Author Archives: nmboc

Preventing Winter Roof Collapse

The unusually warm winter in the Northeast may have led many retail facility managers to be lax with their battle plans to guard against snow and roof collapse. But recent snowstorms caused more than a few roof collapses, and several retail facility managers called us to fix the issue. We’re always ready to help, but we understand that roof collapses probably don’t factor into yearly budget, and can endanger lives. It’s not too late to prevent roof collapse during winter weather events.

Prior to the next snowstorm—and ideally before the winter starts—you should ensure that building roofs have the adequate load capacity for impending snowfall. Builds should be thoroughly inspected for damage and cracks, and drains and gutters should be cleared in order to prevent ice accumulation, which contributes to roof collapse. Also be aware that standing seam metal roofs and wood bowstring truss roofs have inherent structural problems that could put your building at greater risk for roof collapse. All repairs on any issues that you find should be performed in the fall, well ahead of winter storm season.

Once winter arrives, you should have a snow removal plan in place. Set up a system to monitor expected snowfall and closely track it as it happens. Once your snow removal plan is needed, it should be performed by trained individuals who will use the correct equipment and the most efficient methods of removal. Additionally, exits, fire hydrants and utility valves remain should unblocked during removal process Have your removal plan reviewed by a structural engineer or roofing contractor before making it official. And—importantly—know the warning signs of collapse so that you know when to leave if you suspect collapse is imminent.

In addition to a snow removal plan, have a contingency plan in case of an emergency in which the roof does, in fact, collapse. Your plan should include relocation strategies and assurance that you will turn off gas, water and electric utilities as well as sprinkler systems. Report claims and damaged to an insurance company immediately so that you incur the fewest expenses. Afterwards, don’t despair over the damage. Call a build-out company (we are one of the leading national facilities maintenance companies) that offers emergency repair and demolition services to secure the area, clean up and build out a structurally sound building.

Winterization Tips for Maintaining Your Commercial Property

“Winter is coming.” Are you getting as tired of hearing that phrase and acknowledging its relevance as we are? Unfortunately, it’s a warning that should be heeded by all commercial and retail business owners and operators, especially in the frigid Northeast, where storms have been known to wreak havoc throughout the unpredictable season. Case in point, every 5 inches of old snow that accumulates on an establishment’s roof is equal to 5 pounds per square foot, and, when it reaches a depth of 2 feet, it could mean major renovations and/or the need for a new roof.

Hopefully we will have a calm winter season, blessed with little to no snowfall, and, in the happenstance that a miracle of such proportions will not grace the Northeast, that you will not allow such an accumulation to occur. Either way, by winterizing your commercial property, you can prepare for whatever surprises Mother Nature can throw our way this year.

Perform a Winterization Check

This detail-intensive task ensures that pipes don’t freeze, winter bills stay manageable and customers and clients stay comfortable:

– Check for any outdoor lighting issues, including broken fixtures and underground wiring breaks. Winter means shorter days and an increased reliance on lighting, make sure visitors know you are open and can easily navigate the trip from their car to your door.
– Check the winterization of your pipes, and turn off and drain outdoor spigots, to help prevent them from freezing and rupturing.
– Perform boiler startups, and consider having your heating system inspected and cleaned to ensure a warm office/store when the temperatures drop to unbearable. Then turn on those heaters to help your clients and customers comfortably defrost and enjoy their time in your space.
– Winterize overhead and service doors and check every door to make sure they close properly; this will keep your heating bills a bit more manageable.
– Consider installing self-regulating roof, gutter and downspout deicing cables to prevent the aforementioned accumulation hazards.

Clear Access Points as Necessary

If clients and customers cannot get through your doors, you might as well keep them closed for the season. And, if your sidewalks and access points are not cleared regularly and within reason during snowfalls, you risk the potential for slip and fall lawsuits. No sane business owner wants either of those things. That’s why it is crucial that you remove snow and ice from your parking lots and walkways as often as possible during storms and in their aftermath. Not only will your bottom line thank you, but so will your customers AND employees.

