If the building is accessible, this lack of occupancy period can be an excellent opportunity to complete tasks that are otherwise difficult to perform at full occupancy. This can vary from deep cleanings to deferred maintenance.
Fremont, CA: The outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic has transformed aspects of life in ways unthinkable. The virus has had a significant impact on all aspects of life. The use of a constructed environment, buildings and other properties, has also been affected significantly. Many non-essential office workers have been sent home to work remotely, while schools and some hotels have shut down completely. This could mean that tenant occupancy is nearly non-existent or fluctuating often. During such times, it is essential to maintain emergency systems and monitor operating systems to ensure that energy is not wasted in empty areas, resulting in inflated utility bills. The situation can get even worse if the maintenance supervisor has also been sent home due to the economic crisis.
Here are a few steps that can help ensure that the building is running smoothly while adapting to little or no occupancy.
Change of Operating Procedures
In most cases, buildings are likely to be empty. Be sure to set points in the building, be it for HVAC controls, lighting controls or hot water, adjusted to reflect a low period or low load. The building specs can also be reverse-engineered by looking at what the setpoints are currently run as. If they’re always at a low load condition, that’s probably a sign that setpoints need to be lowered even further. Make sure the controls and control sequences match any altered operating hours caused by COVID-19 safety measures and that they’re adaptive to fluctuations in load conditions.
Update All Emergency Systems
During these times, access to building features may be limited. It is essential to ensure that the building is not left unattended in a vulnerable position. Make sure that all emergency systems are up to date. Ensure that the fire suppression and detection systems are up to date with inspection, testing and maintenance. The NFPA urges that any personnel or vendors who service those systems be deemed essential. If they’re still unable to access the building, contact the local authority that handles the jurisdiction.
Check whether Current Technology is Adequate
If the building is accessible, this lack of occupancy period can be an excellent opportunity to complete tasks that are otherwise difficult to perform at full occupancy. This can vary from deep cleanings to deferred maintenance. Building managers can go beyond standard deferred maintenance and try out new and more efficient technology.