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Portakabin: Prepare for the Big Chill

02 December 2011

With winter now upon us, Portakabin, a UK modular building specialist, is urging organisations to make sure they are fully prepared to help avoid the disastrous effect of burst pipes that so many suffered after the last big freeze

Advice from Portakabin includes:
 Make sure heating is on a constant setting at between 5° and 10°C if the building is to be left unoccupied at weekends or for a longer period.

 Ensure water pipes in unheated areas are well insulated and if left exposed, fit trace heating. If this cannot be done, turn off the water supply and drain down. And don’t forget water coolers or fountains.

 Have a detailed plan in place so that should a building suddenly become unusable, operations can be up and running again as quickly as possible. This could include provision of an interim building.

 Collate and distribute contact numbers for staff and trades people who can respond quickly out of hours or during holiday periods in the event of an emergency.

 Consider solutions for temporary power supplies, furniture, data communications and security. Some companies specialise in clean-up operations – add these and equipment hire specialists to your list of key contacts.

 Consider engaging a key holding or security company to carry out daily checks. A small leak if left unattended could cause serious problems over a holiday period.

 Be aware that if harsh weather causes a power failure in your area, the heating system will not work, with the exception of LPG standalone heaters.

 If you use an alarm or monitoring company, make sure they have up-to-date emergency contact details.

With over 50 locations from Inverness to Plymouth, Portakabin has the largest hire centre network in the UK and so was ideally placed to provide emergency accommodation to many businesses, public sector organisations and schools across the UK last winter – and often within hours.

Should a building become unusable, for example after flooding or other urgent situations such as fire, power failures or the discovery of asbestos, Portakabin can assist with a number of options:

 Single modular buildings can be rapidly delivered to a customer’s site, often within 24 hours, from its national hire fleet of modules held across the UK. This allows an organisation’s core operations to be working again very quickly.

 A bespoke, longer-term accommodation solution can then be prepared to an organisation’s exact specifications if the existing building has been so severely damaged that it will be out of use for a number of months.

 An agreed set of fully furnished buildings can be prepared and stored for delivery to site in a matter of hours in the event of a crisis situation, as part of a contingency plan.

“It’s really important that organisations and businesses, regardless of size, have a back-up plan to get operations up and running as fast as possible in the event of an urgent situation”, said Robert Snook, Director and General Manager of Portakabin Hire. “An effective interim solution will make sure disruption is kept to an absolute minimum and should provide a good, efficient working environment for staff.”

“Many businesses and schools were caught out last year when the big freeze thawed out so quickly. Our experience has shown that having a good contingency plan in place for emergencies is strongly recommended, which our hire teams across the UK are happy to assist with.”

Portakabin can also help with:
 Advice on business continuity planning to get operations back working as fast as possible
 Generators for emergency power
 Connections to waste tanks if it is not possible to connect the interim facilities to mains services
 Security and alarm systems which can be an important requirement if interim accommodation has to be located outside the customer’s site
 Furniture
 Access ramps
 Patching data communications into the organisation’s main network
 Foundations for interim buildings.

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