ANSWERS TO FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

CONCERNING SNOW REMOVAL

 

 

Federal Business Centers is responsible to remove snow from the roadways that it privately owns in Raritan Center®.  As a courtesy for our Customers, we also assist Edison and Woodbridge Townships in the removal of snow from certain roadways that we do not own, such as Raritan Center Parkway. 

 

There are certain buildings that Federal Business Centers owns wherein it is the responsibility of the Customer(s) to remove snow from the paved areas leased by them.  As a courtesy, on or about October 1 each year, we provide a notice to each one of our customers, at the local level, reminding them who is responsible for snow removal at their building – Federal Business Centers or the Customer. 

 

In our ongoing effort to deliver the highest level of customer service, we share below our answers to the most frequently asked questions concerning snow removal, including questions about blizzards. 

 

If you do not see your question answered below, please call your Customer Service Representative or our Customer Service Hotline at 732-225-3777—we welcome your questions, comments, and suggestions!

  

 

 

Q1.  How is the snow removal effort prioritized by Federal Business Centers between its various roadways and buildings?

A1.   We prioritize our efforts, especially during heavy storms (greater than 6” of snow), as follows:

 

I. Plowing:

  1. Raritan Center Parkway

  2. Main roads

a. King George’s Post Road

b. Clearview Road

c. Fieldcrest Avenue

d. Clover Place

           3. Secondary roads

a. Northfield Avenue

b. Mayfield Avenue

c. Campus Drive

d. Fernwood Avenue

e. Columbus Circle

           4. Buildings (where snow removal is our responsibility)

a. Inter-Building driveways

b. Entrances

c. Main lots

d. Individual parking areas

e. Dumpsters

 

II. Shoveling:  (where snow removal is our responsibility)

  1. Main entranceways, front and rear

  2. Secondary entrances

  3. Sidewalks

  4. Rear drive-in ramps

  5. Dumpsters as needed

 

Q2.  Whom do I call at Federal Business Centers during normal business hours regarding snow concerns?

A2.   Please call our Customer Service Hotline at 732-225-3777. Your call will be logged into our system for response and tracking. 

 

Q3.  How can I reach Federal Business Centers after-hours with an urgent snow concern?

A3.   You will call the Customer Service Hotline at 732-225-3777.  The Customer Service Hotline will be answered by our answering service during the overnight hours of 5:00 p.m. to 8:00 a.m. on weekdays and all hours on weekends or when the office is otherwise closed in observance of holidays or due to weather emergencies.  The answering service will notify Federal Business Centers of the calls it receives from our Customers, and we will promptly return our Customers’ calls to discuss the issue and determine a course of action. 

 

Q4.  How is snow removal managed in Raritan Center®?

A4.   Snow removal is managed directly in the field by Federal Business Centers’ foreman: Walter Dioses. He lives locally and is on call 24 hours a day to respond to Customers’ needs.  Federal Business Centers’ office management supports Walter.  All Customers’ calls are received, tracked, and answered by our Customer Service Coordinators. 

 

Q5.  What resources does Federal Business Centers draw on?

A5.   Federal Business Centers primarily uses a team composed of outside plowing companies and snow-shoveling providers.  Federal Business Centers also keeps its own labor and equipment on hand for certain snow removal work and for emergency backup.

 

Q6.  What resources are devoted to salt spreading on the main roads?

A6.   Anywhere from two to six salt spreaders are on the road depending on the time the storm starts.  We dispatch more spreaders if the storm occurs near the morning or evening rush hours.

 

Q7.  Do we salt the main roads during rush hour?

A7.   Rarely. The salt trucks must be moving steadily to be effective.  In addition, rush hour volume, by itself, helps keep the roads clear in lighter storms.

 

Q8.  How do you make the decision to begin salting and/or snow removal?

A8.   The decision to begin salting and/or snow removal is based upon the best available weather information.  Our foreman, Walter, lives within ten minutes of Raritan Center®, which helps him make informed decisions.

 

Q9.  What should I use to de-ice sidewalks?

A9.   We ask that you use only calcium or magnesium chloride, not salt.  Salt will damage the sidewalk.  You can purchase calcium chloride directly from Laymen Global, located in Raritan Center®.  Their telephone number is 732-225-9500.

 

Q10.  We are experiencing a very heavy storm and your men are not continuously removing snow.  Why?

A10.   During ongoing storms, we base our resources on the immediate weather forecast.  An accumulation of ten inches or more gives plows difficulty.  Plows will be taken off most routes and replaced with loaders.  The snow, in a very heavy storm, will be too heavy for the plows to pile it on top of snow already accumulated on the perimeters of paved areas.

 

Q11.   Are snow storms and snow seasons predictable?

A11.    No.  Storms do not follow patterns in terms of start time, duration, or intensity.

 

Q12.   In what order are Federal Business Centers’ buildings taken care of?

A12.   Each building that we are responsible for snow removal is part of a group of buildings.  These groups each form a “Snow Zone”.  Each Snow Zone has personnel and equipment dedicated to it, and each Snow Zone has dedicated back-up in case of mechanical difficulty.

 

Q13.  What shifts do the snow removal crews work?

A13.   They work 12 hours on and 8 hours off.

 

Q14.  Will Federal Business Centers clear my snow if my snow removal contractor does not show up?

A14.   Federal Business Centers already has prior commitments to Customers and will not be able to clear your snow.

 

Q15.  What does Federal Business Centers do about snow that has blown off the roof or drifted and covered a previously shoveled walk?

A15.   For roadways and other paved surfaces where Federal Business Centers has snow removal responsibility, we monitor snow and ice conditions on an hourly basis during the business day and respond accordingly.

 

Q16.  Do Federal Business Centers’ snow removal contractors remove snow from items that are situated outside my location?