Don’t Forget about the Interior Walkways

So, you’ve hired a company to make sure your parking lot and walkways remain clear, and you regularly throw salt down on the sidewalks and in front of the entryway to reduce, and hopefully eliminate, accidents. Job done, right? Wrong. As customers, clients and employees enter your establishment, they track in that salt, as well as water and snow, leaving another potential slip hazard. Consider strategic rug placements and ensure that all employees stay aware of the area and its maintenance needs.

Solve These Common Challenges to Commercial Property Maintenance

Maintenance tips for your retail business and commercial space are always great, that’s why we’ve been concentrating on them for our blogs lately. Taking care of your space lets your customers and clientele know that you care about their comfort and experience and that you will take care of them in turn. But what about the maintenance processes that require an independent team, like engineering and parking services? If a problem were to occur during these common facility maintenance procedures, how would you handle it to ensure that it never affects your customers?

Maintenance issues are inevitable, much like death and taxes – so, don’t stress out when one presents itself. Keep calm and follow this advice:

Engineering Service Issues


Challenge: The costs for engineering repairs, whether HVAC systems or structural fixtures, can be astronomical, climbing to upwards of tens of thousands of dollars.

Solution: First and foremost, check out and follow our blog, and other industry-appropriate news, for preventive maintenance tips; they are the key to ensuring the mechanical aspects of your building don’t break down unexpectedly, and that any structural issues are found before they get too big. Create a schedule for preventive maintenance, just like the janitorial maintenance schedule; if properly inspected and cared for, the need for emergency fixes that aren’t budgeted out is reduced considerably.

In the worst case scenario, contact a building maintenance company you can trust to perform your engineering maintenance needs. At NMBOC, we know that commercial buildings are the lifeblood of companies, and are thus committed to providing the highest quality of work at affordable prices, ensuring that we always work within a client’s budget and timeline.

Parking Service Issues

NMBOC - Parking Issues

Challenge #1: Winter is coming – a parking lot packed with snow can prevent employees and customers from accessing your store.

Solution: Contract with a reputable company that will not only provide professional snow removal services, but that will monitor the weather and be prepared to clear your lot before you even realize you need them to. Make sure they are also prepared to clear your walkways and put down salt for both pedestrian and driver safety.

Challenge #2: Dark parking garages can make people uneasy, especially if your store/office keeps later hours.

Solution: Consider hiring a security guard and make his presence known, as a properly trained guard will maintain order and safety, as well as make customers and employees feel more comfortable. You should also strongly consider installing security cameras and emergency phones, and keeping lights on at all times, or at least a few hours past business hours.

4 Basic Commercial Property Maintenance Tips for Anytime of Year

Last month we talked about fall maintenance tips and, now that you’ve taken care of the pressing issues, we thought we’d continue the trend and take a step back to discuss the basic tips for commercial property maintenance that you can, and should, complete throughout the year. With in-depth experience backed by more than 20 years in the commercial retail service management industry, we have seen the extreme benefits that proper facility maintenance can bring to a business. First impressions start the moment a customer gets out of their car and continue as they open your doors and step into your space. You want to make sure they open that door, and that they not only stay inside, but make it to your checkout counter. One of the most important steps to creating a lasting impression that will turn into word-of-mouth recommendations is facility maintenance that keeps your location looking clean, organized and inviting.

1. Start with the Exterior of Your Building. If you can’t get the customers into your store, your business will fail faster than a moped with jet fuel. Repair or replace anything damaged, whether it’s your display window, signage, door handle or roof. Be ready to touch up the paint and landscaping as well.

2. Move It Inside. Unless you are a master negotiator and added clauses about maintenance and upkeep into your lease, the responsibility falls on you as the location’s tenant and store owner. Take cues from your outdoor evaluations, look for things that are damaged, broken or that need touchups, then fix them. This includes the paint, flooring, furnishings and light fixtures, you want your space to look safe, clean and intriguing in order to pull customers in past the doors and through your aisles.

