The shorter days are not the only annoyance of the winter months; they can also pose significant challenges for maintaining vacant commercial properties. The colder temperatures can make it difficult to prevent costly maintenance issues from arising, often making it an arduous and continuous task for vacant property owners. Here are 5 ways to help you manage your commercial property during the winter months, with tips and tricks to help keep costly damages at bay.
1). Protect your pipes
Pipe damage can be detrimental, and a burst pipe is one of the main culprits for causing damage to your commercial property during the winter season, typically caused by freezing water exerting pressure. The financial implications of burst pipes can be substantial, resulting in significant (and avoidable) costs, especially when encompassing both repair expenses and potential other damage to the building.
To protect your pipes, it is essential to follow several key steps. Firstly, you must make sure that your pipes are completely sealed, achievable through professional inspections or DIY methods with store-bought materials such as foam. Moreover, try to maintain a steady mild temperature (around 15°C), to encourage warm air circulation around sinks and plumbing fixtures. And lastly, regularly turn taps on and off to keep water flowing, as moving water is much less likely to freeze.
2). Ventilation is key
To prevent mould and dampness, managing indoor humidity is crucial. To do this effectively, opt for brief and intense ventilation rather than ‘trickle venting’ to facilitate fast air exchange without excessive cooling – this should be done by periodically opening your windows for short intervals to ventilate the room. This will not only reduce the risk of mould growth, but it will also significantly reduce the cost of your heating bill.
Additionally, try to keep interior doors closed to inhibit the condensation of warm, humid air in cooler rooms. Finally, don’t forget about unused rooms! As these rooms are cooler than more frequented parts of the building, they are even more susceptible to mould due to the rapid cooling of walls and ceilings.
3). Effective insulation & heating can save you thousands…
To strike a balance between avoiding a freezing property and maintaining reasonable heating and maintenance costs, it is essential to maintain a constant temperature, ideally around 15°C. This practice helps mitigate costly maintenance issues like mould, burst pipes, and water damage.
Another often-overlooked, yet crucial factor is the quality of your windows and doors, as any broken seals or single-glazing windows can allow valuable heat to escape, heavily impacting both energy efficiency and running costs. Furthermore, be sure to familiarise yourself with all the walls, especially in extended or less frequently used sections of the building, as inadequate insulation can also lead to heat escaping.
4). Roofing is susceptible to damage
Your building’s roof is the most exposed element, making it incredibly vulnerable to environmental damage. Regular roof inspections, especially as the extreme weather approaches, are crucial to protecting any commercial property. Factors such as weather and debris can gradually degrade your roof, particularly if the initial installation was subpar. In addition to this, it is important to regularly check for any panels that may have lifted or moved, or for any loose tiles or damaged felt, as this could jeopardise the building by allowing heat to escape and water to infiltrate.
Furthermore, be mindful of any moss growth on the roof, as it can disrupt the water drainage system, potentially leading to pipe breaks or flooding. Ensure you conduct a comprehensive roof inspection prior to the winter season to allow ample time for necessary repairs. Roof leaks can also lead to electrical faults, posing health risks, so timely maintenance is essential for a safe and well-maintained property.
5). Property Guardians could just be the answer…
One of the most pressing concerns with vacant buildings during the winter is the potential for issues to remain unnoticed, possibly worsening existing problems. This situation can be particularly stressful for property owners, especially when trying to manage frequent property checks alongside day-to-day life. A highly effective solution to address this challenge is live-in guardianship. By placing a group of carefully vetted, socially responsible individuals into the building, it remains protected from cold-weather risks, with continuous heating and ventilation, along with prompt reporting of any maintenance concerns.
This not only helps prevent expensive problems from arising, but also offers professionals and key workers the opportunity to live affordably in prime locations. This flexible and temporary living solution is an ideal option for any vacant building owner, providing peace of mind that socially responsible individuals are caring for the property as if it were their own.
We can help!
At The LOWE Group, we address all your vacant building concerns with utmost care. Our exclusive guardian selection comprises primarily of local key workers, each subject to thorough vetting and in-person meetings before residing in one of our managed properties. Moreover, our proficient in-house maintenance team collaborates with the efficient FixFlo platform to handle all maintenance matters promptly and professionally. This service not only fosters social impact in the local community, but also serves as an excellent solution to safeguard your property during the winter months, preventing dereliction whilst saving you valuable time and money.
If you have a vacant property and you’d like to discuss with us how we could help you, contact us to receive an obligation free quote, and discover how we could give your vacant building a new purpose.