Preparing for Severe Winter Weather

Preparing for Severe Winter Weather

How to Best Prepare your Commercial Property for Severe Winter Weather Events

When severe winter weather is in the forecast, both snow & ice management contractors and property owners/managers need to be on the same page in order to reduce potential risk and liability.

Prolonged freezing rain events, or two-day “blizzards” with crippling wind and snowfall amounts, can prove costly in both human terms and financial costs. In either case, the damage can be as severe as the weather itself.

Crucial Steps

Awareness and the cooperative exchange of planning information are two of the most crucial steps required for snow contractors and property owners/managers to literally “weather the storm” successfully.

Communication

When these types of severe weather events are expected, MPS Property Services will provide our customers with an e-mail communication detailing both an assessment of the incoming weather and our operational plan to effectively manage the storm. Information such as the expected timing of the “event” and our operational response(s) are vital for minimizing any potential property damage, slip & fall or productivity risks. By providing our clients with this advance information, we hope to improve their knowledge of “snow fighting” strategies and help manage their expectations over the course of the storm.

Best Practices for Property Owners & Managers

We also hope to assist property owners & managers in communicating some best practices for dealing with severe weather, with their “people” on-site, ahead of the storm event.
This can include:

  • Posting information, or using other means to notify employees, customers, visitors and any other workplace parties of the impending severe weather system, its probable timing, and how the property will be affected during the storm
  • Providing information about what proper clothing to wear throughout the storm, such as treaded footwear, to reduce slip & fall risk
  • Blocking off snow depot areas, or adjusting parking allocation so that plow vehicles have room to move & place snow during daytime plowing operations
  • Having any appropriate staff work from home if possible to reduce the amount of traffic impeding snow response teams both on-site and on the public roadways
  • Coordinating with MPS in advance to schedule the removal of any expected excess snow to recover lost parking or shipping areas as fast as possible
  • Coordinating with MPS to ensure that any on-site salt bins, etc. are fully stocked and ready for use by building personnel as needed
  • Understanding that site conditions may be hazardous at times throughout the severe weather event but will be cleaned up and made safe quickly after the system has moved on

Severe winter weather can be extremely frustrating, dangerous and difficult to manage. By having the snow & ice management contractor and the property owner/manager communicate effectively ahead of the storm, throughout its duration, and immediately after it has moved on, the destructive impacts on personal well-being, property damage and business continuity can be minimized. Informational awareness and planning truly are the first important step in successfully managing severe winter weather events.

 

Choosing the right Snow & Ice Management company to provide winter service for your property is often a difficult choice to make. After all, no two companies are created equally! Find out the ‘Dos and Don’ts’ of commercial winter contracts HERE 

– Ken Jorgenson

Residential Fall Newsletter 2017

Residential Fall Newsletter 2017

Residential Fall Newsletter 2017

“And all at once summer collapsed into fall” – Oscar Wilde 

With all the beautiful September weather we received, we weren’t sure fall was ever going to arrive! Sure enough here it is, so enjoy it because winter will be upon us before we know it! In this issue of the MPS newsletter we have included articles on:

  • Fall Container Gardening
  • The Best Time to Plan your Next Landscape Project
  • 5 Tips for Winterizing your Property

Fall Container Gardening

Bring the shades and textures of fall to your home! As summer comes to an end, it’s time to replace and revive your summer garden containers. Fall container gardening adds a fun and seasonal splash of colour to your entryway. We’ve put together a list of the most popular fall plants and some of our favourite fall planter inspirations.
View Article >>

5-1 landscape design

Planning Next Years Landscape Project

Whether you have your dream landscape design or are seeking the help of a designer, the best time to start planning is in the FALL! Most landscape companies start booking projects for the following summer during the winter. So if you’d like to enjoy your new outdoor space all summer long, the ideal time to contact a landscape company is now!

Ready to start planning?

Let’s Talk!

composite decking

Composite Decking

Composite decking is a low-maintenance, high performance product, made from recycled materials that offers a no-fuss luxury deck. Click here to learn more and see some of our composite deck projects from this summer!

Water Features

From large ponds teeming with aquatic plants, tiered water falls, to ornate fountains, the term “water feature” is subject only to the limits of one’s creativity, style and imagination. Click here to see whats got us falling for water features.

