Throughout the UK organisations are planning to re-open their premises, be that businesses, schools, colleges, places of worship or the many other property types that during normal times, we all regularly meet groups of people. In opening premises the Government, in its working safely during coronavirus guidance reminds employers of the legal responsibility for the safety of people in their premises and provides helpful guidance on assessing and managing the workplace for coronavirus risk.
Property owners in a large majority of cases will be able to follow this guidance themselves. However, where a building incorporates complicated mechanical ventilation systems, it may be necessary to obtain advice from a qualified Chartered or Incorporated engineer registered with the Engineering Council to ensure that property owners understand the ventilation system within the building and plan mitigation strategies accordingly.
Whilst there is no specific change in regulation relating to ventilation of buildings, the following guidance notes provide helpful advice
- HSE Air conditioning and ventilation during the coronavirus outbreak
- CIBSE Emerging from lockdown
- CIBSE Coronavirus, COVID-19 and HVCA systems
- REHVA COVID-19 guidance
The principle recommendations being:
- Increase ventilation rates where possible by natural or mechanical means.
- If AHU’s have mixing boxes, switch the function off.
- If AHU’s have rotary heat exchangers (thermal wheels) switch the wheel off and ensure there is greater pressure on the supply side than the extract side. The aim being to avoid leakage from extract into supply.
How can we help?
To help guide you through which actions to take, our CIBSE member chartered and incorporated engineers will make an assessment of the various systems within your building, the control options that are available to you with the installation and make recommendation in line with the guidance notes detailed above.
Where it is helpful for you, we will support you in your consultations with unions and worker communicating in plain English the options considered, recommendations made and the logic behind those recommendations.