While Public health officials remain focused on flattening the curve, Pinchin’s team of experts has recently been considering the risks associated with long term vacancies of commercial office properties and what might be required prior to large scale re-occupancy. In that regard, the American Industrial Hygiene Association (AIHA) recently released an excellent guidance document directed at property management companies and the return to occupancy. Read the full AIHA Guidance Document.
Pinchin has reviewed the AIHA’s article and has summarized the 3 major risks building owners and operators should consider:
- Potential indoor mould growth if HVAC systems are not properly controlling humidity this could be of concern in Canada if we are not back in the buildings before the warmer weather arrives.
- Potential for Legionella growth in domestic water systems if the lines are not flushed regularly, and hot water storage tanks are not properly maintained during the vacancy period.
- Potential for Legionella growth in cooling towers if the regular maintenance and testing was postponed due to work restrictions.
AIHA’s guidance document also suggests a need to undertake cleaning and disinfection of the property prior to and following re-occupancy. Resources needed to carry out the cleaning will likely be in high demand an in short supply during the crisis. Establishing contracts with vendors and vetting their methods and disinfectants is essential and can be performed during the building closure prior to re-occupancy.
Pinchin would also suggest that building owners consider the activities needed to support the increased level of occupancy following any return to work. It is likely that we will need to maintain physical distancing measures, keep up with increased cleaning and disinfection of common touch points, and health screen occupants to minimize risk going forward.
If you need guidance with your HVAC systems, domestic water systems and/or your cooling towers, our national team of experts would be happy to help you and your business manage your risk. Contact your local Pinchin team or call us toll-free at 1-855-PINCHIN (746-2446).