashings and seals are secure.

4. Windows, Doors and Insulation. Address drafts before winter, preventing energy waste. Inspect and insulate pipes adequately, employing heating tape if needed. Proactive measures can prevent costly issues, such as frozen pipe damage, witnessed by State Farm's $181 million in claims in 2022.

Stage 2: Strategic Planning

Once everything has been inspected and addressed, it’s time to start the planning process.

1. Snow Removal Company. If hiring a snow removal service, communicate expectations clearly. Define the scope of work, snow piling locations away from the building and ADA-compliant parking spaces with proper drainage. Procure contracts by September, as bidding occurs between June and September.

2. Winter Weather Plan Communication. Review the winter plan with stakeholders—tenants, employees, and vendors. Effective communication ensures readiness in emergencies.

3. HVAC and Generator Maintenance. Engage professionals for preventive HVAC and generator maintenance. Preparedness facilitates negotiation for favorable emergency rates.

4. Landscaping Protection. Winter takes a toll on landscaping. Install snow stakes along key areas, and protect sensitive plants with snow/silt fences from deicers.

Stage 3: Winter Vigilance and Protection

As winter sets in, execute your well-laid plans.

1. Drainage Systems and Deicers. Turn off drain irrigation systems and outdoor hoses. Position deicer containers at entrances for easy salt application. Display caution signs when necessary.

2. Preventing Frozen Pipes. Maintain internal temperatures at a minimum of 55 degrees F. to prevent pipe freezing. Prevention proves far cheaper than handling damages, averting an average $10,800 claim.

Actively participating in the inspection, planning and protection stages will not only save you a lot of money, but it can also aid in protecting you from liability risks. If someone falls or is in a car accident on your property, you can be held responsible if you haven’t done your due diligence.

Keep your property running smoothly all winter long by being proactive throughout the year. Following these three stages is the best way to prepare your commercial property for winter.

About the Author

Tom Marsan

Tom Marsan is a certified snow professional who has been in the landscaping and snow removal industry for about two decades. He is an active member of ILCA and SIMA and is currently the General Manager at Beverly Companies in Chicagoland.

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