What Is a Spring Walkabout and Why Are They Important?

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Spring has finally arrived in Edmonton and with its delayed arrival, people can now see the remnants of winter’s damage.

There are new potholes along the roads, broken branches on trees, damaged facades on buildings, and the list goes on. Properties throughout the city may be showing signs of damage sustained last season.

It’s easy to understand why inspecting a building’s exterior is necessary at the start of new seasons—especially when you factor in winter’s cold temperatures and the fall of ice and snow. Consider that the rate of deterioration for properties is between 1% to 2% annually; that number goes up to 4% when owners don’t conduct regular preventive maintenance.

The condominium board of directors is tasked with doing this inspection, or walkabout. During a walkabout, checking the following common areas for visible damage is emphasized.

Walkways

When water or snow get into small fissures on concrete, stone, or wood, it freezes and expands, thereby cracking and splitting the material. This effect leaves behind obvious signs of wear and tear. Coupled with the use of de-icing salt on our roads and sidewalks, even more damage is done to pathways.

It’s easy to check sidewalks, walkways, stairs, and driveways for visible damage like holes or cracks while conducting a spring walkabout. Condo owners should remember that poorly maintained pathways must be free of cracks and holes to avoid potential slips and falls.

Properly caring for pathways once spring starts prevents even more irreparable damage from occurring to these walkways. 

Support Structures

With added moisture and wind, a building’s roof, flashing, rain gutters, balconies, and door and window seals will have had a rough time this winter.

Snow accumulation on a roof creates more pressure on these structures. This added weight can lead to leaks in the roof, which could potentially create a ripple of effects throughout the building.

Looking for obvious signs of distress along the roof and other support structures is a smart idea. The sooner these problem areas are detected, the sooner they can be fixed.

Trees

With the unusually prolonged winter in Edmonton this past season, it’s likely that trees suffered winter damage, too.

This damage was most likely caused by heavy snowfall, strong winds, and possible exposure to de-icing salt. When the damage to trees is detected, owners can take a proactive approach to pruning and removing the damage.

Paying close attention to any delayed damage is also important, as some winter damage won’t become obvious until early spring. Be a proactive owner and help save the plants around your building.

Pipes

The combination of icy temperatures and snow could potentially freeze a building’s pipes, which could lead to cracks or, worse, shattering.

Over the course of the winter months, this damage might not be obvious. However, with the increase in temperatures, the winter thaw could show some telltale signs of pipe damage.

Checking pipes, water faucets, and irrigation systems for leaks should be incorporated into a walkabout. When building owners ignore these problems, their insurance provider might not want to cover them for the damages, so it’s important to check for leaks.

Parkade

Similar to walkway and sidewalk damage, concrete in a parkade is incompatible with de-icing salt.

Not only does de-icing salt deteriorate concrete, but the added moisture in a parkade is detrimental. Large puddles are created once snow on cars melts and gathers. This water weakens the surface of your asphalt.

Sweeping the parkade is the first thing to do once spring begins. In doing so, finding damages will be much easier. Watching out for cracks and uneven concrete is important, so these damages can get fixed sooner.

Related post: A Before Winter Apartment Maintenance Checklist

Doing a spring walkabout helps condo owners evaluate and inspect the common areas surrounding their property. The simple act of inspecting and maintaining a building can reduce the cost of emergency repairs, which benefits everyone.

Property management

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