 

5 Tips for Winterizing your Property

1. Wrap young (1-3yr) Emerald Cedars in burlap. If they’re free standing then wrap each tree individually, for cedar hedges use wooden stakes and burlap to box wrap them together.

2. Cut down all perennial grasses, hostas and plants.

3. Wrap boxwood hedges and individual plants in burlap. This will also help protect them from salt damage!

4. Hydrangeas should be pruned in the fall. Species that bloom on new wood can be cut down to have a 2″ stem and species that bloom on old wood should only have the flower heads removed.

5. PLANT BULBS! Spring bulbs should be planted 4-6 weeks before the ground freezes.

Commercial Fall Newsletter 2017

Commercial Fall Newsletter 2017

Commercial Fall Newsletter 2017

“And all at once summer collapsed into fall” – Oscar Wilde 

With all the beautiful September weather we received, we weren’t sure fall was ever going to arrive! Sure enough here it is, so enjoy it because winter will be upon us before we know it! In this issue of the MPS newsletter we have included articles on:

  • The Dos and Don’ts of Commercial Snow Contracts
  • How MPS is Setting the Standard in the Snow Industry
  • Fall Clean-Ups for your Commercial Property
  • How to Best Prepare for Severe Winter Weather Events

winter contracts, snow contracts

The Dos and Don’ts of Commercial Snow Contracts

Choosing the right Snow & Ice Management company to provide winter service for your property is often a difficult choice to make. After all, no two companies are created equally!

When deciding on which company to select for your winter grounds maintenance needs, you are essentially selecting which “contract” is best for you to accept, and therefore, you should feel comfortable with what that contract contains.

But what are the components of a “good” contract, and what should you look for before committing to your chosen winter service provider?

View the Full Article Here >>

snow removal, commercial snow contractors

Snow & Ice Management: Setting the New Standard

In order to remain a top snow & ice management provider in what has become a very competitive service industry, MPS Property Services continually strives to improve our clients’ experience through education, innovation and dedication all year round. Click here to find out what we’ve been up to this summer!

 

Fall Clean-Ups: Getting your Commercial Property Prepared & Ready for Winter

Despite our recent run of (finally!) “summer-like” temperatures and sunshine, the reality is that winter is just around the corner. This means that cold, snowy, blustery weather will be here before we know it. While the cooler winter weather can be a good excuse to wrap up warm and stay indoors, as a commercial property owner or facility manager, you must be aware of how it can take a toll on your property’s condition and potentially create long term maintenance headaches.

There’s a lot to do to get ready! To make sure your building & property are ready for winter, there are definitely some maintenance tasks that you should carry out, before the weather turns cold for good.

View the Full Article Here >>

severe winter weather, commercial,

How to Best Prepare for Severe Winter Weather Events

When severe winter weather is in the forecast, both snow & ice management contractors and property owners/managers need to be on the same page in order to reduce potential risk and liability.

Prolonged freezing rain events, or two-day “blizzards” with crippling wind and snowfall amounts, can prove costly in both human terms and financial costs. In either case, the damage can be as severe as the weather itself.

Awareness and the cooperative exchange of planning information are two of the most crucial steps required for snow contractors and property owners/managers to literally “weather the storm” successfully.
When these types of severe weather events are expected, MPS Property Services will provide our customers with an e-mail communication detailing both an assessment of the incoming weather and our operational plan to effectively manage the storm. Information such as the expected timing of the “event” and our operational response(s) are vital for minimizing any potential property damage, slip & fall or productivity risks. By providing our clients with this advance information, we hope to improve their knowledge of “snow fighting” strategies and help manage their expectations over the course of the storm.

We also hope to assist property owners & managers in communicating some best practices for dealing with severe weather, with their “people” on-site, ahead of the storm event.
This can include:

  • Posting information, or using other means to notify employees, customers, visitors and any other workplace parties of the impending severe weather system, its probable timing, and how the property will be affected during the storm
  • Providing information about what proper clothing to wear throughout the storm, such as treaded footwear, to reduce slip & fall risk
  • Blocking off snow depot areas, or adjusting parking allocation so that plow vehicles have room to move & place snow during daytime plowing operations
  • Having any appropriate staff work from home if possible to reduce the amount of traffic impeding snow response teams both on-site and on the public roadways
  • Coordinating with MPS in advance to schedule the removal of any expected excess snow to recover lost parking or shipping areas as fast as possible
  • Coordinating with MPS to ensure that any on-site salt bins, etc. are fully stocked and ready for use by building personnel as needed
  • Understanding that site conditions may be hazardous at times throughout the severe weather event but will be cleaned up and made safe quickly after the system has moved on
  • Severe winter weather can be extremely frustrating, dangerous and difficult to manage.

