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Technical Services Bulletin

By 27th April 2020News

Atalian Servest believe all information contained within this bulletin is accurate as of issue on 27/04/20 and will continue to monitor industry guidance to ensure the best support for our customers.

Building services are essential for supporting business operations – now more than ever. At Atalian Servest we are committed to ensuring that our customers’ premises are safe and ready for operation whenever they are needed.

Atalian Servest are members of the BESA (https://www.thebesa.com/) and have been taking guidance on a daily basis as it is shared from government to industry and vice-versa.

What maintenance should be undertaken right now?

Planned maintenance activities should continue as far as possible whilst applying the necessary hygiene and social distancing guidelines. The Construction Leadership Council has published V3 of the Site Operating Procedures during Covid-19[1].

It is particularly important to continue PPM where it is necessary to fulfil a statutory or mandatory requirement under regulation. All duties under the Health & Safety at Work act still apply, and as such all those with duties should continue to do all the that is possible to allow these activities to continue. Statutory maintenance should not be deferred due to building closures or other operational restrictions. Some specific guidance has been issued for, gas[2], refrigeration[3], and pressure and lifting equipment[4].

Many estates teams will be considering if non-statutory routine or functional maintenance should continue. It may be viewed as a potential saving to delay or cancel maintenance visits, particularly where buildings are not being used in the same way as they normally would. Whilst it is true that enhanced maintenance programmes that may be needed for the particular use of a building whilst occupied can be reduced, estates teams should still be considering the long-term value of their assets and protecting this with maintenance. Additionally, continuity of service visits will help ensure that buildings are safe and ready for full operation and will mitigate unexpected downtime and breakdown costs.

Where any maintenance visits are missed or cancelled, whether statutory, mandatory or routine, this should be recorded in order to allow informed decision making for the building in the future.

Where a building, plant and equipment is not required for an extended period, then a thorough plan of deactivation or mothballing should be implemented. This will mitigate against operational, insurance and health and safety compliance risks. Atalian Servest, as a BESA member, have access to SFG30: Mothballing and Reactivation specifications and can support our customers in the planning and implementation of these measures.

Atalian Servest will endeavour to provide continuity of service and support customers in their delivery of obligations and can provide specific guidance on legislative maintenance requirements where required.

More guidance on building maintenance has been issued by SFG20[5].

What is going to negatively affect maintenance delivery right now?

Access to buildings in order to undertake maintenance is the biggest disruption to maintenance disruption. Where regulated examination, testing or servicing is due, the owner/operator for that building should endeavour to arrange those activities to take place, as legal duties will still apply.

A reduction in service labour capability may appear in certain areas, meaning prioritisation of work should be steered to compliance areas where necessary.

All other risks which would require assessment and mitigation under health & safety legislation are still required to be considered.

Are there specific risks to consider for low or zero occupancy buildings?

Where building plant and equipment is operating, and the building has a reduced occupancy from standard use, then the normal preventative measures taken may not be enough to fully mitigate health and safety risks. The potential risk of legionella in hot & cold-water systems that have not had issues of stagnation addressed is significant – even more so as Legionnaire’s disease, like Covid-19, is a respiratory condition.

Each building should be considered individually as to the building occupancy and status of those systems before agreeing a course of action. The advice posted by the Legionella Control Association[6] should be considered, along with that of the employed specialist provider. Weekly flushing of outlets to stimulate flow is a simple measure to prevent stagnation but may not be sufficient in all circumstances. Responsible Persons should also be considering the measures needed to re-commission systems prior to re-occupation, including flushing, cleaning and disinfection. Any significant change to water systems will necessitate a review of the water risk assessment.

The European Study Group for Legionella Infections (ESGLI) has issued further guidance on Legionella, split into sectors: Hospitals; Nursing/Care Homes and other Buildings. This guidance should be reviewed in detail and is intended primarily for the Responsible Person for the building owner/operator [7].

Where buildings are closed or specific plant is not required, it is our recommendation to follow the SFG30 procedures for deactivating/mothballing plant. This will mitigate against risk and Atalian Servest can support our customers in implementing a checklist for this purpose.

Does building ventilation and air conditioning present a risk of spreading Covid-19?

Refcom have issued a guidance note which indicates there is no clear evidence at this time that coronavirus can be spread through air conditioning systems. “Any airborne contaminants can be minimised by proper and effective filtration, regular maintenance and, where appropriate, cleaning of ventilation systems, as set out in existing industry guidance.”[8]

Several measures have been highlighted as good practice, and Atalian Servest will adopt these measures whilst undertaking maintenance.

Any ventilation or air conditioning system that normally runs with a recirculation mode should be set up to run on full fresh air, if that system cannot be shut down.

Atalian Servest are monitoring guidance being provided to industry on an ongoing basis.

An example of supporting clients, minimising risk and providing cost savings during the Covid-19 era

Following the uncertain times of COVID-19 and instruction from the Government, a national client had to close their doors for the foreseeable future. Upon closing, we quickly partnered with our client to make cost saving and risk prevention changes to their estate, our primary objective was isolating all sites whilst maintaining safety and compliance.

With the engineering teams first class work isolating specific energy and plant on the sites, we reduced energy costs and risk of plant failure in unmanned buildings.

Atalian Servest managed to complete this from the mobilising of the team, to the full estate of 100 properties being placed into a safe isolated state, within 2 weeks. The estimated energy savings from these actions are circa £600,000 per month across the estate due to the success of the closure program, generating a substantial and vital saving for our client in these challenging times.

Now our focus turns to reversing this process, due to the success and flexibility of Atalian Servest’s work on the closure program, the task has grown and we are about to embark on the re-instatement and maintenance program of 130 sites across the U.K.

Our team will now get our client operationally ready and compliant to enable trading at the first possible instance. However, due to the uncertainty of times ahead, it is imperative that we have flexible plans in place to ensure the maintenance is tailored to move with the client’s needs. A few of the benefits are listed below.

Benefits:
• Phased re-energisation of the estate, hence gradual ramp-up of energy costs for client.
• Gas Safety Checks/Re-instatement to ensure safety
• Sufficient time-planning to address any issues found
• Compliance assessed with issues rectified
• Ensures preparedness for opening the doors
• Get ahead of the demand wave
• Scheme in place to have continued PPM regime in place, if delay in opening doors

 

 

  1. www.constructionleadershipcouncil.co.uk/news/site-operating-procedures-version-3-published/
  2. www.gassaferegister.co.uk/help-and-advice/covid-19-advice-and-guidance/
  3. www.refcom.org.uk/blog/refcom-coronavirus-updates/
  4. www.hse.gov.uk/news/work-equipment-coronavirus.htm?utm_source=govdelivery&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=coronavirus&utm_term=guidance&utm_content=work-equipment-15-apr
  5. www.sfg20.co.uk/media/45056/sfg20-building-maintenance-guidance-covid-19.pdf
  6. www.legionellacontrol.org.uk/news/
  7. www.legionellacontrol.org.uk/news/94/
  8. www.thebesa.com/media/837569/updated-9the-april-refcom-tb-48-4-covid19-ac-systems.pdf

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