While experts forecast that winter might be forgiving for most Americans this year (warmer temperatures and fewer snowstorms), the pandemic currently grappling the nation could still pose confusion and challenges for commercial property owners who may be unsure as to how this would affect their winter upkeep.
The short answer is that it shouldn’t. However, there are additional things you would need to consider to prepare your building for the cold weather fully.
Essential and Non-Essential Services
Regardless of where you are in the US, most states recommend that people only go out for essential services. For regular folk, this means limiting your trips outside the house for groceries, medicine, or doctor’s appointments. For businesses deemed essential, this means ensuring their offices and workspaces are regularly cleaned and sanitized to maintain their employees’ health and wellness.
As the property owner, however, you also have a responsibility to ensure your tenants’ safety. If you’re new to property management, the first thing you should do is hire a professional snow removal company’s services. These experts are trained to ensure that your property is cleared of snow while also being careful around constraints unique to a commercial property, such as huge parking lots and higher pedestrian traffic.
This service remains crucial and essential for property management because there’s no stopping the snowfall. Winter will come even if you’re building is not at full capacity, and you need a trusted team that’s on standby to ensure that the snowfall doesn’t accumulate.
Maintain a Skeleton Staff of Security and Maintenance
With the most time-consuming job out of the way, you should turn your attention to what’s going on inside the building. Whether you own a single- or multi-use building, you must have a skeleton crew of security officers and maintenance professionals. This is especially important if you live in a state with tight lockdown measures, and social distancing would need to be strictly enforced.
Seasoned building owners will also tell you that placing hand sanitizers in the lobby is a winter must-have. Never has this been more appropriate than during this coronavirus outbreak, since the CDC recommends frequent hand washing and sanitizing to limit the spread of germs. Your security team should also be trained in providing contact tracing forms, taking staff and visitors’ temperatures, and mask-wearing adherence.
Check with your local government to ensure that you’re in line with your state’s lockdown mandates.
Winterizing Irrigation and Plumbing
The one thing that shouldn’t change in your winter-preparedness plan is winterizing your water pipes. This is important now, in particular, since lockdown measures mean that some offices or retail spaces will remain empty this season. And without anyone monitoring, the possibility of burst pipes increases.
Talk to your business or retail tenants to get a clearer picture of how they will run their offices or shops this season. Will they remain open? How many staff members are expected in a day? If they will remain closed, what kind of arrangement can you make with them about regular maintenance? The constant communication between you and your tenants will also help you avoid turnover in the future.
While the general guidelines for winter preparedness remain the same, the COVID-19 outbreak does present some additional challenges. Following the aforementioned advice should give you an idea of where you can start.