While the industry and our social lives adapt to the new challenges brought on by the Coronavirus, it is important to know that building maintenance as always remains vital for the safety of workers and the general public.
This was a key point made by Robert Jenrick MP, Secretary of State at the UK Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government who recently spoke of the importance of servicing works on BBC Radio 4. He has stated that contractors should continue to work as normal to complete maintenance work including fire safety, sanitation and cladding remediation so long as Public Health England guidelines were followed.
This obviously presents a challenge as some work will be difficult to complete while abiding by the public health guidelines, particularly the two metre distancing rules. The overarching message from the minister is to find new ways to undertake these tasks if possible, stating:
“There are situations where it is safe to continue to go to work. Public Heath England have published further guidance as to how you can operate sites in certain settings safely. There are precautions you would need to take, some of which will prove too difficult for some site operators to adhere to and that’s why you have seen a number of companies choosing to close down their sites in the last day or two and I fully support those decisions. Employers need to be sensible, to take account of Public Health England guidance and make decisions in the best interests of their workers and of wider society, as they would have to with any other Health and Safety situation.”
Maintenance tasks are often critical for our infrastructure to continue to operate safely and this directive from minister reinforces the awareness for the key role we undertake.
We understand that building maintenance ensures longevity of engineering or building services equipment. Moreover, it upholds statutory compliance. But how is this affected when building’s are only part occupied. Unless the building is completely closed with no occupancy, there is still a requirement to uphold the safety of those within. That means to uphold those statutory items of maintenance and health and safety testing; such as fire alarm testing, emergency lighting tests, flushing…
During these periods of low occupancy, it is also a fantastic time to undertake specialist maintenance tasks safely such as fan coil unit maintenance, black building tests, electrical testing. Where these are normally done out of normal hours, these can be done in-hours at reduced rates, and they can also be done with respect to the Government’s guidelines for safe working in times of this crisis.
Karsons Consulting are drafting specific method statements and risk assessments, and implementing specific strategies to undertake work safely at this time. If you need any information or advice regarding your office or building maintenance work, Karsons Consulting is available to help. Call 020 3282 7605 or email .
Don’t lose the opportunity to be efficient during this lockdown period!