Winter, it starts off as a cosy novelty. ‘Tis the season of twinkling lights, snow-dusted streets, and snuggling up in front of the TV. Yet, as anyone in the building trade knows, it’s also very much the season of burst pipes, malfunctioning heating systems, and a slew of other household emergencies!
It seems that when the temperature drops, the number of DIY attempts and following call-outs to professionals also skyrockets. A heads up to you all: these are the calls you’re likely to receive in the months to come! Are you ready?
Did you know that ‘escape of water’ damage is one of the most common claims an insurer will see?The average claim for burst pipe damage is between £6,500 and £7,500, according to the Association of British Insurers. Why not help your clients prepare for winter now, by offering a review of their pipes and taps, ensuring you have some lagging in the back of your van.
For those who haven’t noticed leaky pipes, now is the time they’ll spot them as that familiar musty smell builds up. It can be easy to ignore as heating goes on, windows get closed as condensation starts to build up. While there are some things your clients can do to help, be prepared to get down and dirty on the damproofing.
Instead of bleeding a radiator or checking for faults, some homeowners believe that wrapping it in towels will help distribute the heat better. That example aside, you have probably witnessed a range of interesting quick radiator fixes in the past whether to avoid bleeding them, mopping up leaks or weird and wonderful ‘energy savings hacks’ like this that could cause damage. With many still using their heating far less than in years gone by, be prepared to not only bleed radiators this winter, but offer some helpful, safe advice on energy efficiency while repairing some of those quick fixes and hacks.
We know the idea is that we homeowners should maintain a roof all year round to avoid issues in winter. But, the truth is that a) the summer goes quickly and b) most people only notice issues when their home is either colder or wetter, or in the worst case scenario, both. Get that shingle on order as this is the most comms of all roof repairs, quickly followed by gutters damaged by ice and storms. It could be worth sharing the importance of winter roof readiness on your social channels now, to help avoid any calamities as the weather worsens.
When winter’s chill sets in, the appeal of a roaring fireplace is hard to resist. But, for some, a quick hack to get it up and running fast could, quite literally, backfire. Instead of opting for proper chimney sweeps, or having it blocked up professionally, some homeowners take matters into their own hands stuffing all sorts up a chimney to either clear it, or block it. The resulting dust can cause a number of health problems, or poor cleaning can result in chimney fires, so encourage your clients to hire the experts if this isn’t your area of expertise.
But it can be the other end of the chimney that is the biggest problem, which most wouldn’t stop to think about. A high percentage of roof leaks are found to be around the flashing on a chimney stack, and with the storms we have had this Autumn, you may find that the flashing has been ripped off entirely and that it’s not just the missing tile that’s causing those sudden leaks.
Or, it may be that you are pulled into the RAAC schools concrete saga
It’s likely that tradespeople will get more calls this winter in light of the ongoing RAAC (Reinforced Autoclaved Aerated Concrete) saga. This material, initially lauded for its lightweight and insulating properties, was widely used in the construction of schools, hospitals, and other public buildings from the 1960s to 1980s. However, as these buildings age, concerns have arisen about the longevity and safety of RAAC, particularly in cold, damp conditions.
This has led to a spike in call outs for professionals to inspect, repair, or replace these aging structures, especially during the winter months when moisture and freeze-thaw cycles can exacerbate existing issues. For those in the building trade, it’s crucial to be aware of these challenges and to be prepared to offer solutions this winter.
Moreover, as this issue expands to include hospitals and other facilities, there’s a genuine need for professionals such as yourself to make institutions aware of your expertise in this area. Engaging in local workshops, offering consultations, and being active in industry discussions can help position you as a go-to expert.
For even more ways to make your business stand out, check out our top tips!
Tales of the unexpected
With the winter months comes some odd and unexpected requests.
Apparently, 23% of traders have been called out to do simple tasks such as hanging pictures, turning on taps, or putting the heating on during the winter months.
The last thing you need over winter is an unexpected breakdown, or an ice-related injury, so pre-empt any winter calamities of your own and talk to our commercial insurance experts to make sure you’re effectively covered while you’re out there, in the elements and in demand. Simply give us a call, or head into your local branch.
Sources: Daily Mail, MyJobQuote, Daily Mirror, SweepSmart, news.com.au