In these unprecedented times the Westminster and Holyrood response measures to combat the spread of the Covid-19 virus has resulted in a number of buildings now being unoccupied and, in some cases, mothballed for an indefinite period of time.

During these periods it is crucial for building owners to protect their assets. Mothballing of buildings and in particularly building services, is normally planned and is usually a long-term approach as part of a broader strategy around the asset itself.

Unplanned and immediate shutdown of buildings and the associated building services systems can present building owners with some difficulties. I

In such instances Xburo would offer the following considerations for building owners and managers to ensure that when ‘normal service’ resumes the building services systems are responsive.

When closing the building,

  • Take meter readings of all the utility meters both manually and electronically through your Building Management System (BMS),
  • Make a record of your building management system (BMS) operational profiles, for reinstating later
  • Set heating and cooling services onto frost protection for the spaces and ensure a regular flow of water and air, such as a daily purge or simple operation for a short period,
  • Flush all your domestic water outlets, both hot and cold for a period of 3 minutes,
  • If isolating water services to the building wholesale, be aware of systems that may rely on water top up and assess the impact of that,
  • Visually inspect your emergency lighting systems
  • Locally test your fire alarm system throughout the building and remedy immediately any identified faults
  • Locally test and check your security, door access and CCTV systems throughout the building and remedy any identified faults
  • Ensure all Redcare or emergency response numbers are up to date,
  • Notify your insurers of what you are planning to do and the measures you have taken, such as those above.

When reinstating the building for resumption of services:

  • Visually inspect all areas of your building, looking for leaks or other signs of damage.
  • Engage your maintenance contractor to inspect your heating and cooling primary plant elements and slowly bring back into the normal operating conditions
  • Work with your maintenance contractor to check that motorised elements such as dampers and actuators are responsive and operating as desired
  • Flush all your domestic water systems as per your water hygiene policy and subsequently record water temperatures
  • Take temperature readings of the water storage plant
  • Visually inspect your emergency lighting systems
  • Locally test your fire alarm system throughout the building and remedy immediately any identified faults
  • Locally test and check your security, door access and CCTV systems throughout the building and remedy any identified faults
  • Ensure that all services are operating as desired for a reasonable period before reinstating business as normal operations.

BSRIA’s SFG 30 and CIBSE Guide M offer further advice on mothballing and maintenance generally. Further information will be available from members of the MEPH industry and your building maintainers, which can be tailored specifically for your needs.