By Alexandru Miculaș, Head of Facility Management, Facilities Management Services
In the last days, forced by the circumstances, more and more companies have turned to the work from home alternative or have suspended of their activity until the crisis generated by the infection with the new coronavirus is overcome. As a result, numerous office spaces, entire buildings, commercial spaces, restaurants and so on, have been closed suddenly and the facility maintenance activity has been also suspended.
However, there are reasons why the facilities of a building and the technical activities around these should not be neglected during this period of time. Firstly, because once this crisis is overcome, we can resume our activities in good conditions and also to reduce the risk of significant financial damage that may arise from the lack of maintenance.
There are two categories of services we need to consider as follows: on the one hand the mandatory ones under the current legal framework and those which concern workplace safety and health.
- Maintenance services of the facilities that we must execute to comply with the legal framework
The building owner obligation for the maintenance of pressure installations and lifting equipment cease only after the respective thermal power plants, pressure installations and lifts have been conserved. The preservation will be done only following the instructions of the equipment manufacturers.
In the case of thermal power plants there are two conservation options: wet and dry.
- Dry storage only applies to equipment shutdowns for a period longer than 6 months.
- In the case of wet preservation, the manufacturer’s instructions and the legislation in force will be observed. A corrosion inhibitor will be dosed to protect the metal surfaces of both boilers and installations against corrosion (rust). Conservation parameters should be constantly monitored and recorded in the equipment surveillance register.
Fire detection and extinguishing systems must be functional throughout the lifetime of a space. Therefore, the maintenance of detective equipment must be periodically ensured and the legal instructions followed.
The same applies to extinguishing systems. Owners must take measures to ensure that the installations are functional, to ensure that pumping groups or motor pumps are periodically started and tested, that access to external or internal hydrants is not obstructed, but that they are properly equipped and valves can be operated.
- Maintenance services of the facilities that we must execute to ensure the safety and health of the workplace
- Maintenance of air heaters, VCVs, air conditioners or heat pumps is extremely important. In the condensate trays, water can stall and, until evaporation, can develop microorganisms. All these equipment must be sanitized and maintained. Also, their filters must be cleaned and sanitized. For equipment that uses water as a thermal agent, a special care must be taken to avoid water leakage at the connections to avoid material damage.
- Chillers will be kept according to the manufacturers specifications. It is very important that they remain electrically powered and constantly monitored.
- Maintenance of the gutters, pipes, drains, sumps and associated pumps: we must ensure periodically that rainwater can drain safely, that none of the items listed above are obstructed, blocked or defective. Any problem with the rain water collection system can cause significant material and financial losses.
- Last but not least, we must ensure the disinfection of the workplace before resuming the activity.
All these activities, as well as others, will ensure the proper conservation of the facilities and, at the same time, will ensure the resumption of the activity in a very short time and without incurring significant losses.