Autumn Property Update | Wilson Organisation


October 13, 2020

Autumn Property Update

Autumn Property Update

Whilst we are still in the grip of the Coronavirus Pandemic, almost everything else in life is taking a back seat. However, with the Autumn and Winter months now upon us, property owners and occupiers face a number of increased risks that need to be addressed.

Escape of water losses are particularly common, with wintry conditions and freezing temperatures leading to burst pipes, cracked water tanks and blocked drains.

Even minor problems such as boiler breakdowns, which are common occurrences, can result in significant disruption costing valuable time and inconvenience.

By taking the following precautions, you can minimise the risk to your property and increase resilience to wintry weather.

1. Maintenance and general preparations

  • Routine building inspections should be carried out year- round to identify potential issues and undertake essential maintenance. Formal risk assessments should inform the frequency of these inspections
  • During Autumn, special attention should be given to areas such as roof insulation, pipe lagging, boiler maintenance and the external fabric of the building
  • Implement regular maintenance contracts for tasks such as the clearing of gutters and drains. This will limit the risk of blockages that can lead to water penetrating your building
  • Keep building plans that identify stopcock locations readily available. This will enable water to be quickly shut off in an emergency
  • Check the roof for potential problems such as loose, cracked or missing tiles. You can survey the roof from the ground, to see if anything’s obviously wrong – look out for shards of tile or grit in the gutters and on the floor – but it’s best to get a professional to fully survey
  • Keep a careful eye on trees that could fall onto the property in stormy weather

2. Water heating systems

  • Always leave boilers and other water heating systems running during winter months, even when a property is temporarily unoccupied
  • Maintaining an ambient temperature is essential for avoiding many issues. We recommend maintaining a minimum temperature of 10°C throughout your properties
  • Activate your thermostat’s frost setting. This prompts the system to come on automatically during cold weather, which might otherwise not happen if your thermostat is only set to come on at certain times of the day
  • Check when you last carried out a full service. Heating systems, and particularly boilers, need to be inspected and maintained on a regular basis

3. Pipes and water tanks

  • Inspect the whole system for potential defects or vulnerabilities. Pay particular attention to areas exposed to cold conditions, such as pipes or tanks situated outside the property or in roof spaces
  • Ensure exposed pipes and water tanks are adequately lagged. This provides essential protection against freezing conditions
  • Insulate or fully drain outdoor taps between uses

4. Sprinkler systems

  • Ensure that heating is present in the sprinkler valve room and it is kept at an ambient temperature
  • During winter months switch the alternate systems to air (recommended November to May)
  • Check when the sprinkler system was last serviced. Ensure sprinklers receive full and regular maintenance

5. Permanently unoccupied properties

  • You must ensure we are notified if your property is permanently unoccupied, or unoccupied for longer than the maximum period detailed in your policy
  • If permanently unoccupied, we recommend disconnecting the property’s water supplies and draining all pipes, tanks and heating system
  • However, if only temporarily unoccupied, heating systems should always be left on, to maintain an ambient temperature and avoid freezing or cracking
  • Ensure doors and windows are closed and fit tightly

Should you have any queries or require any specific advice in relation to your property, please get in touch with your usual Wilsons contact or call the office and one of the team will be happy to help you.

Over 100 years of innovation

  • 1914

    A successful launch! The Wilson Organisation was founded in Nottingham by Harold Wilson and became the first company in the East Midlands to offer a comprehensive insurance policy to the region’s fast-growing band of automobile drivers. Innovation from day one.

  • 1920s

    During the 1920’s, Wilsons developed its commercial insurance offering under the stewardship of Harold Wilson. Hopping forwards 80 years, Wilsons has developed a number of industry specialisms including a particular expertise in the food and drink sector. We created a unique insurance offering called “FoodProtect” and, through this service, have been able to deliver intelligence and cost-effective insurance programmes to a broad spread of leading food producers. The best thing since sliced bread? Maybe not, but we’re working on it.

  • 1949

    John Prow joined Harold Wilson in the business, marking the first generation of the Prow family’s involvement in The Wilson Organisation. Wilsons’ clients included leading Nottingham firm Boots The Chemist plus a number of operators in the burgeoning railway sector. With post-war regeneration beginning apace, the firm’s fledgling construction expertise quickly developed into one of our leading offerings and this continues through to the present day, with clients including national and regional builders, developers, contractors, sub-contractors and architects.

  • 1960s

    The 1960s were the start of a new era for The Wilson Organisation. Harold Wilson and John Prow died on the same day in 1963, Harold of illness and John in a car crash. This left John’s son, John J Prow, to run the growing business at the age of 27. Under his youthful direction, Wilsons benefited from a new energy and direction. John J Prow, who had joined in 1960 in a new business role, led the move into our current premises at Wilson House in 1964 and then launched the financial services division in the following year.

  • 1990s

    The late 1990s heralded the start of the third generation of the Prow family’s involvement in the business. Managing Director Charlotte Prow joined in 1998, to be followed by the firm’s Chief Executive, Annabel Prow, in 2002. Product and service innovation continued apace with the launch of a corporate finance specialism in 1997, which continues to deliver valuable cost-savings and insights to the region’s dealmakers.

  • 2000s

    Now century on from the launch of The Wilson Organisation in 1914, the company continues to encourage innovation and reward good ideas. Within the financial services team, 2008 marked the launch of “Flex”, a powerful employee benefit programme and the development of “WRAP”, an investment tool with a unique level of investor control and transparency. Meanwhile, our insurance advisers worked quickly to bring to market a specialist insurance policy for insolvency practitioners.

  • 2010s

    2010 saw the launch of the Midlands Family Business Awards by Wilsons, the UK’s only independent not-for-profit Awards for family businesses. Now in their fifth year, the Awards have raised almost £20,000 for charities supporting families and young people. In 2014 we are celebrating Wilsons’ centenary, a significant milestone in Wilsons’ history.

Registered Office:
Wilson House, 1/3 Waverley Street, Nottingham, NG7 4HG

Registered in England Number 862690 - Members of British Insurance Brokers Association

Harold Wilson (Insurances) Ltd. and Harold Wilson Financial Services Ltd. are authorised and regulated by the FCA (Financial Conduct Authority)