Bed haddick.jpegBen Hadick • 

Return to office work

The quiet and stillness from a global economy that nearly shut-down is nearing its end, and light is starting to appear at the end of the tunnel.

Streets are transitioning back to being lively and entertaining. Outdoor dining, beer gardens, and farmers markets are reopening for business. And people are on the move again.

Many office buildings, however, are sitting still; frozen and waiting for the reemergence of a new “normal” in the wake of a pandemic.

Although it’s still unclear when workers can return to the office, one thing is certain: Building owners and operators have a monumental task ahead of them.

Why? They need to bring real estate back online to serve occupants efficiently, safely, and comprehensively. They need to continuously engage and collaborate with office workers to ensure the new office environment is healthy, sustainable, and equitable for all people in a COVID-era.

In order for building owners and operators to succeed in this task, they must follow these four steps:

  1. Update the building’s Current Facility Requirements (CFRs)
  2. Recommission the building to verify functionality, optimize performance, and save money
  3. Perform preventative and ongoing operations and maintenance
  4. Share and distribute information to ensure the building is meeting the needs of its occupants

How to do this using Fieldwire?

First, follow these steps to build an “Office Building Collaboration” project template using Fieldwire. Now that you have your Fieldwire project set up and standardized, you have a strong software foundation to coordinate the next four tasks.

1. Update your building’s Current Facility Requirements (CFRs)

When thinking about updating your building’s Current Facility Requirements (CFRs), it is important to take the following into serious consideration when revising the document:

  • Altered COVID safety requirements to prioritize social distancing and sterilization. Create project wide notifications to keep your office up to date with any changes to COVID safety protocols and sterilization measures
  • Reduction in allowable building occupants. Mark the maximum building occupant numbers on the office floor plans so that nobody is confused. You can even mark the number of allowed occupants in various conference rooms
  • Modifications to standard working hours
  • Modifications or improvements to address air quality concerns. Coordinate modifications or improvements with tasks, so that you delegate and assign responsibility to bring the job to completion. Use watchers and notifications to keep everyone updated
  • Modifications to maintenance protocols. Use forms and checklists to organize and manage process driven protocols. Use tasks to assign operations and maintenance work
  • Building flushing frequencies based on ASHRAE’s reopening guidance. Use tasks and forms to coordinate flushing and track that it was complete based on standard guidelines

2. Recommission your building to verify functionality, optimize performance, and save money

Recommission your building to optimize performance and save money long-term. Since your building has been largely unoccupied for an extended period of time, it is important to recommission it to ensure the building’s vital operations are still functioning as intended.

Since you now have a Fieldwire project and your operations and maintenance team members are added as users, you don’t necessarily need a third party team to recommission your building and you can coordinate it internally. You should reference your original construction documents to ensure your building is operating as designed and consult with expert HVAC contractor’s as necessary.

The following are example items that need to checked — all of which can be coordinated and documented with the use of Fieldwire’s tasks, reports, and/or forms:

  • HVAC needs to go through startup and functional testing. Consider creating a custom functional testing form with a startup checklist
  • Work with the licensed engineer who designed HVAC to verify intended operating parameters. Consider adding the licensed engineer to the Fieldwire project
  • HVAC inspections (dust, dirt, debris, etc.). Track inspections with Fieldwire tasks and forms, and generate an automatic HVAC inspection report
  • Water Quality Reviewer for Cooling/Heating Systems
  • Verify functionality of backup/emergency power supplies. Create a custom form to verify compliance that the emergency power supply is functioning in case of an emergency
  • Verify functionality of fire detection and alarm system. Create a custom form to verify compliance that the fire detection and alarm system is functioning in case of an emergency

For more example items, check out these guidelines provided by a member of ASHRAE’s Epidemic Task Force.

3. Perform preventative and ongoing operations and maintenance

Performing recommissioning once before your occupants returns is simply not enough. Your building needs an ongoing operations and maintenance plan with consistent commissioning processes to optimize the performance of your buildings. Keep all of this on track with Fieldwire, where Maintenance Work Orders and other ongoing operations activities can be coordinated with tasks and forms.

4. Share and distribute information to ensure the building is meeting the needs of its occupants

Once you’ve set up a Fieldwire template project for coordinating a safe and healthy return to the office, the information can be distributed, ensuring the modifications made in a COVID-era meet the needs and expectations of the building’s occupants.

To learn more about how Fieldwire can facilitate building recommissioning and foster a safe work environment in the wake of a pandemic, click to schedule a demo.

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