Important Facility Management Considerations For Your Facility During COVID – 19 Pandemic

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Nobody has ever thought about such an outbreak of Coronavirus (COVID-19) in the entire world due to which everybody & everything has been affected quite badly.

Currently, in India, we are adhering to the 21days complete Lockdown but have we ever thought that once we resume back to our workplace, what sort of challenges will exist? Would we be able to handle those challenges or tackle them warily for everyone’s safety & security & to avoid its any further spread or reoccurrence thus it is important to consider its impact on staff as well as building occupants and steps that can be taken w.r.t critical equipment as well as building management services (BMS) during this time of disruption.

Let us look at some of the critical safety aspects/services:

  1. HVAC systems:
  • U-V light is used to kill airborne viruses and bacteria. It has been observed that many AHU’s and RTU’s have, or can have, ultraviolet light filters installed. Coronavirus has apparently shown to be affected by U-V light. Authorities in China are reportedly using U-V light to clean buses. If your AHU/RTU already has U-V filters, it’s a good idea to ensure these are turned on and are functional. If you don’t have these installed, you may want to consider them. These are easy to install. You may consult with your technical HVAC expert
  • AHU’s, RTU’s, FCU’s & AC units have filters installed to clean the air. Most of these systems recirculate the air. As the coronavirus can be transmitted through particles in the air from sneezes and coughing, you may consider changing the filters more regularly. Take extra caution while changing the filters. Wear appropriate protective equipment. Mask, gloves, goggles and disposable overalls and do not touch your face during this time.
  • AHU’s and RTU’s are often set to recirculate the air within the building to reduce energy consumption. As coronavirus can be transmitted through air, and the HVAC system recirculates the air within the building, consider turning the recirculation OFF so the units are pulling in the fresh air. This will result in higher energy consumption for sure but it will also result in more fresh air within the building which should reduce the risk of spreading the virus in a confined space.

  1. DG:
  • On the very first day, Check whether the Fire Extinguisher installed near your DG is intact or not, DG’s canopy door Locks are intact & battery is safe inside the canopy.
  • The area around the generator must be clean and free of clutter and any combustible material that can be hazardous. For eg: during this coronavirus outbreak since your facility is closed thus there may be a case where dry leaves or paper particles may have stuck in or around your DG’s canopy thus it is important to clear them off before you start your DG
  • In case your office is completely closed during this Lockdown period then you may ask your physical security guard on duty/ building management security guards or find out ways to switch on the DG for 5 minutes daily to avoid discharge of battery else it may trouble you on the very first day of your office operations
  • Align your DG technician to check whether there is any tampering with any of the DG’s electrical connections such as wires, cables, and terminals. Whether they are properly insulated and covered. This is essential to prevent the occurrence of an electric shock.
  • If possible get its B check done on the very first day.

  1. Washrooms:
  • Hand Driers: Do you know that hand driers in the washrooms have been reported to spread germs. If a user does not wash their hands sufficiently and then using a hand drier, the germs on their hands will become airborne. You may consider turning them off & switching to tissue papers, paper towels or M fold napkins, ensuring their safe disposal.
  • Toilets usually have extractor fans fitted. Although these mostly do not contain filters but they do require regular maintenance. Ensure the fans are working fine now so they do not need to be maintained in the next few weeks. Consider increasing the extract fan run times and speed to extract more air from these regions. Avoid going near the extract vent.
  • Ensure your sewage pumps are working fine & drains are not leaking as bodily fluids are flushed down drains and moved by pumps so their functioning has to be intact especially during this period.

  1. Support staff & maintenance:
  • Ensure that these staffs understand hygiene well & taking it seriously while performing their tasks.
  • Give stagger breaks to them.
  • Do not let them mix together for prolonged periods of time
  • Ask them to be transparent in case they have anything important to share about their health, hygiene, facility, etc
  • Ask them to wear all safety gear, helmets & uniforms at all times while on the premise.
  • Use a thermal imaging camera to inspect electrical connections to ensure there are no hotspots and risk of failures.
  • Turn off things that do not need to be kept ON
  • In short, prioritize your maintenance schedule now so that less is needed to be done in the coming weeks to avoid further spread of this virus.

  1. Common areas:
  • In case you have motion & proximity detection in your office doors then do ensure that they are working fine. This prevents person touching surfaces like door handles, levers or tap heads. If you do not have these thus explore the possibility of installing them if the space permits.
  • Instruct your cleaning/maintenance staff to use safety signage while cleaning. You might be using some chemicals thus it is always advisable to make people aware of these.
  • In case you have installed mist fans anywhere in your facility, it is better to turn them off during this period else they might help to spread the droplets in case anybody sneezes or coughs.
  • Regularly hand sanitize your common facility touchpoints including pantry & washroom accessories, IT hardware such as telephone sets, desktops, printers, etc
  • Get your office disinfection done every 15 days in the coming quarter at least
  • Request deployment of Liftman in case it is not there & instructs that Liftman to take necessary precautions while operating the Lift
  • Keep hand sanitizers at all common places including a front desk/reception & instruct people to sanitize their hands every two hours at least
  • Have a proper waste disposal
  • Either close your cafeteria these days & if not then instruct staff to maintain social distancing even in the cafeteria & office also. You may continue WFH culture wherever possible.

You may adopt the above-mentioned practices if at all suit you & your facility or you follow your own but the whole idea is to curb down the COVID – 19 impact.

Your’s buddy…..

Mr. Connect

Team – Collars Connect

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