We’ve just had an unexpected burst of snow and ice with freezing temperatures throughout March (and the 'beat from the east' even suggesting a white Easter), which of course cause all kinds of issues and disturbances to everyday life.
Part-and-parcel of these is damage to the actual buildings and pieces of land. Some of these pop up during these cold spells, although some only appear afterwards as an aftermath.
For someone involved with property management these are critical to spot early on and nip in the bud. In actual fact, the sooner the better in order to make sure they don’t make matters worse.
Therefore here are four classic issues that can arise in the property and land either after or during serious snow and ice. As soon as you see any signs of these, then it is critical to immediately investigate in order to make sure they don’t become worse.
1. External Roof Areas
Although roof areas typically leak during rainfall, snow can also bring on similar issues. Don't be fooled by thinking of snow or ice just being stuck there as opposed to running water - it still causes a whole host of issues.
Even the weight of the snow can cause problems, and add on there wind to blow in usual directions, then leaks can suddenly appear as well as sagging or broken sections.
Then add in the thaw afterwards, and all that additional water suddenly needing somewhere to go.
In actual fact, both these together can cause additional roof issues. So as snow rises against upstands and flashings, then as it thaws with technical effects like capillary attraction it can begin leaking in totally new areas.
However the good news is that such leaks and problems may not occur again, as it's just these unusual circumstances, although don't always assume this of course.
2. Outside Landscaped Areas
Although everything may look nice and pretty, glittered with ice or snow, and you may assume even protected, just watch out for the aftermath afterwards.
Excessive grit can suddenly be found alongside planted areas and cause growing as well as visual problems, and check that the weight of snow hasn't caused any damaged planted area, particularly when it's been piled-up during snow clearance.
3. Main Structural Areas
Don't forget the main structure of your building or land, as even the most solid
parts can be prone to these extreme elements.
In particular, watch out for cracks and weak spots, and the force of water freezing then thawing within these causing weak areas to become more unstable. So worst-case scenario, high-level facades of buildings may come crumbling down.
These same principles also apply to ground areas, so typically potholes you see afterwards resulting from this above freeze-thaw effect. Of course these are also potential trip hazards, so you'll need to look at maybe short term filling as well as longer-term resurfacing.
4. Services & Conduit Areas
This is a classic, when water in pipes freezes and you suddenly have the problem of burst water pipes afterwards. And not only obvious water-supply pipes but all kinds of others such as sprinkler systems or waste conduits.
Therefore preparation is everything, whether full drain-down or regular inspections to spot when things are amiss.
The Aftermath of Snow & Ice
As you face the reality of snowfall and ice at your property or land, these above four issues are critical ones to spot early on. The sooner you identify them and deal with them the better.
Although some of these may be blatantly obvious at the time, with issues like leaking water and frustrated occupiers, just watch out for things cropping up way afterwards. This may be days or weeks after, which may cause issues with insurance claims and quick responses.
Either way, the sooner you get on top of these the better.
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