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Retro-commissioning your office

Facility readiness is the first step towards ensuring your workplace is ready and safe to facilitate a return to work. Along with deep cleaning retro-commissioning your office is an important process in ensuring your HVAC, plumbing, lighting and fire protection systems are in full operational mode for when we return to the workplace post lockdown.

Retro-commissioning is a systematic process to improve the efficiency of an existing building’s equipment and systems. Typically we would perform retro-commissioning upon the refurbishment of an existing office, however with many office spaces being left dormant in response to COVID-19, it is increasingly important to verify the operational ability of a building after such a prolonged shut down, or reduction in occupancy. It’s also possible that without regular use systems may have become uncalibrated.

Building flush-out and legionella testing

Bacteria thrives at temperatures between 20°C and 50°C.  With taps and showers left unused there is a higher risk of contamination. One of the key control measures for minimising the risk is to ensure that your cold water is cold and the hot water is hot. Cold water needs to be around 20°C and hot water above 50°C. As well as flushing systems out, testing should be performed to ensure said temperatures are achieved. Similar tests will need to be applied to showers and bathrooms, Billi/Zip taps, and dishwashers to ensure appropriate water temperature.

Air quality testing

Indoor air quality affects the health, comfort, and well-being of building occupants. Properly monitored and installed mechanical and plumbing systems produce healthy air quality levels. This enables pathogens to be filtered, diluted and removed. The general advice in relation to COVID-19 is to supply as much outside air as reasonably possible. It’s important to consult with your building maintenance teams to ensure they are following the current recommendations before you consider re-entering your office.

Article Image W Caption Retrocomissioning

Additional re-entry interventions:

Electrical system inspection – full inspection and controls testing, including performing PAT testing. In addition to your building electrics, there are many equipment-specific standards that include safety-related requirements.

Building assessments – audits of HVAC, plumbing, lighting, IT and fire protection systems to verify operational excellence in line with heighted COVID-19 related requirements.

Controls testing –
in order to ensure on-going maintenance, develop or review operational policies for access and maintenance of your controls systems.

As we continue to learn more about the infection methods of COVID-19, we have a team mobilised to keep abreast of the changing situation. As no two offices are ever the same, we encourage you to get in touch with a member of our team, or your own building facilities team to assist in developing a specific approach.

This piece is part of our ongoing commitment to delivering resources that will help initiate discussions around getting your workplace back to work safely. More resources are available here.