Your facility consists of more than just the physical building. The building exterior, as well as any landscaping that may surround the facility, all warrant your time and consideration, too. One element that may be frequently overlooked is also one of the most-used parts of any building, and it's right under your feet - your sidewalk.
The outdoor elements of your building may have taken a back seat during the harsh winter, but with the weather warming up, people will be spending extra time outside. Not only can a well-maintained sidewalk provide an added level of aesthetic value to your facility, it can also be a matter of safety. Here are a few things to keep in mind this summer.
Don't overlook the responsibility
Many people don't give much thought to their sidewalks, in part because of the belief that as a part of city infrastructure, it doesn't fall to individuals to maintain and repair them. However, in many cases this is incorrect. In commercial or industrial areas, many cities place the onus of sidewalk maintenance on the property owner, meaning if you don't take care of your sidewalk, nobody will. Worse, neglecting its state of repair could lead to a fine from the city or even a lawsuit from a citizen who may have tripped and fallen in front of your building.
Cleanliness is a factor
The most basic, and arguably most important, bit of sidewalk maintenance is simply to keep it clean. It will improve the overall look of your building and help reduce the chance of damage to the sidewalk. This includes regular weeding, as plants growing through cracks in the concrete can make it worse. Have garbage cans placed nearby so people can throw away trash, reducing litter accumulation. The concrete itself can be power washed, but be wary, as some chemical cleaning agents can damage the surface. If there is a buildup of gum, food and other stuck-on grime, consider hiring a specialty cleaning company to take care of it for you.
Watch out for cracks
Concrete can be prone to cracks if not properly maintained. Extreme changes in temperature can also cause the material to expand and contract, which can lead to cracks. As the weather keeps heating up, keep an extra set of eyes on your sidewalk to catch any developing fissures. Seal these cracks as soon as you find them, as they can allow water to enter the material, further damaging it. You can help prevent cracks from forming, as well as protect the exterior of your sidewalk, by using a sealant.
Take preventive measures
Just like other essential building maintenance operations, keeping your sidewalk in good repair has an important proactive element to it. Once all repairs have been made, take preventive measures to reduce risk factors as much as possible. If there are any overhanging trees nearby, have them trimmed so they don't cover the sidewalk.