The weather during the winter months can be harsh and unpredictable, leaving sites vulnerable to all Mother Nature has to throw at them. Here, Peter Jackson, Managing Director for Jacksons Fencing, provides advice on how to prepare and protect your commercial premises from the challenges of this winter. A recent study revealed that severe weather is the top cause of disruption to British businesses, but managers continue to underestimate it as a threat. In the past, the winter weather has resulted in the British economy losing over £1 billion a day due to gridlocked motorways, empty restaurants, and idle diggers.
Winter weather can cause serious impairment and potentially disrupt your business, therefore preparing in advance will help prevent profit loss, as well as damage to physical buildings and offices.
Weathering The Storm
With snow likely in the coming months, it’s crucial to control the impact that it has on fencing. Clearing snow away not only prolongs the longevity of perimeter fencing but also reduces associated maintenance costs. When it comes to metal fencing, if it’s galvanised and powder coated, it will be durable against the elements, however, damage can be caused if it is left standing in the snow for long periods. It’s particularly important to move any snowfall away from timber fencing too, although if gravel boards have been used on the site it will be able to withstand more, up to the height of the gravel board. Removing the snow quickly after it has fallen will also prevent any ice from building up, which can cause wood to easily warp, crack, or break, ruining its structure. Concrete posts are particularly susceptible to freezing. If they have cracks, water can get in and freeze, causing bigger cracks and damage. Timber fence posts that have been correctly dried and treated for in ground use will be much more durable and flexible to changing conditions.
Any boards or advertising signs that are attached to the fence should be reviewed, as these could be used as footholds for intruders or criminals to climb over. Additionally, any bins, large objects, or nearby installations located by the fencing should also be moved as these can be used as climbing aids. For any permanent structures that cannot be moved, consider adding security toppings to the fence in this area as a deterrent.
Lights, Camera, Action
During winter, it gets dark far earlier, so it is important to regularly check your outdoor lighting systems. Adequate lighting can increase security and improve safety after dark by reducing the threat of crime and intruders. According to LED Magazine, lighting systems can reduce crime rates by as much as 39% so make sure to set the system to come on at the right times.
Carrying out site walks can also aid your business’ security protocols during the winter months. Check for signs of damage, any pales missing, and signs of wear or tear on the fixings and connectors of fences.
Installing CCTV as well as lighting systems is another preventative to the threat of crime. In addition, foliage should be trimmed to provide the CCTV with clear lines of sight at all times.
A Thorough Assessment
It is also worth regularly checking the gates installed around the site. Latches and hinges can easily freeze during the colder months. You can avoid this by greasing them.
Certain fencing, such as mesh and vertical bar fencing, are better suited to colder climates as they allow the elements to pass through. However, it’s important to regularly check the ground is secure and solid as fixing any leaning fencing will require digging into existing foundations and re-concreting around it – simply check by pushing against each post.
One last check to consider is changing the automated systems for gates and barriers. The hours that they open will probably need to be tweaked during the winter months. Remember you’ll probably have to change the times again over the Christmas period too. A good tip is to consider giving authorised personnel key passes for the gates rather than keeping them open at all times, as this will significantly increase your security measures.
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