BOMA Oregon has you covered with some helpful tips while your commercial building is closed or vacant. Here is a list of important things to consider:
- Make sure your HVAC system is running properly.
- It’s OK to set the thermostat settings back (perhaps 55 degrees for heating and 80 degrees for cooling) – just don’t turn them off completely.
- Make sure your outside air and exhaust fans are running to keep the air circulating.
- Make sure someone is putting water in the “p-traps”—particularly in sinks and floor drains – to keep sewer gases from backing up into the space.
- Don’t forget the slop sinks in the janitor’s closets, the floor drains in the bathrooms, and drains in the mechanical rooms and back-office areas.
- Make sure someone from your team is walking every inch of the building every workday.
- They should be looking for potential issues – like leaks, unsecured doors, equipment left running, etc.
- Make sure exterior doors and, where operable, exterior windows are locked.
- Work with your tenants to shut off equipment that is not in use. Remember that equipment (like a copier) is still drawing power even when it is in the power-saving mode.
- Water that is sitting still in the plumbing system will develop biofilms—which can cause disease (including Legionella, pseudomonas, and mycobacterium).
- Make sure someone is running the water through the system every day.
- Consider working with an industrial hygienist to test the potable water before letting tenants back into the building.
- Consider posting a sign with your contact information on exterior doors in case someone needs access to the building.
- If the building is truly vacant, consider posting security guards on-site to deter vandalism and theft. Or, consider installing remote access cameras so you can keep an eye on common areas and the exterior.
- Make sure the roof access is secured to keep people from accessing the roof and from accessing the building from the roof.
- Consider closing the miniblinds—or at least putting them down and angling them to minimize solar gain and reduce energy consumption.
- Review your insurance policy and notify your insurance provider. Even if the closure is only temporary there might be insurance requirements to consider.
- Make sure to run building systems (e.g., pumps, motors, elevators, etc.) on a schedule. When these pieces of equipment sit idle they can degrade quickly.
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