Prepare your building for a safe return to work

May 27, 2020

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by SIMON THURSTANS, Managing Director

THESE are unprecedented times and our usual working practices have undergone some significant changes lately. 

As we all adjust to the new normal we need to prepare our buildings and places of work for the return of our staff and customers to ensure that businesses can get back up and running quickly, efficiently and safely.

During the recent lockdown, some buildings will have seen a reduction in day to day activities or even a temporary closure, and planned maintenance or testing may not have been possible during this time.

Reopening workplaces after an unanticipated closure involves a range of considerations and assessments.

If statutory maintenance or testing was scheduled to take place during the closure but was not able to be carried out, it must be completed before the building is reoccupied, as the Health & Safety Executive will still require 100% compliance.

Ensure you carry out full checks on: 

  • Gas safety and electrical systems – especially to fire safety equipment, security systems, emergency lighting, fire safety systems; 
  • Testing and maintenance routines of fire detection systems should be restarted at the earliest opportunity. Active fire protection systems, including sprinklers and fire extinguishers, should have up to date maintenance and inspection records.
  • Water systems and treatments – ensure boilers and pumps are functioning properly and at correct levels, check for leaks in water systems and all other HVAC and environmental systems.
  • Ensure you are fully compliant with all statutory and mandatory testing regimes. These will need to be checked at least three weeks in advance of re-use to allow for supplier availability. All mechanical set-points should be reset to appropriate occupancy levels. Liaise with service, testing and maintenance providers to ensure appropriate provision levels can be restarted.
  • Water hygiene is one area where risk could be high and it is a legal requirement to have an up to date water risk assessment which will detail any control measures to mitigate the risk of Legionella. This will need revisiting as the usage of water will have been much reduced during the lockdown and additional flushing and testing may be required to ensure the water is safe to use.
  • And carry out checks on your business critical services – such as server rooms.

Guardian Environmental Services look after the hard facilities maintenance in hundreds of buildings nationwide. Along with regular planned maintenance and reactive works, we have been busy during lockdown carrying out electrical safety checks on many of our client’s sites. 

It is a requirement that fixed electrical installations are tested and certificated as safe at regular intervals and many of our clients have taken advantage of this quiet time to have these works carried out. 

For most commercial building this interval is every five years, however this does vary so check with your electrical contractor or give us a call. We will be happy to provide you with more information.

Guardian Environmental Services offer hard facilities management services across a wide range of industries and building types. We can help you achieve compliance in all aspects of building management including heating and plumbing, air conditioning and electrical services. 

For more information please give us a call on 01525 862208 or visit

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