Don’t Dice with The Ice

January 15, 2019

Met Office warning means now is the time for Cold Weather Planning 

As the issues UK alerts this week for “an enhanced risk of snow and widespread frost almost anywhere across the UK”, the property specialist, VPS Security Services, has issued their


“A sudden cold snap creates substantial risks of damage tom properties that can lead to thousands of pounds of repairs.” Warns Phil Bunting, a Director of VPS Security Services. “Insurers will not meet claims if, for example, a vacant property has not been checked and maintained properly. Flooding from a burst pipe in an unattended property can go unnoticed for days, and the repair to a roof which has collapsed from heavy snow can run into five figures quite easily.”


The ‘’ outlines cases where the lack of adequate property maintenance has meant for a vacant property, leaving owners thousands of pounds out of pocket. 


The Cold Weather Plan comprises three levels:

  • Level one – preparation and planning: check utility pipes for any weaknesses and replace worn insulation or repair damage, check windows for cracked seals as this can allow moisture to get between the panes of glass, causing the glass to shatter when it freezes; check roofs and the building structure for stability. For unattended properties, drain down water tanks and turn of supplies, but check insurance policies, where sometimes a minimum temperature (often 15c degrees) maybe required to be compliant with the policy. Inspect for mould which can pose a serious health risk if left untreated.
  • Level two - when a cold snap occurs, check for frozen pipes, and if so, unfreeze them slowly; keep gutters and drains clear of ice and snow,increase inspections to minimise potential damage, assessment and repair for where there has been an incident. 
  • Level three - the more severe the weather, the more regular you should check a property, or arrange inspections. Roofs with heavy snow need to be cleared but with great care – there are dangers to climbing onto a roof to start clearing snow, not least that the extra weight can sometimes be the final straw that collapses the roof. 


The cold weather plan provides a framework to help owners of vacant properties to manage the risks of damage due to snow, frost, burst pipes and winter storms. These guidelines are based on the approach that VPS inspectors and site risk assessors themselves undertake when looking after a property that is temporarily vacant. There’s an ‘At-a-Glance’ quick checklist included.


VPS Security Services are part of the VPS Group that specialise in protecting people, property and assets, by securing, maintaining and managing properties across a wide range of customer and industry sectors. Core building services cover the vacant, unoccupied and void property lifecycle from an initial risk assessment, to security, including guarding, monitoring, clearing, maintenance and also ‘security through occupation’, property guardians.


Notes for editors :

About the VPS Group:

secures more than 30,000 properties and employs over 1200 staff in locations across the UK and mainland Europe. 

Their services protect properties against unauthorised access and a variety of hazards such as arson, theft, squatting as well as wintry hazards of storm, ice and snow damage.

Further details, call the press office. 

+44(0)77 222 82 946        





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