January 19, 2021

Eight tips to preserve your building from the storm if you live in a neighborhood community


Madrid

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The storm Filomena filled with snow a large part of the Spanish cities, causing almost historical pictures. However, within the beauty that snow can stimulate, it can also cause very serious problems, such as road blocks, falling trees or damage to buildings. Regarding the latter, the Professional College of Property Administrators has drawn up a series of recommendations so that the neighborhood community buildings do not suffer too much from the consequences of this storm. Thus, it is recommended not to leave the house, not to use the elevators in case of power cuts, to store water in case supplies are cut and to keep the temperature of the house, among others. But in addition, it also lists a series of tips so that possible emergency situations are avoided in neighboring communities.

1.-Structural damage. Although the buildings constructed are calculated and prepared to withstand an overload of snow, the aging of the materials can generate structural safety problems in them. It is important to observe any type of fissure or crack that may appear during or in the days following this situation. Before the appearance of these pathologies, a specialist technician should be consulted to evaluate the situation.

Faced with a possible case of collapse of a structure, and given the situation in which we find ourselves, the affected persons must be evacuated, guaranteeing their safety. The actions to be carried out must be evaluated in the coming days.

2.-Exterior and interior facades. The accumulation of amounts of snow on exterior elements can cause them to fall. We refer to air conditioning equipment, planters, illuminated signs, unfolded awnings, satellite dishes, railings, window flashing, etc. In general, all those elements that are part of or protrude from the facade, and can store snow on them. It should be taken into account that the supports of these elements, in many cases, are not prepared to withstand the loads to which they are being subjected at the moment.

It is important to remove all the stored snow that generates excess weight on these elements. The removal of snow must be carried out with sufficient safety to ensure that it does not cause damage to pedestrians or lower houses.

3.-Sloped roofs. These must be prepared to withstand the load generated by the existing snowfall. Faced with problems in them, such as gutters in poor condition or problems generated by the movement of tiles, given the condition of the roof and the snow or ice existing on it, no type of intervention should be carried out, until access to it is possible.

In the event that ice stalactites are formed, and whenever possible from a safe element, it is advisable to remove these, before they can fall onto the public highway and cause damage.

4.-Flat roofs or roofs. A large amount of snow will have been stored in this type of roof, which will later turn into ice. It is convenient that, while the snow is white and can be handled, it is removed from the existing sinks so that the thaw that occurs in the coming days can be adequately removed the water generated.

5.-Pedestrian access. In the pedestrian accesses to the buildings, special attention must be paid to the pavements and the ramps built with slopes outside the regulations. Accessing buildings with wet feet can cause significant falls when stepping on the interior pavement of the portals. Likewise, special care must be taken with ramps with significant slopes, which may cause pedestrians to slip.

Faced with this situation, the pavement must be kept clean in the proper conditions to avoid slips and falls, or else, place elements that prevent this type of accident.

In the exterior areas of the buildings, access roads should be made, facilitating the passage of residents in it.

6.-Vehicle access. The exits and accesses of garages that are on ramps, either ascending or descending, must be cleaned, especially in the rolling area of ​​vehicles, in order to facilitate the exit of those who require it. As indicated by the authorities, vehicles must circulate with chains and avoid using them as much as possible.

7.-Installations. Due to the low temperatures it is possible that the water pipes or the measuring elements of these, remain frozen, interrupting the supply to the houses, and generating the non-habitability of the same. To avoid these problems, it is important to check the protection of the cabinet where the meter is housed, checking that it is well insulated and with the door properly closed. If not, it is advisable to protect it with elements that prevent the cold from affecting it, such as wool, fiberglass or newspaper in large quantities, polyurethane foam, etc. that covers the entire meter, as well as its inlet and outlet pipes. In the event that the meter is already frozen, it will be advisable to apply dry heat, indirectly heating its surface, until it is defrosted, and the water passes correctly.

In the case of facilities that are not going to be used for a while, it is convenient to close the stopcock, and empty the interior installation.

8.-Gardens and outdoor areas. Special care must be taken in wooded areas. The accumulation of snow on the branches of the same is causing the fall of large fragments. It is important to remove the branches with danger of falling. If this is not possible, it is important to try to mark the area in order to avoid going under trees.

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