By having the snow & ice management contractor and the property owner/manager communicate effectively ahead of the storm, throughout its duration, and immediately after it has moved on, the destructive impacts on personal well-being, property damage and business continuity can be minimized. Informational awareness and planning truly are the first important step in successfully managing severe winter weather events.

Fall Yard Clean-Ups

Fall Yard Clean-Ups

Fall Yard Clean-Ups: Getting your Property Prepared & Ready for Winter

Despite our recent run of (finally!) “summer-like” temperatures and sunshine, the reality is that winter is just around the corner. This means that cold, snowy, blustery weather will be here before we know it. While the cooler winter weather can be a good excuse to wrap up warm and stay indoors, as a property owner or facility manager, you must be aware of how it can take a toll on your property’s condition and potentially create long term maintenance headaches.

There’s a lot to do to get ready! To make sure your home, building or properties are ready for winter, there are definitely some maintenance tasks that you should carry out, before the weather turns cold for good.

Have a Complete Fall Clean-Up Done
  • Rake the leaves: Dead leaves can interfere with your lawn’s ability to prepare itself for winter. Removing or mulching removes the leaves while allowing the spread of nutrients.
  • Fertilize: Your lawn’s final feeding is an important one. Fertilizing with a special autumn blend of nutrients helps grass roots stay strong and nourished throughout the winter.
  • Get a jump-start on your spring planting: Planting bulbs before the ground freezes can be great for growth when spring returns. Daffodils, hyacinth, tulips, and other flowers are excellent candidates for fall planting.
  • Clean out your gardens: If annuals are just left to die in your garden, you’re inviting trouble. Insects and other pests love to lay eggs in decayed plants. Don’t let them get a foothold; make sure your gardens are clean and clear.
  • Trim your trees. Trees with old, worn, or weak branches should be trimmed, especially those that hang over top of roofs and outbuildings. Branches can easily break under the weight of snow, and they can cause major damage to anything in their path.
  • Wrap with Burlap any shrubs or trees that require additional protection from the cold and damaging winds of winter in order to prevent die-off of expensive greenery

 

Clear out your gutters and check for Leaks

Autumn leaves can drop off surrounding trees and block your gutters and drains. This in turn increases the chance of flooding and damage to your roof. If the weather gets really cold, water trapped by leaves can freeze, causing potential leaks and other problems. Leaky downspouts or gutters can cause ice buildup on walkway areas with the freeze-thaw cycles we encounter each winter.

Check your heating system

Before it gets really cold is the time to look at your heating system and check it’s all in good working order. Not only will it work better, you’ll be able to catch any minor issues before they become bigger, more expensive ones. A well maintained heating system will also be more power efficient, helping you keep your winter electricity costs under control.

Does Your Property Have an Irrigation System?

Many residential and commercial properties have built-in irrigation systems. When the weather turns cold, it’s essential to have your sprinkler system properly drained and blown out with compressed air. This ensures that any trapped water will drain, reducing your chances of suffering a pipe burst.

It isn’t a good idea to perform irrigation system shut-downs and repairs without training. These tasks require advanced knowledge of system design and engineering, and even a small mistake can cause major damage. To avoid these risks, we recommend scheduling a proper shut-down with a proven service provider.

You don’t want to be dealing with problems when spring returns, so make sure your system is “winterized” and in good condition before the arrival of sub-zero temperatures.

Check seals on doors and windows

The seals around your doors and windows can deteriorate over time and if they aren’t in good condition, they may not work at keeping cold air out. Drafts and cold air coming in will increase your power costs, as your heating system will need to work harder to compensate.

 

Check your outdoor lighting

The longer winter nights mean that your house guests, employees and customers may well be entering and leaving your building in poor light or even darkness. Now is the time to check your lights work and replace or fix any bulbs that are broken.

