Managing blocks
of flats in

Autumn / Winter

If you think that Autumn and Winter only carry the usual slips and trips risks, think again. It is important to understand and prepare for seasonal risks - like package and post theft due to festive season online shopping, and fire hazards from fairy lights - by implementing proper risk managment techniques


Understanding seasonal risks

Whether it be Autumn leaves or Winter snowfall, be sure to consider the following seasonal risks:


Leave, Snow and Ice risks

  • Slips, trips, falls or serious injury from ice / icicles
  • Blocked passageways, cars, car parks, building entrances and exits from excess snow or ice
  • Damaged pipes and gutters from snow or leaves
  • Injury from working at height to clear roof and gutters of excess leaves or snow
  • Exterior damage from tree branches or the roof itself collapsing under the weight of snow
  • Flooding due to melted snow and ice

  • Extreme Cold Risks

  • Frozen or burst pipes
  • Temporarily halted water supply
  • Tenant and visitor illnesses due to poor indoor heating system or insulation
  • Heating system failure or breakdowns

  • Communal Area Risks

  • Fire hazards from candles or kitchens in lounges
  • Fire and electricity hazards from festive lights or decor, inside (the lobby) and outside (the garden)
  • Package and post theft, which generally increases during the festive season
  • Increased third-party liability due to tenants' festive season guests
  • Blocked entrances and exits from festive decor, winter accessories (such as snow boots or umbrellas) or excess rubbish
  • Damaged floors in communial areas from tenants tracking in dirt, snow and salt

  • Implementing proper risk managment

    Keeping these seasonal risks in mind, it is important to use risk managment techniques to counter potential hazards and decrease the chance for liability issues.


    Leaves, Snow and Ice risk managment

  • Routinely clear outdoor communal areas, such as car parks and entryways, of ice and snow by ploughing and gritting. Always be sure you are properly stocked with salt and grit materials.
  • Have a detailed map of areas that tend to accumulate large amounts of snow or leaves, such as the roof, and schedule routine removal.
  • Update and maintain snow and leaf removal vehicles and equipment.
  • Offer proper personal protection equipment to maintenance employees working in snowy or icy conditions, especially at height.
  • Inspect pipes regularly. Perform routine checks to enusre they are working properly when snow and ice occur, and install insulation on exposed pipes.
  • Keep outdoor surfaces level, paved and clear of potholes to reduce water and ice accumliation.

  • Extreme Cold risk managment

  • Turn off water flow to outside taps to prevent freexing. Make sure the gutters stay clear to prevent ice build-up.
  • Ensure all tenants know where their stopcocks are located and that they know what to do in the event of a leak or frozen pipe.
  • Update and maintain buliding insulation and properly seal windows. Make sure the indoor temperature stays comfortable and safe (at least 21°C) during cold months.
  • Schedule routine checks for your heating system.

  • Communal Areas risk managment


  • Establish a written agreement with tenants regarding safe practices for festive lights, candle use and decorations in communal areas. In addition, do not allow these festive items to be lit for extended periods.
  • Regularly check electrical fittings.
  • Enforce rules to prevent decorations blocking entry and exit points.
  • Make sure tenatns are aware of evacuation procedures.
  • Ensure outdoor communal areas have adequate lighting.
  • Ensure communal areas are clear regularly.
  • Enusre all doors and windows are secure.
  • The content of this Risk Insights is of general interest and is not intended to apply to specific circumstances. It does not purport to be a comprehensive analysis of all matters relevant to its subject matter. The content should not, therefore, be regarded as constituting legal advice and not be relied upon as such. In relation to any particular problem which they may have, readers are advised to seek specific advice. Further, the law may have changed since first publication and the reader is cautioned accordingly. © 2018 Zywave, Inc. All rights reserved.

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