With the slight temperature drop and rapid reduction in humidity on the way, gulf coast residents say goodbye to the and begin preparing for winter. In commercial real estate management, this produces it’s own set of challenges and opportunity. Luckily, unlike our friends to the north, we are not plowing parking lots and shoveling sidewalks. We are getting ready for the few days of freezing weather and holiday shopping season. We normally will use this time of slower tourism to complete any large or invasive repairs and ensure all of the preventative maintenance is up to date.
Preparing for cold weather is normally a quick process in this latitude, as we only have a handful of freezing weather days. Ensuring backflows and water systems have been inspected, all exterior pipes are insulated and meters are working properly are good first steps. It is also very important to have any chimneys and other exhaust vents inspected to prevent carbon monoxide backup, as well as checking the exterior walls and windows for leaks and cracks that would let in cold air. Always test all heating systems on a weekend, far in advance of the cold weather to ensure that there is no delay in service.Smoke and fire systems will need to be certified, and this time of year is the perfect opportunity. If these items have been completed, you should be on good footing to weather the storms.
Using the slower, winter time to complete capital projects is a great way to lessen the impact to the tenants. This time is usually better for contractors as they are traditionally slower in the winter. I like to schedule all major items possible in the January to April time frame as businesses are normally at their slowest during these months. Make a plan and communicate frequently to ensure the best outcome.
The northern gulf coast enjoys some of the best weather of the year during the winter months. Don’t waste it handling problems that could have been avoided with a little bit of preventative maintenance in the fall.