Winter is around the corner, and given the state of climate change, experts predict the forthcoming winter to be among the most severe in recent years, if not history itself. Facilities Managers need to take steps immediately for winterizing facilities and meeting the challenge of the coming cold.
1. Winterizing Facilities Should Start With Maintenance
As explained by H. Jay Enck of Buildings.com, inspection of your facilities is the best way to prevent unexpected costs from rising in winter. Unexpected costs include those occurring from broken pipes, loss of heat and disruptions to your ability to serve customers. In other words, Facilities Managers need to start thinking about maintenance in terms of proactive maintenance, such as insulation, and on-demand maintenance, like snow removal. Inspections should include a review of insulation, mechanical and plumbing systems, semi-heated spaces and the roof.
2. Leverage Analytics to Identify and Prioritize Maintenance Needs
There will be some problems that seem invisible. That means they cannot be identified with a quick, visual inspection. Heating systems should be checked for efficiency by measuring the energy consumed and heat output. Blocked ducts and other factors can also affect heating system performance. Since a complete inspection of these factors is not possible with the naked eye, Facilities Managers should leverage modern building management systems (BMS) to gauge asset performance. In addition, Although modern building management systems (BMS) can automate many controls, it is important to remember that automation is still subject to some error. As a result, managers must recheck system settings often, and in some cases, use centralized controls to review settings frequently.
3. Develop a Field Partner Database in Emergency/Reopen after Emergency
A winter storm can bring great risks to your employees, your building integrity and your landscape. Facilities Managers need to have a plan in place for snow and ice removal, salting of walkways and winterizing facilities’ assets to prevent freezing and the development of a flood. Yes, a broken pipe can flood a facility faster than many realize, but depending on the severity of the freeze, the break may not become evident until it thaws. As a result, it is important to have a field partner database ready to address all potential needs during the winter, including cleanup of disasters, removal of snow and ice, inspection and maintenance of the roof, and maintenance of the exterior walkways.
4. Choose a Facilities Management Partner That Can Handle Winter Needs
As noted previously, one of the most important things that may be overlooked during winter is parking lots and their risk to building occupants. While multiple facilities management partners exist, they may not necessarily have the resources and field service vendors available to handle the unique needs that exist in winter. Thus, it is important to select a facilities management partner that understands the complexities of winterizing facilities and addressing issues that arise when storms arrive.
Get Ready for Winter Before It’s Too Late
Winterizing facilities is not something that can be pushed until hours before the storm. Even with proper winterizing of indoor assets, a Facility Manager may be unable to request service of snow plows and other machinery necessary to clear snowed-in parking areas and walkways. When a storm is coming, availability among such companies dwindles, so the key is to plan ahead by partnering with the right service providers well-before a winter storm causes havoc.
Find out how your organization can put winterizing tips in action by calling 1-888-328-2454 or submitting your questions to QSI Facilities online today.