Winter can be a stressful time for facility managers. The cold weather brings with it potential maintenance complications, not to mention the effects of temperature and precipitation on your facility's grounds and landscaping.
One thing that facility managers can do to mitigate some of the wintertime headache is prepare their buildings for the season in advance. The question, then, is what can you do to best prepare your facility for the changing season and, just as important, how much time in advance do you need to begin planning?
Taking the necessary steps
The winter season can be a veritable war on your facility if you aren't prepared. Extreme temperatures and harsh conditions - not to mention the often chemical methods used to deal with them - can wear down and degrade surfaces.
As Buildings pointed out, one of the main building maintenance considerations facility managers face in the winter is fall prevention. Cold and ice can create serious safety concerns, especially for older occupants, and FMs make very good friends with deicers throughout the season in their efforts to keep the grounds safe. Unfortunately, many of these chemical agents can be extremely harsh on building surfaces, both indoor and outdoor. Everyone is familiar with the telltale white salt stains that seem to be everywhere come the middle of winter. They can be unsightly and also damage more delicate materials like carpet. More measured use of chemical deicers can help reduce these negative effects. Small Footprint Family even recommended using more eco- and pet-friendly chemical deicers. These alternative materials have the same effect, but don't damage the grounds and are safe for any nearby animals.
Giving yourself plenty of time
One mistake facility managers want to avoid is not giving themselves enough time to prepare for winter. It may seem odd to take preparations for cold and snow in the midst of summer, but as FacilitiesNet noted, that may in fact be the best time to start planning your strategy.
According to the source, girding your facility for the cold weather is an extensive process. Oftentimes, FMs will need to review their whole cold weather infrastructure from consumables such as deicers to equipment like boilers and shovels. This inventory management is essential, as it informs the formation and management of the winter season operational budget. It can also be instrumental in determining if any capital expenditures need to be made in preparation for the season.