BESA urges sector to “keep going”
The building services industry has been urged to keep working and “show leadership” despite the new Covid-19 restrictions announced by the government this week.
The Building Engineering Services Association (BESA) said the work carried out by the sector to install, commission and maintain heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) equipment would continue to play a crucial role through the next phase of the pandemic.
CEO David Frise told the online audience attending a BESA webinar that the new restrictions did not imply the industry should reduce its activity; in fact he urged it to “redouble its efforts”.
“Morale across the country might have just fallen to lower than a snake’s belly, but we have to get on with it and show leadership,” said Frise.
He reminded concerned business owners that they were not alone. He said members of the BESA ‘community’ all shared the same problems and the Association was a good place to come together to work on common solutions. The webinar also heard that many owners and operators would be revisiting their building operating strategies in the face of a new rise in Covid-19 infections.
BESA’s head of business development Steve Tomkins said the second wave would make the sector’s work on indoor air quality increasingly important. He advised facilities managers to keep ventilation rates as high as possible for the foreseeable future.
Tomkins also pointed webinar attendees towards the Association’s guidance on mothballing of buildings (SFG30), which could help facilities managers maintain premises that remained empty or partially occupied following the Prime Minister’s call for people to continue working from home.
“However, in those buildings that are occupied, it will be really important to find a balance between comfort and healthy air change rates,” said Tomkins. “As we move into the colder weather, it will be more challenging to achieve the right indoor conditions using natural ventilation. FMs should also consider introducing local filtration (such as HEPA or UV) in some places.”
BESA’s head of employment affairs Paula Samuels urged employers to be sympathetic to members of staff who had concerns about returning to work. She advised them to increase their level of communication and “show people what you are doing to keep them safe by following good site practices etc.”