With the human and economic toll of the Covid-19 – or ‘coronavirus’ - outbreak mounting rapidly at a global scale, the world is facing one of its greatest threats in decades. As the spaces in which we live and work, our management of buildings will play a crucial role in securing people from this contagion.
Here are our three top tips to keeping buildings safe from the spread of Covid-19:
1. Implementing diligent operating procedures for soft services: Limiting exposure to the Covid-19 virus has a direct correlation to the standard of cleanliness and hygiene maintained in a building. Facility managers need to ensure strict adherence to thorough and heightened cleaning procedures, which should be implemented at a much more frequent than usual frequency. Prevention is the best policy when it comes to this contagion. Building management should ensure ease of access to hand sanitizers and regularly disinfecting frequent contact surfaces, such as door knobs, elevator buttons, public restroom fixtures, tables, handrails and work surfaces.
2. Ensuring the highest level of awareness and training within onsite workforces: Facility managers must provide their housekeeping, security and other onsite staff with up to the minute and credible information from reputable sources, such as the WHO and government healthcare organizations, so that such employees can protect themselves and also be the frontline in implementing preventive and precautionary measures that safeguard occupants. Essential supplies of protective gear - such as gloves, masks and disinfectants – must be secured against supply-chain disruptions.
3. Tracking footfall and visitor information: One of the most effective ways to control the spread of the Covid-19 contagion is to keep fastidious records of the facilities that visitors and occupants have accessed and the people that they met. Not only does this enable facilities managers to be particularly diligent in cleaning surfaces and facilities that infected persons have used, it also empowers those who came in contact with such individuals, to take decisive pre-emptive action to secure their health.
The role that technology can play in securing buildings
There are many capabilities enabled by emerging digital technologies that empower proactive defence against the spread of Covid-19. Given the extended period of time over which the contagion will need to contained and reversed, tech solutions will play a pivotal role in maintaining highly consistent and diligent preventative measures as well as being able to monitor BMS operations remotely. These include help in the execution of cleaning, disinfecting and sanitizing routines in a timely fashion, remote monitoring of BMS/BAS operations, optimizing workforce hours for critical maintenance as opposed to routine inspection and rounds. Technology can also enable effective tracking of such measures as well as recording up to the minute data and making it accessible to facility management teams, building owners and tenants. Apps and interfaces that can give mobile access to real time updates will be key to keeping all stakeholders empowered and working towards common goals. In another critical preventative measure, digital records will provide a failsafe way to keep tabs on infected individuals, as well as facilities and behaviours that are contributing to the spread of the virus, in order to empower countermeasures.
(The author, Prabhu Ramachandran is the founder and CEO of Facilio Inc)