Facility Dude

Prepare for FM snow collapse prevention

By FacilityDude
Nov 25, 2013

Facilities Management

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With winter approaching, the visions facilities managers have in their heads are not all of sugarplums and holly. For most FM staff members, their thoughts are filled with images of snowdrifts and ice storms.

shoveling snow Unfortunately for facilities managers, winter weather does not take it easy on their buildings and surrounding grounds. Snow accumulation from either a single, massive storm or a series of lighter flurries poses a number of risks to both facilities and their operations.

Clearing snow does not just mean shoveling the parking lots, walkways, and doorways so that people can safely enter buildings. While tackling piles of snow on the ground is necessary to keep facilities accessible and running, managers also have to look a bit higher to ensure that their buildings are secure and their occupants are safe.

According to FM Global, roof collapse resulting from snow pileups is one of the main causes for wintertime damage to facilities. As wet, heavy snow loads up on rooftops, building structures start to feel the pressure. And once a roof collapses, facilities managers often face more problems than just dealing with the repair or replacement of it.

Look to the roof to prevent damage loss

Because everything in a facility is connected through the walls and ceilings, a collapsed roof often means other important systems and equipment may be compromised. These problems can range from things as simple as ruined carpet to damaged electrical conduit or equipment. Damage to sprinkler piping, wiring, or piping carrying flammable liquid can create serious fire hazards.

Keeping roofs well-maintained, free of snow build up, and the drains/downspouts free of debris will to safeguard your facilities. Using FacilityDude's CMMS, MaintenanceEdge, facilities managers can schedule routine roof inspections which will help to ensure they remain structurally sound throughout the season. Performing these planned maintenance tasks regularly will also help facilities maintenance personnel recognize issues and identify problem areas that need to be addressed. Becoming more proactive will help facilities managers to better ascertain the stability of their structures, maintain them more efficiently and cost effectively, as well as become better prepared for whatever the winter season may bring

The University of South Carolina Greensboro explained that communication among FM staff is key in the event of a storm.  A detailed plan should be developed and everyone should know their role in case of inclement weather. Having an emergency weather plan will allow a facilities manager to address issues as quickly as they arise.  Weather event issues such as maintaining a safe environment for people and restoring normal operations as quickly as possible are much more easily handled when a plan is in place.

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