Even as COVID-19 continues to disrupt the workplace, many businesses across the nation are preparing to return to normal operations. As buildings start to accept more occupants, building owners and managers should be aware not only of the interpersonal safety measures that are recommended, such as continued social distancing and frequent decontaminating of surfaces, but also of measures that they can take to make sure their building systems are working to create as safe an environment as possible.
There have been many guidelines published, including from ASHRAE, the CDC and the EPA, detailing what management can do to prepare for re-occupancy, and at times the list can seem overwhelming. We get that you may not have time to comb through every procedure or possible outcome. So we’ve combed through many of these guidelines and identified the top 5 items we feel building owners and managers can focus on to help their buildings get ready again for reoccupancy. If you need further assistance or need to be connected to a contractor that can assist with these steps, reach out to us! We’re here to help.
- Before reoccupation, run your HVAC system for 72 hours and replace any older air filters. If you detect a smell of any kind, this may be mold buildup. See the CDC’s instructions for mold remediation here.
- Adjust your fan schedules to begin 2 hours before personnel arrive in the building each day and to switch off one hour after the end of activity, using 100% outdoor non-recirculated air. This way the ventilation system will be cleaned before and after all activity where air contamination may occur.
- Flush your water plumbing system completely, opening all faucets and taps to let water run and remove standing water from the system.
- Check your water heater to make sure it is up-to-date on maintenance and the temperature is correctly set. You may also need to drain it if the manufacturer recommends to do so after a long period of disuse.
- Establish an accelerated (weekly) schedule for HVAC and water system checks. Over time, this can be extended to monthly or quarterly depending on your building’s specifications.