Winter’s almost here – complete with snow, freezing temperatures, and even ice.

Is your CRE property ready?

Every season poses challenges for your building – like excessive rain in spring and sweltering heat in summer. Winter’s no different. The snow, ice, and cold can wreak havoc on your building and tenants if you’re unprepared. From tenants slipping on ice to pipes bursting to your roof leaking, there are many problems winter can bring.

But, getting your building ready for winter ahead of time can minimize or eliminate the risk of winter challenges.

Wondering how you can make sure your CRE property is ready for winter? Here are 4 steps to follow:

1. Create a Building Communications Plan

The first step to getting your building ready for winter is to create a building communications plan.

If there’s a heavy snow or ice storm, your building could have power knocked out or other damage. And, if you don’t have a communication plan in place, your tenants will have no idea what to do during bad weather. To make matters worse, it can be nearly impossible to communicate with tenants during a winter weather emergency without a plan in place.

However, building and distributing a communication plan can be time-consuming. You need to make sure tenant info and preferences are up to date, plan which channels to distribute emergency info, create messages to send out, and more. All of which require a regular time commitment.

But, creating a building communications plan for winter weather doesn’t have to be time-consuming. With building communications software, tenants can keep their info up to date – so you can always reach them. And, the software can distribute important messages through multiple tenant preferred channels, like text and slack.

Building communications software can also save message drafts so you can send out important info quickly. Instead of having to rewrite messages you send out regularly (like storm advisories) each time you send them, you can simply select a saved message draft and send it out in seconds. That way, you can get tenants the info they need in a weather emergency – increasing tenant satisfaction and retention.

2. Line Up Winter Vendors

Another step to get your building ready for winter is to line up vendors to take care of common winter service or maintenance projects.

When winter hits, you’ll need to remove snow, fix pipes that burst, and more. But, your team can’t complete all winter projects alone. You need service vendors to help. However, if you don’t already have these vendors lined up, your building could go days or weeks without necessary service – which can hurt tenant satisfaction.

But, lining up winter vendors can be a huge time suck. You have to go through the competitive bid process – which can take weeks or months. Instead of tending to tenant needs, you’ll be stuck writing requests, communicating with vendors, comparing proposals, and more.

An easier way to line up winter vendors is with bid management software. With this software, you can use a template to create a request in minutes. And, you can source vendors from a trusted vendor database – instead of spending weeks trying to find quality vendors. Plus, bid management software can automate vendor communication – like follow-ups – to save you time.

Bid management software can also automatically generate a side-by-side comparison table. This makes it easy to see which vendor is the right fit for your building in terms of price, scope, history, and any other factor you choose. That way, you have winter vendors when you need them – without spending months finding them.

3. Conduct Regular Inspections

To get your building ready for winter, you also need to conduct regular inspections.

Winter weather can be a strain on your building and equipment. Snow, ice, and cold can cause roof leaks, boiler problems, and more. But, if you don’t conduct regular inspections, you’ll miss these problems when they’re small.

Instead, you’ll only notice problems when they require expensive repairs or replacements – like replacing your boiler. This can raise your operating expenses. And, it can lower tenant satisfaction because they have to deal with annoying problems like a non-functional boiler or a hole in their roof.

Preventing these problems requires regular inspections. But, manually creating a schedule for all your equipment, recording inspection data, and spotting problems can be time-consuming and frustrating.

An easier way to conduct regular winter inspections is with building inspection software. This software can help you create a personalized inspection schedule in minutes. And, with mobile capabilities, your team can record data in the platform wherever they are – even in areas without internet. Once they record this info, it’s saved to the platform to be used later.

Plus, building inspection software includes a dashboard overview to help you spot underperforming equipment easily. That way, you can maintain equipment and fix problems before they require replacements – saving you money. And, keeping tenants happy because their building is in top shape.

4. Get the Right Insurance

The final step to get your property ready for winter is to make sure you’re insured properly.

Winter ice and snow can cause accidents – like a tenant slipping on ice. If you don’t have the right insurance, you could face a claim that costs your building millions.

But, keeping up with COIs and compliance requirements can be confusing and time-consuming. With ever-changing requirements and so many COIs to manage, it can be easy to think you’re insured properly. When, in reality, you’re missing crucial insurance – which increases the risk of costly claims.

However, insurance doesn’t have to be complicated. With insurance software, you can easily see which COIs are up to date, missing, or soon to be expired. And, you can rely on expert guidance to help you make sure you’re always covered – without having to learn all the changing requirements.

That way, your building is protected if there are winter accidents – without spending hours each week on compliance.

Wrapping It Up

Winter can be a difficult season for your building. Snow, ice, and cold can cause issues for everything from your roof, to pipes, to tenants walking around. If you aren’t prepared for winter, these problems can be hard to deal with.

To get your building ready for winter, you should create a building communications plan to get important info to tenants in an emergency. You should also line up winter vendors. And, you should conduct regular inspections to get in front of equipment problems. Lastly, you should make sure your insurance will protect you from winter accident claims.

Building operations software can make this prep easier with building communications, bid management, inspections, and insurance software.

Looking for a building operations platform to help you get your property ready for winter? Consider using Prism – which has modules for building communication, bid management, inspections, insurance, and more.

Want to learn more about how building operations software can help your building succeed in all seasons? Tune in to our on-demand webinar Introducing Prism: The Modern Software Platform for CRE Building Operations to find out.