Belinda Thorpe, Managing Director of Residentsline, advises on how to best maintain your block during winter.
Long periods of extreme weather are likely to cause damage to property, whether due to floods, strong winds or gales. Blocks of flats are also more subject to storm damage due to their height, so regularly property maintenance is key.
Although storms are frequently mentioned on the news, it always helps if you can go the extra mile and do your own research on how to prepare your block ahead of time. Below are a few things that you may find helpful to consider.
Flat roofs generally have a ten-year guarantee; however, you should still obtain regular checks to ensure they remain in pristine condition. Once the guarantee has ended, an annual roof check from a roofing or building company is recommended. Your insurance company will normally request a copy of this report along with confirmation that any maintenance has been completed, if required.
Take a walk around your block and note any trees that look unstable – they can blow over and damage cars, walls, gates or even pedestrians. Also, remove any branches which are not secure.
Leaves and other residue can build up in the gutters and prevent the efficient flow of rainwater. Uncared-for guttering can be time-consuming, inconvenient and expensive to replace. Damp caused by blocked gutters can cause problems inside the house as well as attract algae and mould to brickwork and rendering. For many homes, a clear-out once every two or three years is the best policy. If you have lots of trees around or a mossy roof, then an annual clear-out may be required.
Give fences a quick shake to make sure they are secure, as they are often blown down in high winds.
Garden furniture, pots and ornaments
Garden furniture and plant pots can often lead to smashed windows and other damages when picked up in a strong wind. Where possible, store them away until the weather calms down.
Ensure your external pipes are insulated, empty any water features and cover up your lawnmowers or other mechanical items. If you are going away for a period of time, consider turning off your stop cock and, most importantly, make sure that everyone knows how to turn it off in the event of a leak. Make sure you and others in your block know how to contact your insurer out of hours – water can do a lot of damage if left leaking overnight.
Lastly, be a good neighbour and let the owners know if you see anything that may need attention. Often flat owners can view walls, roofs etc. from different viewpoints that could help avoid a disaster.