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Leading commercial property maintenance company Darenth Valley Building Services has announced that emergency call outs by facility managers with no maintenance contracts in place comprise over 96% of all the calls received during the worst winter months.

“As the temperatures plumet it effects buildings in many ways”, says Oliver Davies, Services and Operations Manager.  “There are some obvious culprits that need regular maintenance, but others are not so obvious. Facilities Managers that get caught out each year are using expensive emergency budgets which could be prevented.  Plus making regular checks throughout the year will ensure buildings are a little more sustainable.”

The key and obvious culprits are boilers and heating systems. Regular servicing is essential to ensure that, even though they are not needed during the summer months, they are ready to work during the winter ones.  This includes boiler checks and bleeding radiators prior to switching the heating on.  Oliver continues “Some offices have been half empty with hybrid working and so we envisage calls increasing again this year.”

Any water pipes that are exposed to extreme temperatures because they are located outside of the building, need to be insulated.

Another cost saving exercise worth doing now, in preparation for the winter months, whilst also doing your bit for the environment, is switching to LED lights.

Neglected, blocked gutters will eventually cause water unable to drain away from the building to find another outlet – and that’s usually the start of water ingress.

Now Autumn is here, gutter clearance to remove fallen leaves will significantly reduce the risks a blocked gutter carries. Similarly, soggy leaves that are left to swell in the gullies are going to eventually cause problems, from flooding (and potentially freezing causing a hazard) to the erosion of the ground where the water is allowed to gather. Leaf clearance is vital if you wish to avoid the pitfalls of flooded car parks and other outside areas.

Now is the time to replenish your salt bin in preparation for ice and snow and checking contractors are in place to clear snow and ice if we have a down pour.

Commercial buildings often offer perfect nesting sites for pigeons in the winter months. Pigeon droppings (pigeon guano) are unsightly and a health hazard, and it will not make your tenants or their visitors happy to receive a pigeon present on their heads (however lucky it is supposed to be!). Using pigeon spikes are easy to install once in place and require little maintenance.

And lastly, water can get into cracks in render and brickwork, freeze and expand causing damage to the surface and potentially damp inside the building. Preventative maintenance now could save bigger and more expensive issues later.

Prevention and preparation are the best way forward to not only make sure your building is safely maintained during the winter but also that emergency budgets are not needed.