Preparing your commercial property for winter


Some tips and advice for getting your commercial property winter proof.

As temperatures start to drop and the weather gets harsher, if you haven’t done so already, now is the time to check that your commercial property is winter-proof.

Here is our checklist to ensure your investment is ready for winter:-

  1. Check the roof. Look for missing or slipped tiles. Ideally, check the inside of the roof while it is raining to make sure it is fully waterproofed and there are no leaks. That way, any urgent maintenance issues can be addressed,
  2. If you haven’t done so already, unclog the gutters. Leaves and moss can block the guttering, causing rainwater to overspill and damage the fabric of the building. Also make sure all the connections on the guttering are not dripping and there are no cracks or splits.
  3. Check the drains – clear any debris to ensure free flow of water.
  4. Inspect the outside walls of your property – are there any cracks or loose pointing? Get them repaired before the frost invades your walls.
  5. Look at your paving. Are there any areas where water ‘pools’? If so, get this sorted. In the cold weather the water will freeze, making it dangerous.
  6. Check that all the external lighting is working – or install some. While this won’t winter proof your property, it will keep it safer for both your tenants and for you in terms of security.
  7. Ensure any gas flues and outlets cannot get blocked with snow. These could freeze over potentially causing carbon monoxide poisoning.
  8. How are your windows and window sills? Are they draught proof? Is water collecting on the frames? Consider secondary double glazing  – this isn’t particularly expensive and you will recover costs from money saved on heating bills.
  9. Has the boiler been checked recently? Make sure it is in tip top shape for the onslaught of bad weather.
  10. Bleed any radiators at the property to ensure there is no air in them. This will help the heating work more effectively.
  11. Ensure any exposed pipes are lagged as well as any boilers / cold water tanks etc.
  12. Do your tenants know where the water and gas stop cocks are? Do they know where the electrical system isolation switches are?

Is yours an empty property?

As well as taking all the steps above (except point number 12) there are additional activities you will need to carry out if your property is unoccupied.

You will already be aware that as part of your buildings insurance cover, you need to keep your property well maintained. If your property is empty, then typically you will have additional obligations you will need to fulfil in order to keep your insurance cover valid.

These obligations vary depending on the policy provider and the circumstances surrounding why the property is empty (for example, may be it is undergoing refurbishment or awaiting sale / a new tenant), so check your policy documents. Typically, you may need to:-

  • Drain down the heating systems (to help avoid water damage).
  • Turn off (and potentially cap) electricity and gas supplies (unless of course, these utilities are being used by workmen during a refurbishment).
  • Have the property regularly visited and inspected (as well as logging these inspections).

Hopefully these tips will help you ensure that your property comes out unscathed from the winter. For further tips, please refer to this RICS article.

Finally, don’t forget that we can help and advise you on any aspect of managing and maintaining your commercial property,so please feel free to contact us – we will be very happy to help.