A16.   No.  They remove snow from roadways, parking lots, parking lot entrances, sidewalks, stairs, and ramps only.

 

Q17.  Does a heavy snow load present a concern relative to the structural integrity of my building? 

A17.   No. In Raritan Center®, steel columns support Federal Business Centers’ modern buildings (those built out of block or pre-cast concrete after 1970).  The buildings we own that were built by the Army Corps of Engineers in 1940 have steeply-sloped roofs, which shed large snowfalls.  The types of buildings that typically fail are those that are supported through bearing walls and perimeter parapets, as they retain snow on flat roofs—none of the buildings we own are built this way. 

 

Q18.  Depending upon the amount of snow we get, should we consider removing snow off of our building’s roof?

A18.  Our customers and their snow removal vendors should absolutely not attempt to gain access to the roof of their building to remove snow or for any other reason. 

 

It is not Federal Business Centers’ standard practice to remove snow off of any of the roofs of its buildings.  Doing so could damage the roof and jeopardize the roof warranties that we have in place.  Our roofs are very well maintained, so leaks should be rare to non-existent.  The roofs of our buildings have experienced many snowstorms and other weather events, including Hurricane Sandy, and they fared exceptionally well.

 

Q19.  Do we maintain our roof drains to make sure they are clear?

A19.  Our in-house roofer, John Andrus, regularly maintains the buildings’ roof drains throughout the year as a part of our regular maintenance program.  As an extra precaution, the buildings also have “overflow” drains that serve as a back-up for the main roof drains.

 

Q20.  The building next door receives snow removal service earlier than mine. Why?

A20.   There are a few possibilities:

 

1.    Federal Business Centers is not responsible for snow removal for the other building and, therefore, we have no control over when it occurs.  The majority of our Customers are responsible for snow removal and hire their own snow removal contractor(s).   Some Customers reserve large numbers of heavy snow removal equipment at great cost.  For example, there is a shipping company in Raritan Center® that operates hundreds of vehicles 24 hours a day.  They spend extra money to have snow removed very quickly.  They also spend money when it does not snow by having equipment reserved (rented) and parked at their site.

 

2.    The other building may simply be scheduled for snow removal services before your building, whether it is in the same Snow Zone as yours or not.  For the buildings that Federal Business Centers is responsible for snow removal, we try to equalize service among them by following the priority list stated in our answer to Question 1 above.  What this means is that we try to get Raritan Center® open first, and then we try to get each building open.  As time permits, we get the buildings completed.  We avoid doing one building completely when there are others that have not yet been touched.

 

3.     If there are many cars and trucks left in your building’s parking lots at night and your neighbor’s parking lots are clear, the empty lots are going to be plowed while they are clear.  We periodically remind our Customers to keep their parking lots clear or to park their cars next to each other in adjoining spaces rather than in a scattered fashion.  Unfortunately, these reminders do not reach every one of the thousands of employees and over-the-road drivers who work in Raritan Center®.

 

Q21.  I use my own snow removal contractor.  What will happen if my snow removal contractor, without consideration of my neighbors, plows snow into the street or blocks my neighbor’s truck or personnel doors?

A21.  We will ask you to have your contractor return to remove the snow that is blocking your neighbor’s access to or from the roadway.  If these problems persist, the Customer will be informed that its contractor will not be allowed to remove snow on Federal Business Centers’ property.

 

Q22.  Do we plow parking lots after cars have arrived in quantity?

A22.   No. We shift resources back to roadways, aisles, and entrances.  We return to the parking lots at night.

 

Q23.  Can snow be pushed or plowed onto the railroad tracks in Raritan Center®?

A23.   No.  Snow cannot be plowed by anyone onto the railroad tracks in normal or blizzard snow conditions because the railroad tracks are ACTIVE in Raritan Center®, and it is against the law to interfere with active railroad operations.  Each Customer is responsible to advise their snow removal contractor(s) of this.  If you need help with your snow removal plan, we will be happy to assist you.

 

Q24.  Why can’t de-icing materials (calcium or magnesium chloride) be stored in bulk at my premises?

A24.   They cannot be stored in bulk at your premises because they damage paved areas and landscaping.

 

 

 

 

BLIZZARDS

 

Q25.  Why can’t the snow be removed faster in blizzard conditions?

A25.   After six inches of snow, Federal Business Centers has to start shifting from plowing the snow to carting the snow.  There are only so many loaders available to clear the snow during blizzard conditions.  It is too expensive for snow removal contractors to keep extra loaders and other “blizzard” equipment on hand for these rare events.  Blizzards occur, on average, every seven to ten years.  It takes longer to move snow offsite with a loader than to push a small amount of snow to the edges of the lot.

 

Q26.   If the Governor declares a “State of Emergency” due to blizzard conditions and people are asked to stay home, should people come to work?

A26.   No. When the Governor declares a “State of Emergency,” it means that the roadways are overcome with snow and are not safe for commuters to travel. A “State of Emergency” is called so that commuters will stay home for the safety of themselves and others and to allow snow removal crews to clear the roadways.

 

Q27.   If my snow removal contractor did not clear the snow from my parking lot, may I park on the roadways in Raritan Center®?

A27.   No. No one is allowed to park vehicles or trucks on any roadways in Raritan Center®.  This is unsafe and interferes with snow plowing.  Vehicles and trucks will be towed at the vehicle owner’s expense immediately if they are parked on any roadways!

 

Q28.   I am responsible for snow removal, but I didn’t get a snow removal contract in place before the blizzard – now what do I do?

A28.   You will have a very difficult time securing a snow removal contractor to remove the snow for you in a timely fashion.  The contractors will first take care of their existing clients, thus delaying service to you.  Federal Business Centers already has prior commitments to Customers and will not be able to clear your snow, especially during or after a blizzard.