More Rain, More Snow What About The Hidden Costs
The Cost of Wetter UK Winters
In recent years, the UK has experienced a noticeable increase in autumn and winter rainfall, a trend attributed to the ever-present influence of climate change. Warmer air holds more moisture, leading to heavier and more frequent downpours, especially during the colder months. This increase in rainfall has placed a significant strain on UK infrastructure, highlighting the crucial role of outdoor maintenance in ensuring the safety and functionality of infrastructure.
Heavy rain can overwhelm drainage systems, causing rivers to burst their banks and flood homes, businesses, and roads. In 2015, for example, Storm Desmond caused widespread flooding in the UK, with Cumbria being particularly badly affected. Rain erodes soil, weakening the foundations of bridges, roads, and buildings. In 2013, a section of the M5 motorway in Devon was closed after heavy rain caused a landslide that damaged a bridge. Flooding, landslides, and erosion can all disrupt transport networks, making it difficult for people to get to work, school, and other essential services. In 2014, Storm Imogen caused widespread travel disruption in the UK, with many roads and railways being closed.
Outdoor maintenance is becoming ever more important due to climate change. In recent years, the UK has experienced a noticeable shift in its winter weather patterns, with an increasing trend towards more rainfall. The 10 wettest winters on record in the UK have all occurred since 1961, and the average winter rainfall in the UK has increased by 10% since the 1960s.
This change not only impacts daily life and increases the potential for winter snowfall, but also underscores the critical importance of outdoor maintenance in the business-to-business (B2B) sector. From clearing gutters to repairing potholes and unblocking drains, outdoor maintenance tasks are becoming more vital than ever in ensuring smooth business operations despite the challenges posed by the changing climate.
Increased Rainfall and Its Impact on Outdoor Maintenance
As the winter rains become more frequent and intense, the strain on commercial and industrial facilities also becomes apparent. Removing leaves and clearing gutters are required tasks, as clogged drainage systems can lead to water damage, affecting the structural integrity of buildings and compromising the safety of employees and visitors. Slippery leaves cause slips and trips, potentially leading to lawsuits. Neglecting gutter maintenance during the rainy season can result in leaks, water ingress, ice dams and mildew growth, all of which can be detrimental to the longevity of a facility.
Moss thrives in moist environments, and its presence on walls can trap moisture against the surface, creating an ideal breeding ground for mildew. As moss absorbs moisture, it expands and contracts with changes in temperature and humidity. Without moss removal, the constant expansion and contraction can put pressure on the walls, causing cracks and fissures over time. In severe cases, this can lead to structural weakening of the walls.
Repairing potholes takes on a new level of significance in the wetter winter climate. The constant exposure to rain and the freeze-thaw cycle can exacerbate existing tarmac damage, leading to hazardous conditions for visitors, suppliers, staff and cars. Timely pothole repairs not only contribute to the safety of those using facility car parks and roads, but also prevent further deterioration that will always result in more extensive and costly repairs in the long run.
Drain maintenance becomes a priority as heavy rainfall increases the likelihood of waterlogging and flooding. Blocked drains can exacerbate these issues, posing a threat to the functionality of facilities and disrupting day-to-day operations. Blocked drains also lead to pooling, which in turn increases the likeliness of pothole damage in the spring. A proactive approach to drain maintenance is essential to prevent costly water damage and ensure that businesses can continue to operate smoothly, regardless of the weather conditions.
The Role of Outdoor Maintenance in Business Continuity
In the face of the changing climate, businesses need to recognise the growing importance of regular outdoor maintenance to ensure the continuity of their operations. Regular inspections, preventive measures, and swift responses to weather-related challenges can help businesses navigate the complexities of the evolving climate.
Addressing these issues reactively, as they arise, can be costly and disruptive. Instead, adopting a proactive approach to outdoor maintenance is essential to minimise the impact of increased rainfall and prevent costly repairs. Regular gutter cleaning, scheduled pothole repairs, and preventive drain maintenance can significantly reduce the risk of water-related damage. By implementing these measures, facility managers can ensure the safety and functionality of buildings and public spaces, even in the face of challenging weather conditions.
While proactive outdoor maintenance may seem like an additional expense, it is a worthwhile Timely repairs and preventive measures extend the lifespan of your outdoor infrastructure, reducing the need for costly replacements. Moreover, well-maintained business facilities contribute to a more pleasant and productive environment for occupants, whether they are employees, suppliers, or visitors. A well-maintained facility reflects professionalism and care, enhancing the overall reputation of the organisation or property
As the UK experiences more rainy winters, mundane facility maintenance tasks such as clearing gutters, repairing potholes, and unblocking drains have become critical for the B2B sector. Proactive maintenance not only safeguards facilities against weather-related damage but also ensures the seamless operation of businesses. Embracing the challenges posed by changing weather patterns and addressing them through effective facility management is key to building resilient and sustainable business environments in the face of climate change.
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