Building owners and managers have been advised to prepare HVAC systems for the return of workers as the Federal Government prepares to lift COVID-19 shutdown measures.
Before reopening after a period of shutdown, building heating and cooling systems should be thoroughly inspected and serviced to avoid health and safety risks such as legionella, airborne mould and poor air quality, as well as damage to building plant and equipment.
Air Conditioning & Mechanical Contractors' Association (AMCA) executive director, Sumit Oberoi, has warned that any period of shutdown can negatively impact the performance of heating, ventilation and cooling systems (HVAC).
“Commercial and industrial buildings—including offices, retail, hospitality venues, warehouses, universities and others—are usually designed for continuous operation. They rarely shut down for longer than a few days over Easter or Christmas," Oberoi said.
“As a result, HVAC systems rely on continuous operation for optimal performance. They also need to be supported by regular service and maintenance.
“Understandably, many building owners and facility managers have sought to reduce operational costs over recent weeks by shutting down or reducing the capacity of their heating, ventilation and cooling systems.”
As a result, Oberoi said routine service and maintenance activities that are essential to the system performance may have been put-off.
“As we begin to prepare our workforce to return to work, we also need to prepare our buildings. People must be going back to a safe and healthy work environment,” he said.