Facility Dude

Winter weather lessons from across the pond

By FacilityDude
Jan 20, 2014

Facilities Management

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When it comes to the English language, there are some words that get lost in translation between the U.S. and England. Americans may never understand why Brits would kick a football with their foot, just in the same way Brits may be baffled not to receive French fries when they order chips. However, there are a few words that people from both nations - especially facility managers - can understand, such as preparing for winter, safety, snow clearance and facility maintenance.

The British Institute of Facilities Management and GRITIT, a U.K. company that specializes in winter risk management have released a winter weather checklist, which provides British facility managers with some much-needed advice on how to combat winter weather. Like the Beatles so many years ago, this winter checklist has staged a British Invasion on U.S. soil. Even if you think you know everything about winter facility safety, the list is a good excuse for a review so you can be prepared any day of the week.

Planning first

UK Flag The list actually covers a number of different issues, from personal liability to the importance of snow clearance to self-delivery. However, the most important step in preparing for winter is the list's first subject: actually making a plan.

According to the report, it's important that your winter preparation plan maps out any relevant tasks and the people who will be responsible for undertaking them. Furthermore, facility managers may want to track weather predictions so their plans can more adequately anticipate any potential weather issues. Having a 50-gallon drum of rock salt won't make a difference if an oncoming weather system is going to drop the temperature well below sodium chloride's minimum temperature for effectiveness.

In addition to making sure you have the right supplies, it's also a good idea to assess the places in your facility that are most hazardous during severe winter conditions. That way, you can be more efficient in your allocation of your resources to prepare against snow.

The American way

While Americans may have Brits to thank for a nice summary of winter preparation, it's time that facility managers on both sides of the pond become familiar with a new word: MaintenanceEdge. The maintenance management software can be a great tool when trying to follow through with this checklist.

"Your contractor should be able to access real time tracking data for both reporting and job monitoring," the checklist states.

MaintenanceEdge is perfect for reporting and monitoring, thanks to cloud computing software, which lets users process requests and submit work order completions on-the-go. The software also lets you schedule planned maintenance, so you won't forget to lay out mats in your lobby or check for frozen pipes.

Another key component for planning was to make sure that you had the right inventory for winter weather emergencies. InventoryEdge is yet another answer from the U.S. This handy piece of software lets you record and update your supply data, so that you always know exactly what you have and what you need. Best of all, cloud-based management means you won't lose your records come next year's winter weather.

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