Autumn is traditionally one of the wettest seasons which can lead to flooding and water escape claims, and the frosty weather in winter can cause hazardous conditions from slippery paths to frozen pipes, and while cold-weather problems are inconvenient they can also often lead to costly repairs and in some cases lost revenue for businesses.
Property owners should take the following steps in advance of the weather changing:
- Regular maintenance is key to ensuring properties don’t fall apart, face seasonal disasters, or have to halt business operations. Check for any minor repairs which may need to be carried out before the cold weather strikes. Preventative repairs in advance of potentially bad weather will save you money in the long-term.
- Check the roof. Look out for missing or slipped tiles on the roof while also checking the inside of the roof while it is raining - making sure it is fully waterproofed and there are no leaks.
- If you hold stock, move it away from the ground. Flooding is becoming more and more common and to avoid damage stock should be moved around 40 cm above the ground if possible.
- Check your windows. Make sure your windows are draught proof and if not fit draught excluders to seal any gaps around windows and doors. You may also want to consider replacing old windows with double or triple glazed windows – you are likely to keep in 25% more heat, ultimately potentially saving on energy bills1.
- Continuity planning. Bad weather can cut off heat, power and communication to premises and businesses — so make sure you have a continuity plan in place to combat the winter weather and keep operating.
- Bring in supplies. Ahead of the first cold front make sure that you have a supply of grit salt for any hazardous paths that may make liable for slips and trips – on average they cause 40 per cent of all reported major injuries2. Also consider where you can get sand bags so in the event the premises flood you can minimise damage.
- Look at your paving. Are there any areas where water ‘pools’? If so, get this sorted. In the cold weather the water will freeze, making it dangerous.
- Inspect the outside walls of your property – are there any cracks or loose pointing? Get them repaired before the frost invades your walls.
- Whether your property is open throughout winter or closing for a period of time, ensure that external lighting is fitted and works effectively. This will serve as a deterrent and keep your property safer.
- Check you and your employees know where the water and gas stop cocks are, plus the electrical system isolation switches are.
- Ensure your insurance is up-to-date. With the cost of materials and labour rapidly rising make sure that your insurance policy is up to date and can adequately cover any costs should the worst happen and you find yourself having to do disaster renovation work caused by the cold weather.