Signs of Spring: When spring finally rolls around, there is a lot to be done around your stores’ exteriors.

Signs of Spring: When spring finally rolls around, there is a lot to be done around your stores’ exteriors.

RED LIGHT
Winter gives you and your landscaping the red light and when spring rolls around there is much to do. Inspections are key. This is an ideal time to assess damage and invest in repairs. Especially in snowy regions, where there may be damage to asphalt and other hard surfaces, aesthetic issues or hazards to safety created. Spring is also a good time to look for early signs of pest and/or infestation. But before anything can be done, it is best to consult a professional for an Exterior Assessment Inventory.

LEADING GREEN
In an industry where many facility managers are responsible for hundreds of retail stores, it is impossible to know all the details of the stores’ exteriors. For instance, the measurements of certain assets, the location of certain assets, or even if certain assets exist within the property. An Exterior Assessment Inventory can give you the leading green.

Most companies just look at a few sites and make a guestimate, which leads to incorrect and useless information, quotes, and can result in added costs later. EAIs are important both for ensuring quality service, thereby improving curb appeal, as well as for accurate quotes. So as you sit waiting for another spring thaw to uncover your landscaping, don’t play the guessing game. A professional EAI should include, at a minimum, an assessment of:

  • Lawn: Definition of lawn type (fine or rough), type of grass (warm or cool season) and measurement of square footage.
  • Fence Lines & Retaining Walls: Identification and measurement in linear feet.
  • Hedge Rows: Plant identification, measurement in linear feet and pruning specifications.
  • Irrigation: Documentation of the number of irrigation zones, clock location and manufacturer, and backflow positioning.
  • Organic Mulch: Identification of quantity and type.
  • Parking Lot: Measurement of asphalt, gravel and concrete square footages, including loading docks areas and current conditions of all.
  • Patios: Dimensions of asphalt and concrete.
  • Cart Corrals: Identification and measurement of square footage.
  • Planting Beds: Identification of the square footage of organic planting beds and beds with stones.
  • Retention Ponds: Measurement and identification of grass and gravel specification and retention purpose (holding or gathering), including the measurement of any surrounding fencing in linear feet.
  • Seasonal Color and Flowers: Documentation of rotation schedules and square footage.
  • Lot Striping: Measurement of crosshatching, number of spaces, painted curbs, lettering, painted pole bases, speed bumps, stop bars, arrows, bollards, painted bumper blocks, and current conditions of all.
  • Trees: Documentation of the number of trees, type (deciduous, evergreen), species and the number of palm trees on property.
  • Walks: Definition of materials and square footage for private, municipal and special walks (ramps and loading dock stoops).

Photographs are also very helpful if provided, documenting each asset and any specific information that can be useful to you. This is also crucial in developing an accurate maintenance budget for your properties.

GREEN LIGHT
Spring is here and it’s time to step on the gas. Asphalt and other hard surfaces, such as concrete, can be particularly affected by winter. The constant expanding and contracting can leave even a new parking lot looking cracked and damaged.

If the problem is still small and the asphalt pavement has begun to crack and deteriorate, you know that potholes (and the costly damage they can cause) are not far off. It is crucial to repair such areas before it escalates into much larger problem. Small problems can often be mended by sawing off the damaged area and replacing it with new or recycled/compacted asphalt paving. If the problem includes potholes and much larger scale issues, it is likely that they can be most efficiently restored by overlaying them, although it is always best to consult a professional before proceeding on any jobs.

Concrete damage can include destruction to your curb and gutter, sidewalks, as well as aprons and dumpster pads. By replacing concrete sections damaged by heavy traffic and winter weather, you can enhance the functionality and safety of your site.

Other aesthetic and maintenance program decisions can be made. Sealcoating your asphalt pavement, for example, can be used to extend the life of your investment, protect it from spills, and make it easier to clean. Line marking, or striping, accomplishes making your parking lots look well-defined and newer. A freshly sealed and marked parking lot does wonders to enhance your store’s exterior brand.

Once your hard surfaces are tended to, there is still replanting, trimming and a variety of other things to be done. The trees may be damaged and plant material may be dead. Broken or aging trees can be a potential safety hazard and a parking lot liability if not addressed. For all of these, an arborist is best to consult with. They can not only find a solution to your current concerns but also come up with a long term plan for their care and maintenance.

A third step to driving into spring is pest management. A professional can inspect all areas for infestations, including areas made difficult by building structure. Some examples of these specialty areas that can increase the variety and number of pests are:

  • “Back room” areas (such as storerooms) are popular entry points for rodents and insects.
  • Buildings with inaccessible areas that are hard to sanitize (particularly those with false ceilings and floors) provide secure hiding places that give infestations a chance to grow unnoticed.

And, of course, facilities must be carefully searched for the presence of termites. Termites can be one of the most costly pest problems a business faces. They cause more than $2.5 billion in damage to homes and commercial facilities across the United States annually, and therefore must be found and eliminated in a timely fashion.

ENGAGE AN EXTERIOR SERVICES MANAGEMENT COMPANY
Let a professional navigate for you. They will help you achieve an aesthetic and functional exterior that will not only attract your customer but keep them coming back as well. A high percentage of customers note that exterior appeal is often a determining factor in their choice of businesses to patronize and will also affect their decision to be a repeat customer. Ensuring that perception is achieved is of utmost importance to the company, as well as those responsible for facilities.

Not only that, only a professional can conduct an exterior asset inventory to quantify and document site boundaries and specifications, and identify potential problems or hazards. Understanding the composition and condition of your exterior assets could be the deciding factor in successfully maintaining your property and the safety of your valued customers through the season.