It doesn’t take long for a building to show its age or fall into disrepair, so owning a commercial property requires a commitment to maintenance and keeping an ongoing service schedule in place. There are some tasks that you do in the winter to prepare for the summer and there are some you do in the summer to prepare for those cold dark winter months. Below is a list of summer tasks you can work on for your property and hopefully give you less winter maintenance issues down the road.
1. Airflow – It seems like during the winter months when it is really cold out we spend more time trying to get the rooms to be equally heated and the warm air kept in. When it is nice out and its easier to access rooftop units and you are not tracking snow in and out, have your vac tech work out those airflow issues you seem to battle each year. Sometimes its just poor duct design or a zoning issue but if new lines are needed this is the best time to do so. Also, check exterior door seals. They can dry up and lose their effectiveness over time but it sure beats replacing them on a cold day. Lastly check door closers and pressure. Many times a door will stay ajar too long or really not completely close all the way, so having your contractor spend a little time adjusting these to a perfect timely fit can keep the cold air inside and save a little bit on discomfort and a heat bill.
2. Flooring – During the winter, especially in Indiana we get snow and ice which requires ice melt in all walk ways. The summer is a great time to hire a floor refinisher to strip, clean and re wax entryways. This will not only make your floors look much better but when people continue to track in ice melt from the outdoors, you will have a nice hard coated surface to protect from damage. Newly refinished floors can be beautiful and when the right maintenance can withstand any weather or hard materials that they may be exposed to.
3. Dumpster pads – One of the first telling parts of a commercial property is the dumpster pad condition. You can tell a lot about a building owner based on bad the dumpster pad looks during the summer. When its warm out and the pad is warm from the suns heat, give that thing a detailing. Scrub and degrease the surface both ground and sides if they exist, then rinse with a high pressure washer. Check any gates or enclosures that they are working properly and would still open and close with 6 inches of snow on the ground. Also, make sure the water is traveling away from the pad. Many people get injured because a dumpster pad holds water in the winter and they slip throwing trash up over the dumpster walls.
4. Roof – You roof is very flexible during the summer and much easier to traverse during the warmer months. Have your roofing contractor do a full inspection during the summer to make sure draining and pooling is correct. During the winter snow can sit on your roof and seep into the smallest of cracks to create a leak into the space below. Doing your best to make sure that water keeps moving and leaving the roof can help the lifespan and avoid expensive emergency repairs. Many contractors do this for a small fee which is well worth it to catch a problem before it gets bad.
So as you have just read there are many things you can be doing during the summer months that help prevent problems during cold weather. A good maintenance program is year round and many of the repairs are not seasonal but just good for the building. Take the time to know what problems seem to pop up and how you can prevent them in the future. If you have a full time maintenance person or team, spend some time coming up with an annual schedule for maintenance inside and out and keep a calendar for follow through.
Curt has been in the Indianapolis Real Estate business for over 10 years and spent his first years learning all aspects of commercial management and brokerage. He has had great success in managing existing commercial projects and new retail and office developments. Curt specializes in building owner representation and purchases in the Westfield Indiana market as well throughout the Indianapolis Metro area. Curt is passionate about growing the local Westfield community and in his free time volunteers with Westfield Youth Assistance and raising 2 children with his wife Jennifer.