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Commercial real estate owners and building management companies are not only compelled to provide premises to their tenants that meet certain health requirements but, on a less regulatory level, because people simply won’t come into places (let alone rent them) where they don’t feel safe. Given the relationship between HVAC systems and the potential for airborne transmission of COVID-19, building owners and operators need to practice planning, preparedness, and active communication with tenants to build trust and respect.

As more research is done and insight uncovered on aerosolization with respect to COVID-19, the approach taken should be one of respecting tenant safety concerns and building trust through frequent and transparent communication. Develop and distribute a dynamic re-opening readiness plan — the situation is ever-evolving and it can’t all be done at once. Your plan should be aimed at protecting building occupants by reducing the possibility of viral spread by focusing on the following elements:

  1. Ensuring the quality of HVAC and service systems through preventative assessments, necessary upgrades, and routine maintenance
  2. Clearly communicating actions being taken (e.g. system upgrades, new installations, etc.) to keep occupants up-to-date and providing them with any necessary information
  3. Instituting procedures designed to make people feel more secure in their surroundings like:
    • Requiring the appropriate PPE to be worn by building occupants
    • Screening and monitoring the inflow and circulation of building occupants
    • Increasing cleaning and disinfection frequency of routinely used areas and surfaces

In order for your plan to achieve the above and be pandemic-proof, you’ll need to have successful supply chains with backups AND a proper communications process regarding continued operations:

On supply chains…

  • Know your critical suppliers/vendors with respect to things like system parts, filters, PPE, etc.
  • Clearly outline the purchasing relationship with the suppliers/vendors and account for possibilities of supply disruption or service delivery failure
  • Make sure to know your service agreements and advocate for alternative provider options in these types of adverse situations

On communication…

  • Identify the primary people for contact regarding both normal ongoing and more urgent information
  • Make sure that these points of contact are well known, included in all routine communications, and can be found/looked up easily
  • Document all processes throughout the coming months to formulate standardized requirements that provide guidance, set expectations, and eschew concern

Actions taken now will lead to more than just safer building operation during partial occupancy, they’ll result in assurance and partnership — so contact Alliance Engineering today if the above sounds like the conversations you’re currently having (or need to be)!

Please click here to read Part 2: https://www.allianceengineering.ca/industry/efficient-commercial-building-operation-best-practices-and-resources/