There are a number of protective measures you can consider taking to help prepare your commercial property for the cold conditions, including:
- Have a professional plumber check your plumbing joints for leaks. Remember those which are hidden and keep an eye out for green discolouration on copper pipes – this could be a sign of a leak.
- Review your insulation to protect your pipes from freezing.
- Prevent your water supply stopcock from stiffening by testing it from time to time.
- Perform a comprehensive risk assessment to evaluate ice, flood and snow hazards, including large falling icicles, significant slippages of snow from sloping roofs or roof collapse from the weight of the snow.
- Develop your Business Continuity Plan (BCP) (Disaster Recovery Plan) to cater for winter-specific conditions.
- Check manufacturing processes and materials to see if they’re affected by lower temperatures.
- Check roofs, gutters and drains to make sure they’re in good working order. Don’t forget to follow the duties and precautions under the Work at Height Regulations even if the person carrying out the work is not your employee.
- Review any fire risk assessment; if you need to provide any additional or different heating, remember to inform your insurance intermediary.
For the external parts of your property, consider:
- Implement slip-related safety measures, such as gritting or diversion to less slippery walkways. Don’t forget that hard floors in entrance areas can become very slippery during wet or snowy weather.
- Assess the exterior lighting around your premises; with less hours of daylight, it may be harder for people visiting you to see icy and other slippery areas.