3. Don’t Stop There – Remember the Details. Just because your store now looks stylish and your customers are tumbling over each other to get through the door, doesn’t mean that they will make a purchase on the way out. Keep them there by focusing on the details – the fitting rooms, restrooms, elevators and any noticeable breakrooms. Make sure they’re clean, with a touch of elegance. Customers will notice that you paid attention to the intricate details that ensure their comfort and will make sure others know about it too, as they show off their new merchandise and rave about the store they bought it from.

4. Don’t Neglect Your Utilities. Heating and air conditioning units, water heaters and any other utilities that you depend on need to be checked and maintained regularly to keep those comfort levels up, not just for your customers, but your all-important employees too. Your property should be warm in the winter, cool in the summer and your bathrooms should work properly as well as look nice.

By properly maintaining your commercial property, you can effectively preserve its value while increasing revenues and mitigating costs. However, if any of this sounds too daunting, or your space is in dire need of a larger overhaul to bring it back to inviting, give us a call. Our team of professional dispatchers, operations personnel and technicians will work tirelessly to give your retail space a competitive edge, based on your unique needs and within your preferred timeframes and budget. Whether you need scheduled preventive checkups or emergency services due to unforeseen circumstances, we will be there for you.

5 Essential Commercial Property Maintenance Tips for Fall

It’s official, fall is coming, and it’s coming quickly. School gear is being purchased in bulk, last minute vacations are being taken to squeeze out the final remnants of summer and hot weather, and fall apparel and gear have hit the stores in preparation for the cooler air and shorter days. Take the hint and start your own preparations to make sure your commercial property is ready for the changing seasons.

Check Your Gutters – The season is known as “Fall” for a reason, leaves are going to change color and fall from the trees in bulk, and that means a lot more than increased sweeping and vacuuming inside as they are tracked in on shoes. The biggest threat that comes from all of those falling leaves and debris is to your gutter system. Make sure it’s clear so that water will flow freely away from your building when it rains and pours. This simple step will go a long way towards preventing roof leaks and flooding.

Check Your Heaters – Avoid surprises by checking to make sure your heater works before the first cold snap. This means checking on the pilot light, oil levels (if applicable) and furnace filters, as well as having an HVAC expert come in for a seasonal checkup. Not only will your employees and customers thank you, but these steps can help ensure your heating unit will work better and last longer.

Check Your Water Pipes – Exposed water pipes should regularly be checked for leaks, but fall is also a good time to examine the insulation and make sure it’s prepared for colder weather. Prevent frozen and burst pipes in the winter by conducting a quick check in the fall and fixing any inadequacies.

Prevent Electrical and Fire Problems – Have an electrician come in and perform a maintenance check on your electrical system to ensure it’s prepared for the increased usage that fall demands. Shorter and colder days mean more lighting and the possible addition of space heaters, and you don’t want to blow a fuse when clients are around! While you’re at it – check your smoke detectors and their batteries (ideally once a month, but in the spring and fall at the least), and any emergency generators (which should be started once a week so they don’t remain idle too long, transfer load tested every month and full load tested once a year).

Create a Snow/Ice Removal Plan – Just as the summer zooms by at uncontrollable speeds, winter will be here before you know it. Be proactive and ensure you have a service provider ready to clear the snow and ice from your parking lot and property now, that way customer access is never impeded and you’re not put on a waiting list behind the ill-prepared businesses.

Should your roof start to leak or something else come up that requires building maintenance or repairs, don’t hesitate to call in a professional as quickly as possible. Leaving even minor problems unchecked for too long may result in you having to shut down your business temporarily or inconvenience your customers in order to fix the problem. At NMBOC, we’re not just retail construction contractors, we have more than 20 years of experience conducting professional facility maintenance for retail businesses, and are just a call away when you need a helping hand.