British winter is well and truly underway; and whilst it’s important to stay on top of maintenance and repairs all year round, colder weather often exacerbates your building’s vulnerability.
Whether it’s a shop, office, school, hospital, or industrial estate that you manage, starting with the roof and working your way down can help identify most maintenance issues from the source.
Roofs are often damaged on a more frequent basis, particularly when it comes to weathering, leading to cracked or missing tiles, moss and mould, and insulation failure.
A damaged roof can result in unwanted structural issues, costly repair works, and even health and safety hazards.
Commercial building surveys inspect both the inside of the roof, as well as it’s exterior, highlighting any defects or potential problems that need to be addressed.
Roof seams, coping, and flashing will be checked by the surveyor, who will also inspect the roofs drainage, ventilation, and pipework for any ‘voids’ or ‘fish mouths’.
The surveyor will be able to advise on the best solutions to ensure that your roof, and the rest of your commercial building, can withstand the winter months going forward.
Drains, gutters, and pipes
Perhaps one of the most overlooked components of any property are the drains, gutters, and pipes, yet they cause property managers the biggest headaches.
Why? Because pipes, gutters, and drains run through and encase the entire building - so when something goes wrong, a huge part of the property (and in some cases the entire building) is negatively impacted.
Falling leaves and debris from the autumn can cause clogs and build-up, leading to overflow issues and water damage.
However, pipes, drains and gutters are most threatened by the winter when there’s an increase in rainfall, settling snow, and icy conditions as freeze-thawing can result in burst pipes, leaks, damp, and even mould if left unattended.
Cracked or broken pipes and gutters will need to be replaced to preserve the integrity of the property, and a Planned Preventative Maintenance Survey can catch this early on.
Not only will a surveyor be able to identify where replacements may be needed in the future, a PPM survey can give you a long-term forecast on the durability of your building which can allow you to allocate maintenance funds efficiently for the future.
In the meantime, a commercial building survey is always best if you’re unsure of the state of your buildings pipework, gutters, and drainage systems.
Poor cladding impacts the property’s fire safety, which is why it must be seen to by a professional and inspected regularly.
Surveyors will look for dents in the cladding, rust spots, edge corrosion, and peeling paint as signs of damaged cladding, telling you if and when your cladding needs replacing.
Additionally, if you spot any of these signs, call a building surveyor as a matter of urgency. They will conduct a commercial building survey, prioritising the cladding inspection.
On a side note, a Reinstatement Cost Assessment can be undertaken by a chartered building surveyor which can indicate whether your building is accurately insured and protected.
Cracks in a building’s foundation is the last thing any property owner wants, particularly in the winter. As temperatures drop, water that has been trapped within these cracks freeze causing further cracking.
The expansion and contraction of water within the cracks can result in structural instability, compromising the integrity of the entire building. Over time, damp and mould start to develop, leading to the deterioration of building materials.
So, how do you winterise your property’s foundations? A chartered building surveyor will be able to assess the extent of the damage and identify potential causes through a commercial building survey.
Once the root causes are determined, property owners should invest in professional foundation repair services tailored to their specific needs.
Regular inspections should include the interior of the building too. From doors to window glazing to HVAC systems, ensuring each component is up to date and fully functioning can enable your property to continue running without fault throughout the winter.
Why winter maintenance checks are important
Regular maintenance checks on commercial properties before the winter are crucial to ensure the safety, functionality, and longevity of the building.
As temperatures drop, the harsh winter weather can exacerbate existing issues and lead to costly repairs if not addressed in advance.
Checking the heating systems, insulation, and roof integrity helps prevent energy waste and ensures a comfortable working environment for occupants.
Clearing gutters and drains of debris is essential to prevent water damage and ice dams, which can compromise the structural integrity of the property. Additionally, inspecting windows and doors for draughts and leaks can contribute to energy efficiency and reduce utility costs.
Ultimately, investing time and resources in pre-winter maintenance not only safeguards the well-being of the building and its occupants but also helps minimise emergency repairs and associated expenses, preserving the value and functionality of the property.
How we can help
With a keen understanding of building structures, materials, and regulatory requirements, our chartered building surveyors can conduct comprehensive assessments to identify potential vulnerabilities.
In anticipation of harsh weather conditions, we will assess the property's insulation, roofing, and drainage systems, providing owners with insights into necessary maintenance or improvements.
We will be able to recommend the best cost-effective energy-efficient measures, such as upgrading insulation or addressing draughts, to enhance the property's resilience against winter elements.
We’ll also advise on the maintenance of heating systems, ensuring they are in optimal condition for the colder months.
Our mission is to help property owners mitigate risks, improve energy efficiency, and maintain a safe and comfortable environment for occupants all year round.
Who are we?
Our team of Chartered Building Surveyors work closely with estate agents, landlords, lenders and local authorities across London and the South Coast to proactively navigate a changing horizon. From ensuring new projects are delivered on time and in budget, to delivering upgrades on behalf of councils.
Read more about our solutions here:
Alternatively, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call our Southampton team on 02380 014786 or London at 020 3143 2128.
If you're looking for the next steps in your career why not check out our latest opportunities and see if we align with you and your values!