More than 700 Scottish companies had to shut up shop for up to three weeks last winter after water from burst pipes left offices and workplaces unfit for business.

Plummeting temperatures left firms counting the cost of burst pipes as water poured into premises after frozen pipes thawed. Business Stream, Scotland’s leading non-domestic water supplier, urged businesses not to get caught out again this year.

Last winter, around 25 per cent of calls to Business Stream customer services were made by business owners requesting emergency repairs to frozen pipes.

With this year’s winter arriving early, and predicted to be even colder than last year, Mark Powles, chief executive of Business Stream, said all businesses and public sector organisations should put in place measures to protect against the cost and inconvenience of burst pipes.

Mark said: “Last year showed how problematic frozen pipes can be. There’s the cost of repairs, which can be significant, as well as replacing any ruined stock or equipment, not to mention the cost to the business of lost time and possibly lost customers while repairs are being made.

“If temperatures drop as low as predicted, pipes can freeze over the weekend; then when the heating is switched on come Monday morning you end up with burst pipes. It can happen very quickly.”

By insulating pipes and leaving heating on low in unoccupied workplaces during cold weather, organisations can help avoid burst pipes, which could potentially ruin equipment, carpets, furniture, stock and premises.

Mark added: “What’s frustrating about burst pipes is that they are easily avoidable, but quite often people don’t even think about it. Last year Business Stream received our highest ever call volumes due to burst pipes and we really hope that this year will be different.

“Taking the necessary precautions against burst pipes can be relatively inexpensive, particularly when you compare it to the cost of what could happen.”

Business Stream has issued the following series of simple tips that customers can follow to avoid potential disasters – businesses can also find advice on preventing burst pipes at