Protecting your property – snow, drifting & freezing Snow damage to assets and property during cold weather - or its wet aftermath - is another risk area that can hit your business. Roof areas collect snow quickly and it’s the weight, not the depth of the snow that causes damage.
- Fluffy snow weighs between 5 – 20 lbs per square foot.2
- Packed snow 20– 40 lbs per square foot.3
- Wet snow 45 lbs per square foot – this is the priority so clear it quickly. Tell-tale overload signs include: sticking doors on higher floors, visible cracking on wall surfaces and plaster cracks around door frames.4
- Keep guttering clear and free from obstacles – you’ll need them when the thaw comes.
- Ensure all exterior and interior (if minimum internal temperatures are not maintained above 6°C) pipe work is lagged and protected to prevent bursts and flooding (excluding sprinkler piping).
Protecting your commercial assets – rapid thaw & flash flooding Check with the Environment Agency to see if your business is located in a flood-prone area. Sudden snow melt in winter causes flash flooding just as surely as sustained heavy rain in summer.
- Plant and machinery: can you raise it above known flood water levels – or even positioned on the roof?
- Sandbags: do you have storage space for ready - prepared sandbags?
- Drainage: keep drains and gutters free of debris and other blockages with regular maintenance.
- Obstacles: keep the roof or any terrace areas free of all vegetation that could damage the roof and let in heavy rain or snow melt.
- Scoping: commission a Flood Assessment Survey to set your baseline knowledge of the risks.
- History: if your business – or the properties you manage - lie in a high-risk area, check public records to help set your flood expectations.
Protecting your business – continuity We've seen it before – traffic networks paralyzed and roads blocked when the white stuff falls. Your people can’t get into work or out to customers, deliveries are interrupted and business suffers. With a bit of pre-planning, you can avoid the risks to the continuity of your business:
- Use technology to keep your business operating: can’t meet face-to-face? Explore videoconferencing. Ubiquitous broadband, personal smartphones, tablets and free web services like Skype or Face Time will help keep you and your people in touch – just make sure they are secure enough for you to operate.
- Identify your business-critical activities: ‘business as usual’ may not be possible so be ready to concentrate on those ‘must do’ processes and ‘must-have’ people.
- Car sharing: it sounds simple but work out who can ‘buddy-up’; you’ll have more people in, more of the time. Alternatively lay on minibus transport if practicable.
- Work from home: it’s back to the technology. When everything grinds to a halt, ensure you know who can work from home, they have the correct tools to do so (licences, software etc) and let them get on with it.