Specific to Commercial Properties

Check your Parking Lots and Walkways 

All lots and walkways should be thoroughly inspected for hazards and existing damage before the first snowfall. When having a look, check for potholes, cracks and uneven pavement. These should be repaired before winter arrives to help reduce the likelihood of a trip & fall accident or water-pooling that can freeze-up and result in a slip & fall incident.

Upgrade your Lights, Stripes and Signs

Darkness falls early during the winter, and making sure your business is well-lit improves safety as well as visibility to customers. Parking lot striping and pavement markings should be refreshed to help guide vehicles along safely, and all walkways should have ample lighting.

Don’t leave it too late to get your commercial property ready for winter. A bit of time spent now can save you a lot more time and money in the months ahead.

Please let us know if we can be of any assistance in the weeks ahead!

– Ken Jorgenson

The Dos and Don’ts of Winter Snow Removal Contracts

The Dos and Don’ts of Winter Snow Removal Contracts

Commercial Snow Removal Contracts

Choosing the right Snow & Ice Management company to provide winter service for your property is often a difficult choice to make. After all, no two companies are created equally!

When deciding on which company to select for your winter grounds maintenance needs, you are essentially selecting which “contract” is best for you to accept, and therefore, you should feel comfortable with what that contract contains.

But what are the components of a “good” contract, and what should you look for before committing to your chosen winter service provider?

Components of a “Good” Contract

Remember, entering into a poorly written contract can leave you on the hook for not only sub-par service, but an increase in slip & fall insurance claims as well.

Fair

A good Snow & Ice maintenance contract should be fair to both the contractor and the property owner or manager, and should be highly detailed in regards to level of service, scope of the work (including detailed site maps), and explanations of the work that is to be completed.

Pricing

Pricing of services and any additional costs should be clear, concise and with detailed payment terms.

Clear

The contract should be worded so that any “hold harmless and indemnify” clauses apply only if the contractor is negligent or fails to perform work in accordance with the contracted work. In addition, a good contract should not be open to “interpretation” through vagueness or lack of detail.

 

 

The following table provides a few quick “Dos” and “Don’ts” that can be referenced when deciding which service contractor is best for your property.

CONTRACT “Dos”

CONTRACT “Don’ts”

1.Detailed “Terms & Conditions” that identify the duration of the contract (start & end dates) 1.Vague specifications that leave the scope of work open to interpretation
2. Contractor General Liability insurance of
$5 million or more and WSIB coverage (clearance certificate) for all workers
2. An agreement that is little more than just an invoice or bill of sale, with no proof of adequate liability insurance  or WSIB coverage
3. Detailed Scope of Service that clearly outlines the level & timing of service that is included as well as any additional service work that may be undertaken when authorized (in writing) 3. Entering into a snow & ice contract that does not clearly explain the timing of the service under any and all conditions could leave you open to a very slow service response without possible recourse
4. Detailed “site map” that clearly outlines the work to be performed, snow piling locations and hours of operation 4. A lack of, or poorly-detailed, identification of which areas are to be serviced could result in extra costs being applied without authorization
5. Clearly defined pricing and payment terms for work that is automatically included and for additional services that have been authorized to be performed 5. Hidden costs: look out for contracts with an attractive “base” price but with wording such as, “the contractor has the right to do what is necessary to keep the property safe at all times” which can lead to extra service calls and extreme, additional invoiced costs
6. Detailed description of what a “snow event” is, when and how the work will be performed, who is responsible for determining when services will be provided, and how & when melting products are applied 6. Lack of detail to when work will commence; for instance, “after it stops snowing” could mean anything, including 24-48 hours later, with application of de-icing products poorly timed
7. Identification of any areas or items that are to be excluded from the scope of service requirements 7. Without identifying these areas, you may be paying more than you should be if they were included in the pricing schedule
8. The ability for changes to be made to the contract with written agreement from both parties, as well as a “termination” clause (written notice) for both parties 8. Without a proper “termination” clause, you could be on the hook for those initial contract costs, even if a new contractor has been engaged to provide reliable service work

 

Summary

In summary, a good Snow & Ice Management contract should be fair to both parties, and be accurate in describing the work to be performed. It should also provide detailed pricing for service costs that are included and for those that are defined as “extra” to the agreement.

Finally, the contract should specifically describe when and how snow removal services will be performed throughout the length of the contract.

Please feel free to contact MPS for more information regarding winter service contracts.

 

Ken Jorgenson

 

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