With many building managers preparing to make their workplaces safe for staff to return, thoughts quickly turn to the air conditioning. With many buildings left unoccupied with little or no maintenance likely to have taken place, questions arise: When was it last serviced and could it be spreading harmful viruses or bacteria?
A well-maintained and clean air conditioning or ventilation system is still as important as it ever was. Despite some stories at the start of the pandemic that air conditioning units may be responsible for spreading coronavirus, there should be little concern providing routine maintenance has been carried out to ensure a clean and correctly operating system.
There is currently a strong focus on maximising the fresh air within buildings which in some cases requires a slight modification of existing systems and controls.
What can you do to prepare your air conditioning systems for COVID-19?
The current advice can be summarised as follows:
If you have any concerns or queries relating to the specific equipment in your building, Oakland will be happy to help. If buildings are to remain unoccupied for a longer period then the correct mothballing procedures as detailed in SFG30 must be followed in terms of decommissioning certain services.
Please note that based on this advice we do not recommend that planned maintenance visits are canceled or rescheduled as there is a statutory requirement to ensure buildings remain compliant.
What other building services need recommissioning?
If you are an employer or business owner whose premises have remained vacant or unused during the lockdown period, your hot and cold water supplies could be at increased risk of containing legionella bacterium. Daily flushing of all outlets needs to be carried out and outlet temperatures in accordance with L8 ACoP and needs to be recorded, as well as the flushing of toilets with seats down.
Building managers have a legal responsibility to identify any risk of contamination to their hot and cold water supplies and to prevent or control it.
See the latest guidance documents from the LCA, REHVA & BESA below.
Contact our Facilities Management team for further advice on safely cleaning and recommissioning your water services.