winter buildings maintenance
12 November 2019

Be prepared… winter is coming

Still current at: 20 December 2021

On a bleak midwinter evening, when you are looking forward to the fun and games of the weekly meeting, the last thing you want is to find that your building has been damaged by bad weather or blocked in by snow and ice.

Keeping the building maintained throughout the year will reduce these risks and save you lengthy and costly repairs. Here are some handy tips to protect your property and equipment and avoid unfortunate accidents.

If you want to build a snowman…

In the excitement of fresh snowfall, it’s easy to forget the dangers of the underlying icy conditions, so there’s no harm in reminding everyone, young and old, to take extra care when negotiating their way around the building. Keep entry and exit routes free from anything that could cause slips and trips, and sprinkle plenty of grit on the main path. You do not need to shovel every path, so long as there is one safe route into the building.

Once the snow and ice has melted away, you may find small cracks and potholes in your paths and car parks. These can grow over time as water repeatedly freezes and thaws, becoming a trip hazard. Check regularly for defects in the paving and take action to reduce the risk of injury to visitors.

Lighten up

Even the earliest Beaver meetings will start in the dark throughout much of the winter, so make sure that your building is very well-lit outside. There is often a seasonal rise in insurance claims due to slips and trips under poor lighting. Switch the exterior lights on as soon as you arrive at the hut, or set a timer to illuminate the situation in advance.

Be ruthless, not roofless

Winter storms can blow roof tiles and slates off-kilter, or even completely off, leaving gaps for water to seep into the rafters. Don’t hesitate to arrange for a roofer to replace loose or missing tiles as soon as possible, as this will be much cheaper than repairing or replacing rotten roof timbers.

More insurance advice on ice

For your building and contents insurance to be valid in winter, water pipes must be fully insulated, and if the premises is empty for more than seven days, the water must be switched off at the mains and the thermostat set to a minimum of 13°C/ 55°F.

Make sure you have the right cover now, so you are not under-insured when you need to make a claim. For more information about your current policy, chat to one of Unity’s advisors on 0345 040 7702.