Adobe Stock / Imagenet

As early as September, Morgan Properties begins preparing for winter. Now at the start of the season, the company is fully stocked with necessary products, and their winter equipment is maintained and ready. By asking service teams to test snow equipment—including snowplows, snow blowers, and salt spreaders—they can account for what’s in working condition and what may need repairs.

“We always get our equipment into the repair shop before other operators—most repair shops are still repairing lawnmowers when we get our equipment to them. Morgan Properties’ procurement team also starts negotiating salt, magnesium, and calcium pricing during the late summer months,” says Andy Hoff, senior vice president, facilities operations at Morgan Properties.

“Our team obtains locked-in pricing and commitments, so we are supplied when needed. Costs certainly keep going up, which we can’t control, but the earlier we prepare, the better.”

Lendlease Communities takes their properties, residents, and technicians' safety into consideration when it comes time for winter weather. “We equip our technicians with everything they need to be safe on the job like snowshoes so they can travel safely from door to door, and we hold consistent trainings so they can operate our machinery safely and efficiently,” adds Ron Johnson, project director at North Haven Communities, military family housing created by Lendlease.

Morgan Properties' supply list also includes anti-slip footwear in addition to snow shovels and bags of salt, calcium, and magnesium. For heavier equipment and machinery like snow removal trucks, the company gets creative. “In the Snowbelt regions, we have ‘Truck Rodeo'’ events. We bring an entire region together with the company's trucks on full display. Each site team installs the plow, salt spreader, emergency yellow lights, and first-aid kits,” says Hoff.

“This event is set up as a competition with prizes! All snow removal trucks are graded on many things to be sure all checklist items are completed before the first snow event. This measure ensures all snowplow repair kits and lights are working and that state registration and insurance cards are correct. Trucks must be cleaned, inside and out, and all fluids are checked for proper levels.”

With several Lendlease properties also located in heavy winter conditions, the company is sure to inform residents and employees of what to expect. “Safety is very important to us. In advance of every change of season we train new and existing employees on safety protocol and how to properly use equipment,” says Dean Harrison, project director at Lendlease’s Fort Drum Community Homes in upstate New York. “All of our vehicles carry ice melt so that our staff can readily clear walkways whenever they see snow or ice accumulating.”

Indoors, Morgan Properties residents are advised to open cabinet doors, keep thermostats above 60 degrees, and let faucets drip to prevent freezing pipes, Hoff says. For residents new to snow, like at North Haven Communities’ Fort Wainwright property in Alaska, Johnson says an education program “Welcome to Winter” is offered where winter newbies can learn the basics on how to stay safe and warm throughout the season.

“We discuss the importance of keeping driveways and sidewalks clear of snow and ice, how to take care of a pet in extreme weather conditions, how they should lay out their homes—pulling furniture away from their heaters so warm air can circulate throughout the house, keeping windows firmly shut so they do not freeze the windows or internal pipes, keeping entry points to the home clear and free of ice, being conscious of your garage, and limiting heat from escaping,” Johnson explains.

And for developers who have expanded into a new market with winter weather conditions, Hoff shares, “Connect with local vendors about how to best address the weather conditions in a new area. Initiating those dialogues as soon as possible is critical to being successful. Winter conditions vary throughout the country so it’s important that you know exactly what your company is up against and the resources you will need to be successful.”