While the ground is still free of any accumulating snow is a good time to visit the properties you service and perform your snow and ice removal preseason site inspections. Performing a preseason site inspection is a very beneficial documentation process that could save you many headaches and money down the road. Documentation can also set you apart from others in the industry. It helps present your business as a serious, professional snow and ice-management company invested in customers even during the offseason.
The Accredited Snow Contractors Association, or ASCA, has released their 2014 American National Standards Institute (ANSI) System Requirements for Snow and Ice Management Services*. The standard covers the following areas that should be included in a preseason site inspection.
An overhead photo of the property or detailed drawing, like a blueprint, needs to be documented. On this photo or drawing of the property, potential risk areas and existing damage should be marked. Places where plowed snow should be placed needs to be marked and documented for future reference.
Any and all services that are to be performed should be clearly defined and documented. This is going to be important so you can make the proper servicing decisions for each property. It also will ensure that you and the property owner have set clear expectations and guidelines for the upcoming season.
Property Risk Assessment
Potential hazards and existing damage need to be documented in detail. A hazard is anything that could cause problems either while the site is being serviced or after the completion of service. Hazards could be, but are not limited to, speed bumps, high-traffic areas, drainage areas, existing property damage, manhole covers or low areas in the pavement that are susceptible to ice formation during a storm and in refreezing occurrences.
There needs to be documentation between you and the property manager that indicates very clearly where snow is to be placed. Snow needs to be placed in such a way so that it does not block any traffic on the property or properties and does not unnecessarily obstruct views.
Sometimes, for a number of reasons, snow may need to actually be removed from the property. Snow disposal is relocating or removing the snow from a property and is sometimes necessary for certain properties. Just like everything else, it is a process that must be defined and documented. You need to document where the snow is going and how your team is going to get it there. You also need to document when you are going to be performing these services. If you are not to perform snow-disposal services during the property’s operating hours, that, too, should be made known and recorded.
Because the snow doesn’t always strike at the same time as a clock, recording the operation hours of the business or businesses on the property is important. By knowing the hours of operation, your snow-removal team can be aware of when there will be activity on the property. You will also be able to better make servicing decisions during an event.
It is important to have all services you are to provide, potential hazards and any other areas of business documented so there isn’t confusion down the road. Revisit the properties you service and go through your preseason site inspection before the snow begins to fall again.
*This information was republished with the permission of the ASCA.The Accredited Snow Contractors Association, ASCA, is a trade association with the purpose of advancing the snow and ice management industry. ANSI/ASCA A1000-2014: System Requirements for Snow and Ice Management Services, is intended to be implemented and applied (on a voluntary basis) in conjunction with ISO 9001 with respect to the processes of providing snow and ice management services. For information on purchasing a copy of the ANSI/ASCA A1000-2014 standards, visit: http://www.ascaonline.org/ansi-standards.aspx.