Gritit News

Winter Weather Word of the Week from the Winter Gritting Experts

March 15, 2018

New weather fact each week for our Winter Weather Compendium

 

We end our long and eventful winter season with winter facts on black ice and blizzards which we gladly say goodbye to and finish with how Aurorea Borealis can bless you with good looks, intellect and fortune. 

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Grounds Maintenance Seasonal Planning

March 15, 2018

If it weren’t for seasons and the unpredictable British weather, life would certainly be much simpler for busy FMs. Grounds Maintenance (GM) commitments add an added dimension of long term planning to managing sites with outdoor spaces but as ever planning and preparation is the key to year round success.

 

While you don’t necessarily need to become an expert horticulturalist, it is advisable to have some appreciation of the basics and an understanding of what is happening within the grounds at each phase of the year. For example, there’s little point planning a change in hedging at a time when birds are still nesting. Planning your GM in line with seasonal changes is as much about understanding the environment you are responsible for managing - and the ability to plan ahead of time will make the job a lot more straightforward.

 

To help with your planning process, it is worth mapping out the year, and identifying milestones and tasks appropriate to given periods. As a start, we have created two planners in this article that can be adapted to your own sites and requirements. The Grounds Maintenance planner is a useful reference for tracking your teams’ or contractor’s current work and service reports and what to expect in the upcoming months. The Landscaping planner provides an understanding as to the optimum times to make improvements or changes, such as extending beds, creating more naturalistic areas or planting .

 

                                   More information

 

The two planners show that there can be considerably more to grounds maintenance than simply cutting the grass! Indeed, it is understandable why some organisations have tried their best to limit the workload by simplifying their grounds – producing dreary monocultures of lawn, evergreen and bark chips. Gladly there are signs that the trend is changing, however. A growing awareness of the social and environmental importance of diverse landscaping – as well as desire to maximise the value of a site – is encouraging more creative planting and useful spaces.

 

In many cases – for example, the creation of wildflower meadows – more creative approaches may not actually require a higher level of investment or ongoing maintenance, but realising such plans will demand better year round planning, and a greater degree of structure when specifying and benchmarking the activity of in-house GM teams or contractors.

 

Indeed, should you decide to bring external contractors on board, the seasonal nature of grounds maintenance can also determine the best times for the tendering process.

 

Grounds Maintenance Planning for the season ahead

 

Autumn

 

At this time of year you should be looking to review your management and maintenance plans and specifications. It’s also a good time to review the previous year and consider how your grounds are actually used, how you can improve upon next year’s service and opportunities to better meet the organisation’s policies.  

Consider collaborating with a landscape expert to develop a comprehensive set of output specifications. This should focus on achieving your desired standards rather than the frequency of visits. Ask your GM provider to show how they can support your organisation’s environmental policy and contribute to workplace wellbeing, while supporting the wider environment.

Remember to review and release PQQ and tender documentation early if procuring for larger contracts.

In terms of the physical site, now is the time to schedule site improvement works such as planting, tree surgery and arboriculture activity. 

 

Winter

 

As we head into the winter months ensure that any programmes and schedules for improvement works are all in place and that there are plenty of contingency plans for adverse weather events as these may delay jobs.

Ensure that you have carefully selected your GM provider in a thorough procurement process well in advance of the summer months so they are in place by February at the latest.

Make sure that you continue to monitor KPIs for winter tasks and, if you manage an in-house team, ensure your staff training needs have been identified and training providers booked.

Make sure any of your own machinery has been fully serviced and additional resource requirements have been identified and ordered prior to mobilising in spring.

It is important to conclude that while the above sets out a very basic introduction to some of things you should be currently be thinking about, a key consideration is to give yourself enough time now to think of improvements and opportunities to make more of your assets. This applies equally whether you are using you own staff or external contractors.

 

Refreshing Grounds Maintenance Specifications

 

You may well have an existing set of specifications that you perennially turn to but it is important not to let these become a straightjacket. Provide opportunities for local team members to be more empowered. After all, their input can help to develop more interesting/useful spaces for your staff. And if you do use contractors, you should in most cases expect the same level of engagement and creative input. Indeed, at GRITIT we enjoy taking on such challenges and many grounds maintenance experts will also relish the opportunity to collaborate with their customers, offer more insight and share a greater sense of ownership. Ultimately, better, more sustainable grounds maintenance is all about building better connections – between those responsible for sites, those carrying out the work and the people that enjoy these spaces year round. More here... 

