Tips for Returning to a Building After Disuse: A Facilities Checklist

Many workplaces have been left unused and empty during the Pandemic, and we are now moving closer to a time when restrictions can be lifted and businesses can open their physical doors again. Here are some of the main considerations in ensuring a building is safe, operational and ready for staff to return to…

Working from home has become the new norm for many of us, apart from some obvious industry exceptions. Where this has meant that buildings have been left unoccupied for several weeks, returning to work can bring some unexpected issues. Our facilities team has put together a helpful checklist of the most common things to consider. This isn’t intended to be an exhaustive list and there may be many more considerations, depending on your building and your type of business. Do seek professional assistance where appropriate, to ensure your building is safe before you open the doors to staff.

Suppliers and contractors

The first thing we need to establish is the availability of our building’s suppliers and contractors. Like many of us, they may have needed to put staff on furlough or their whole business could be closed. We also need to be mindful that if we are planning a return to our workplace, then other companies are likely to be doing the same, so the contractors we rely on may be extra busy and less able to respond to our needs. It is important to start talking to them now before we look to open up our buildings and establish what support we can expect and what their mobilisation times are.

Now we know what our suppliers and contractors are doing, we need to look at what our buildings need. Some of this will depend on how the building was closed down and what, if any, maintenance has been carried out during the lockdown. The below is in no particular order and can be carried out by a member of staff, however please consider having these done by your specialist contractors where appropriate.

Legionella L8 Protocols

  • Consider whether to clean and chlorinate water storage tanks
  • Flush all tap outlets
  • Ensure toilets and urinals are flushing correctly
  • Check hot water storage temperature and ensure it is within L8 standards
  • Check tap temperatures and ensure these are within L8 standards
  • Disinfect tap aerators and shower heads, if not done in last 3 months
  • Flush drinks machines and disinfect outlets

Emergency lighting (EML)

  • Perform an EML function “flick” test
  • Check and replace any failed lamps as necessary

Fire Alarm

  • Perform a fire alarm test
  • Ensure sounders are working in all areas
  • Check signalling back to any monitoring station

Fire doors and emergency exits

  • Check that fire doors open easily
  • Check locking mechanisms operate smoothly
  • Check exit routes are free from debris and not over grown

Access to the premises

  • Ensure you have access to the keys and they work
  • Ensure access control is functioning
  • Check the intruder alarm, make sure you have the codes
  • Check lifts and lift alarms are working correctly

Office clean

  • Decide on the type of clean required – standard clean, deep clean or building sanitisation
  • Reinstate cleaning services
  • Clear fridges of out of date food and drinks
  • Reinstate washroom services

Utility services

  • Check and reinstate gas if necessary
  • Check and reinstate electrical supplies if necessary
  • Check and reinstate water supplies if necessary
  • Reinstate waste collection
  • Reinstate milk deliveries
  • Cancel any postal redirects

Air conditioning/ventilation

  • Perform a functional check of all air conditioning and fresh air supplies
  • Clean or replace internal filters
  • Clean external condensers

IT equipment

  • Check any IT systems hosted on premises are functional
  • Check any network links coming into the building are operational
  • Check any telephony circuits coming into the building are operational
  • Any other IT checks depending on your environment

For more information or advice you can contact one of our specialists on 0344 863 3000 or request a call back enquiry.dcs@dcs.tech.