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This coming year will see an increased focus on air quality due to Coronavirus pandemic

There has been a continuous flow of conversation since the emergence of the Covid-19 virus last year, discussing how to ensure that facilities remain as safe as possible for everyone working within or attending them.

Many of these have been highlighted by the PFM Editorial Advisory Board (EAB) and these comments have played an essential part in allowing us to understand all the requirements and implications.

One of the various topics discussed has been that of indoor air quality (IAQ) and, by association, how facilities managers and their service provider partners are operating their HVAC systems to ensure that each facility is as safe as possible.

While some will need to change their filters more regularly, others will require more frequent monitoring

Dennis Flower PfM Dennis Flower Editor of Premises & Facilities Management

More fresh air

One of the more straightforward adjustments has been to increase the rate at which fresh air is introduced into the building, in some cases doubling the previous levels.

This will mean that systems are having to work at higher levels than was previously the case and will see further implications for service schedules and maintenance regimes to ensure that all systems operate at the correct levels of efficiency.

While some systems will see the need to change their filters more regularly, due to the increased levels of usage, others will require more frequent monitoring to ensure that operating standards are maintained.

Long term protection

There have additionally been reports of new technologies being trialled and applied to work with their HVAC systems to ensure that IAQ continues to see improvements delivered.

In some cases, these additions have been introduced to air conditioning systems with the potential to replace the practice of fogging, which requires specialist contractors.

While applying fogging to facilities is said to protect them for up to one month, additions to air conditioning systems are designed to work continuously and ensure there are no variations to IAQ levels.

The one overarching requirement is to ensure that all efforts to improve IAQ are communicated to everyone using or attending the building in question, to reassure them that they are in a safe environment.

In addition to explaining the various improvements introduced, it will be equally important to show that all HVAC systems continue to be maintained, serviced and operated to the correct manufacturer specifications.

Dennis Flower is editor of Premises & Facilities Management