 

 

 

GRITIT Grounds Maintenance

 

GRITIT GM provides Commercial Landscape Maintenance & Management delivered from our strategic hubs across the UK. We can work to your exacting specification or create a solution tailor-made to your requirements.

We work across a variety of sites and locat

ions - from varying multisite property portfolios to stand alone single sites with minimal requirements. We can work to your exacting specification or create a solution tailor-made to your requirements.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Commercial Landscaping

We design, develop, plan and maintain all landscape features including hedges, shrub beds, herbaceous borders, tress and lawns and our experienced team is dedicated to creating an environment that will impress you, your staff, customers and visitors.

 

360' Real-time Reporting 

Our bespoke control and reporting technology gives you full and unprecedented access as well as real-time visibility to what our teams are doing day or night.

 

 

 

 

 

Reathe full Feature in FM Industry December 2017 here... 

 

 

 

GRITIT is the UK’s leading provider of winter gritting and maintenance services, providing protection for clients against the financial and physical risks of adverse weather. Founded in 2004, the award-winning company was the first in the UK to focus exclusively on winter gritting and maintenance services and has developed a reputation as an innovator and market leader in this specialist field. GRITIT currently provides specialist gritting and snow-clearance to private and public companies in the retail, commercial, industrial, logistics and health sectors. In an average winter GRITIT will provide more than 160,000 service visits across the UK from its 80+ depots. Over recent years, it has become abundantly clear that adverse cold weather can be detrimental to business. GRITIT is able to minimise this exposure by keeping premises open, operational and by preventing unnecessary closures. GRITIT saves businesses money by ensuring they remain operational during adverse weather conditions and by preventing accidents and reducing the unnecessary costs of injury. Visit www.gritit.com for additional information.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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First snow, now how to deal with piles of the stuff after Snow Clearance

March 08, 2018
Where temperatures remain low and conditions dry, snow piles are slow to melt, sometimes lingering for days and causing even further problems for organisations.

 

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Winter Slips & Trips, a near-miss is as good as a mile?

March 06, 2018

Over the past few years there has been an increase in litigation with ‘slipping on ice’ accidents having the potential for high value claims and compensation.

 

According to the Hospital Episode Statistics for England, over 7,000 people were treated in hospital after slipping on snow or ice during the harsh winter weather of 2012/13.

 

Recent extreme weather and unprecedented Red Warnings will very likely produce similar volumes this year.

 

Slips & Falls on Ice 

 

If you’ve come out of it mostly unscathed with no reported injuries from falls on ice and snow, it pays quite literally, to assess if you have just been lucky and ‘got away with it’.

Now is the best time while events are fresh in your mind to look at where you were probably vulnerable. A proactive winter maintenance plan is a good place to start and can certainly help organisations mitigate potential liability claims.

 

Near Miss Reporting 

 

Some models say that for every accident there could be as high as ninety near-misses.

What should you learn from your ‘near misses’?

What shape would you be in if you had to manage the consequences of an injury and claim?

Actioning ‘near-miss’ reports deals with hazards before someone is injured by understanding the root cause, carrying out risk assessments and having follow-up preventative actions and training.

An absence of near miss reports doesn’t mean that they are not happening. A strong culture enforced by everyone is needed to encourage every near-miss to be reported.

Until someone is hurt staff can be reluctant to report anything as they feel embarrassed or incidents are just treated as amusing.

 

 

Evidencing Your Action 

 

A worthwhile test is to ask how your organisation would fare if you had a ‘theoretical slipper’ on ice outside your building?

Beyond first aid and accident reporting would you have a complete audit trail of the preventative actions that shows you have taken the required reasonable actions to protect your staff and visitors from injury?

How easy can this evidence be gathered, are you confident records are always maintained and is it in a form that is suitable to defend you in court?

Other reviews should check the suitability of services and suppliers. If you used an external supplier did they have all the certifications? (e.g. Safe Contractor, Full Liability Insurance). Were risk assessments carried out?

Clearly, this is far more than an administrative matter: Failing to get things right can have a major effect on any individuals that come to harm and also to an organisation’s reputation and its finances. There is also the risk of legal action, where cases are growing more frequent. One more recent example being a West Midlands pupil who was awarded £35,000 for a slip on playground ice.  

  

 

Want more advice on a flexible winter service that protects and is fully managed for you?

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Is your business meeting its duty of care when bad weather hits?

March 04, 2018

 

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