Minnesota Commercial Building Owners: Be Prepared and at the Ready for Failing Waterlines in Freezing Temperatures



Use this checklist to prevent catastrophic outcomes during winter months


1. Ensure heating is operational in all vacant spaces and has been inspected by a certified HVAC technician to confirm full operation. Conducting mandatory fall inspections in October will help identify deficiencies and recommendations will be given by a certified Engineering and Property Services Specialist for needed repairs, prior to a dip in temperatures.


2. Inspect all fire sprinkler/mechanical/electrical rooms to ensure all heating units are operational. Most rooms of this type will have hanging electric heaters, which in some cases may be slightly undersized for the room and may need some redundancy. An Engineering and Property Services Expert can advise if adding another heater to work in tandem with the existing unit might help to limit, if not forestall, a future issue.


3. Inspect all water pipes that run along exterior, uninsulated walls, particularly in unheated spaces. An Engineering and Property services Technician can advise you if insulating the pipe(s) prior to the winter season is the best option to prevent frozen or broken waterlines.


4. Open all exterior sill-cocks (spigots) so that all water drains out of the system prior to the winter season then make sure they are shut off from the inside valve. This simple but vital task is often overlooked in commercial properties and a subtle leak from any outdoor spigot can cause a major burst in a pipe, causing significant damage.


5. Installation of a low temperature gauge, connected to the fire panel in the sprinkler room, will help head off any major issues.  For full and effective operation of this device, at a small cost, the Engineering and Property Services Experts at Colliers MSP would highly recommend these be installed by a fire-life safety vendor of your choice, well in advance of the winter temperatures. This will offset any cost or loss that could result from a burst or frozen waterline.


6. Check all entryways, attics, stairwells, common areas and all vacancies regularly and listen for unusual sounds, such as clanking or banging, be aware of foreign odors, wet or damp drywall, reoccurring plumbing problems, standing water and wet or icing pipes.


As the temperature drops it is imperative you or a maintenance technician are checking commercial properties more frequently than in the summer months to head off any potential problems. Enlisting the services of an Engineering and Property Services Technician to visit a few additional times throughout the winter months can offset a significant loss to the property, inconvenience to tenants and help to increase overall efficiency of the building.


Colliers Engineering and Property Services is fully staffed with Plumbers, HVAC Technicians, Electricians and General Maintenance crews and available 24/7 to support you and provide the exceptional service you need in an emergency.

To learn more visit The Colliers MSP Engineering and Property Services Website


Tim Jackson

Vice President

Colliers International | Minneapolis - St. Paul

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September 6, 2019

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Defined by our spirit of enterprise, Colliers Minnesota is a leading, full-service commercial real estate services organization.  We are dedicated to providing clients with innovative real estate solutions and the most comprehensive market knowledge. We specialize in understanding our client’s unique business needs in every commercial property type.

Headquartered in the Twin Cities with regional offices in Minnetonka, Minneapolis and Shoreview, Minnesota, Colliers International | Minneapolis-St. Paul consists of more than 240 local professionals. Our expertise extends into every aspect of today’s commercial real estate business including architecture, brokerage, facility services, investment sales, project management and property management.

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