Five measures that office buidings can take for the safety of employees

Aurel Constantin 20/03/2020 | 10:45

Office buildings owners can implement a series of quick measures for the hygiene of office spaces and of thermal and ventilation systems during this period in which a large part of employees of their tenant companies are working outside the office, being able to opt even to conserve buildings where tenants have fully implemented the work from home system, according to Colliers International consultants.

Thus, building owners contribute to limiting the epidemiological risks and ensure optimization of resources, with positive effects on the management costs of the office building.

Most office buildings in Colliers’ portfolio are currently operating at low capacity, showing that organisations across Romania have rapidly implemented temporary work-from-home solutions for their employees, while industrial projects under management are operational at 100 percent of capacity. In this context, office building owners can more easily implement measures which would otherwise be difficult in maximum occupancy conditions.

”We have built a solid continuity plan for the buildings we are managing, specific for the current situation. Driven by care for the health of people working in these buildings, we have made the plan to ensure continuity, predictability and flexibility and to cover aspects like digital means of communication, information sources and obligations to communicate, as well as the components and responsibilities of the administrative structure. We are witnessing an exemplary mobilization of companies, on all levels,” says Oana Adjudeanu, Deputy Head of Property Management within the Colliers Department of Real Estate Management Services.

Preventive disinfection actions through nebulisation, in common areas of the building and, ideally, in rented spaces, together with tenants, is the first recommended step, considering measures and norms imposed by authorities in this regard, according to Colliers International consultants.

Complete sanitation and overhaul of heating and cooling (VCV) and air treatment and ventilation (CTA) plants are also recommended.

“These operations increase the efficiency of the building, but also the level of hygiene, which is so important in this context. During this period, the Colliers team is mobilized and is adapting quickly with viable solutions that are implemented daily”, adds Oana Adjudeanu.

In certain situations, it is also recommended to stop the recirculation function of air treatment and ventilation systems. These systems are started, in some cases, for only one hour a day, until the tenants return to the building. Also, certain works that are normally programmed outside of working hours can be performed more easily, and empty floors can operate in the “unoccupied” mode, to reduce consumption and ensure a minimum temperature in the respective space.

As an additional measure of protection, in the current epidemiological context, the maintenance or management teams should not overlap and thus no longer interact directly. Colliers consultants also recommend intensifying disinfection rounds of interior surfaces, as operations can be carried out quickly, especially when the building is not occupied.

„Today we are operating in special conditions and we are choosing to talk about these recommendations for best practice based on the extensive experience of our collaborators and of Colliers’ Property Management team. Both the overall Colliers team and the project teams have been analysing, since the start of the current situation, different scenarios, from building functioning below normal levels or being in conservation to the full lockdown of buildings as a result of possible decisions made by authorities and the reopening of those buildings. At the same time, we are encouraging building owners, tenants and collaborators to use resources efficiently and even to direct teams towards areas in society where they are most needed, focusing on activities that can contribute both to the continuity of business and to aiding the overall society,” says Alexandru Atanasiu, Associate Director Real Estate Management Services within Colliers.

As part of the property management services, the Colliers team of Real Estate Management Services manages the relationship between the owner, suppliers and current or potential tenants, offering integrated services, from operational supervision, financial services and reporting to the owner, as well as consulting for the creation of communities at project level.

The total portfolio managed by the company reaches almost 550,000 square meters of industrial and office space, and includes the office projects Equilibrium, Business Garden Bucharest, The Office in Cluj-Napoca, The Bridge, Hermes Business Campus, Stefan cel Mare Building, Art Business Center, the portfolio of offices owned by Adam America, the office portfolio owned by Smartown Group, Allianz Office Building Brasov and Vox Technology Park in Timisoara, as well as three industrial parks in Timisoara, Brasov and Arad and the ELI Park 1 industrial park developed by Element Industrial in the north of the Capital.

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