As so much of the UK’s workforce are self-isolating or working from home at the moment, many commercial properties like office spaces have been left unoccupied. As well as the obvious financial problems this raises, there can also be a knock-on effect in terms of property maintenance. Left unchecked, an empty building can develop serious issues that may come back to bite you at a later date. While it’s essential to work safely within social distancing restrictions, it’s also important to try and give your property a regular once over to spot potential issues. Here are a few pointers on how to ensure your empty commercial property remains well-maintained during the Covid-19 lockdown.
- Do a thorough external assessment
Consider all the usual external property issues that have a habit of cropping up, especially in the changeable spring weather. Are the gutters clogged up? Are there any obvious signs of missing tiles or other roofing issues? Is the concrete and paving in good condition? Are there strange things nesting where they shouldn’t be? Unoccupied commercial properties are also a magnet for thieves, so keep an eye out for broken doors, locks or windows and anything else that looks out of place.
- Check for internal leaks
Water leaks can cause a huge amount of damage when they go unnoticed. Give your heating and water systems a thorough once over and check pipes and drains. Get up into the loft and make sure your roof isn’t compromised and examine door and window seals. If you don’t check often or are worried about leaks, you might opt to switch the stopcocks off altogether. In the short term, it’s your call, however switching heating and water systems off can cause problems in the long term. There may also be workers using the building intermittently, so bear that in mind. Keeping the heating on low will help avoid burst pipes as it can still get pretty chilly at night at this time of year.
- Test your electrics
In a commercial property there will usually be electrical systems and appliances that need to stay running. Giving the electrics and appliances a once over will help identify flag up potential hazards and which non-essential appliances can be switched off.
- Check your drains
Although the drainage system won’t be in use as much as it would be when the building is occupied, no one wants a drain disaster (especially one that could go unnoticed for a while). So, check sinks and toilets and make sure drains are debris-free and running freely. With all the toilet roll madness that Coronavirus has prompted, drain blockages from things like kitchen roll and baby wipes have increased. Whether you or the local water authority have responsibility for the drainage, blockages and repairs need to be spotted in good time or things could get messy fast.
Keep your building in good repair with specialist commercial property maintenance contractors
It’s a strange and worrying time for many businesses. No one knows how long the current Covid-19 restrictions will continue and the full economic effects. Weighing up financial uncertainty against necessary ongoing costs is something many companies are grappling with. However, the potential higher cost of property deterioration versus running or emergency repairs is something every commercial property building manager needs to consider. Regular building checks, where practical, and reliable emergency support is key.
If you’d like to find out more about how our property maintenance and repairs teams could help you, get in touch with our helpdesk. We’ve changed our working practices to bring us in line with current government Coronavirus guidelines and are happy to help where we safely able to.