Businesses across the country have or are reopening buildings this month, and if you operate one of them you might be asking yourself “how is this going to work?” The good news is that there is a plan, it just hasn’t been released in full yet. But you can read it here eventually. You’re not totally in the dark, though. The BOMA International organization created a building re-entry checklist, with useful info that you can apply in your business as soon as you open the doors. (Remember, we are in the middle of a global fight against the COVID-19 virus, so throwing a “welcome back” party won’t help.) The highly recommended guidelines address:
Social distancing and Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
During low- or no-occupancy and before building re-entry, run HVAC equipment in building and tenant spaces on at least a reduced–if not regular–schedule.
Continue normal and regular HVAC maintenance, including filter changes. Check with your building engineers and HVAC contractor for any other recommended maintenance, changes in maintenance schedules, or filter or system upgrades or changes.
If possible, consider increasing exhaust and infusion of outside air for re-entry and perhaps for several weeks following re-entry.
Consult ASHRAE guidelines for operating heating, ventilating, and air conditioning systems to reduce COVID-19 transmission and follow CDC guidance where applicable.
Plumbing and Water
During low- or no-occupancy and before building re-entry, operate water systems, toilets, faucets, etc. regularly to avoid the accumulation of biofilm and other bacteria which can accumulate in as little as 3-5 days
Consider flushing and cleaning systems before opening. Refer to ICC’s 2018 International Plumbing Code for flushing and disinfecting guidelines and/or consult with a third party if necessary and practical.
Check P-traps to confirm water seals have not dried out due to a lack of water flow.
Continue to monitor and service all water systems, including water heaters, ice machines, filtration systems, etc.
Elevator and Other
Continue normal and regular elevator maintenance and implement new cleaning protocols as described under “Janitorial”.
Conduct overall maintenance and systems check with your engineer before re-opening. Ensure elevator emergency phones are operational.