Although most of us probably do not want to think about the fast approaching winter months at this point in the year, as a property investor or landlord it is important that preparations are in place for the bad weather and associated risks to property that can arise.

In order to minimise falling foul of the risks that inclement weather can generate, there are a number of key factors to take in to account in advance of the Autumn and Winter months.

Gutter & Drain clearance

 As we are all too aware, the UK can be one of the wettest places to be at all times of the year, but particularly in Autumn and Winter.

Water damage to property can be extensive and expensive, with sometimes the smallest of leaks leading to significant resultant damage and remedial costs. In some cases a water leak will be unavoidable, but preventative measures can be taken to ensure that gutters and drains are clear of debris and blockages, thus reducing the chances of backing up and overflowing.

This is particularly important following the autumn leaf fall, where significant leaf litter can quickly clog up drains, guttering and downpipes.

Boiler Servicing

 It is a legal requirement for gas boilers to be serviced on a regular basis, and this should be done as a matter of course.

It may not be a priority during the warmer summer months, but come the Winter boilers will be under greater pressure with occupiers increasing the heating in their premises. It is therefore timely to undertake boiler servicing prior to this added pressure and usage to minimise breakdowns during the periods when heating becomes essential.

Frozen Pipes

 If temperatures plummet there is a risk of water freezing in pipes, particularly if they are external to a property, or if the property is poorly heated or badly insulated.

If a pipe is showing signs of leaks or damage they could potentially freeze, expand and burst if temperatures fall well below freezing.

If a property has pipes that have the potential to freeze (i.e external pipes, taps and water tanks) they can be fitted with insulation or lagging to reduce the risk of freezing.

 Vacant Premises

Most commercial buildings insurance policies will require regular inspections of vacant units as a requirement of their cover. In light of the increased potential risks during winter months outlined above, some insurers insist on greater frequency of inspections in Winter, with the requirement being generally every seven days.

If it is known that premises will be vacant for any significant period, it is also important to ensure that water supplies are turned off at the stopcock, to minimise the chances of a leak occurring unnoticed.

Stratton Creber Commercial prides itself in providing an exemplary property management service to its clients, and can tailor this service to the specific requirements of the property owner, and as part of our property management service, we will ensure that all necessary precautions are taken in preparation for the Winter months.

If you have an enquiry relating to the ongoing management of a commercial property or wish to discuss the appointment of a managing agent, please contact Chris Reed or Ian Le Grice at Stratton Creber Commercial on 01752 670700.