Covid-19 – Guidance for property managers & occupiers

Covid-19 – Guidance for Property Managers & Occupiers

An important core of our business is property management and this additional guidance is specifically for you.

  • Be aware of your responsibilities as an employer which are outlined clearly within your Health & Safety policy and within your lease.
  • Surveyors should stay in contact with their facilities management team so they feel empowered to make the right decisions for their building based on trusted scientific guidance.
  • It is not a building manager’s responsibility to manage travel risk of tenants or occupiers. Neither is it a building manager’s responsibility to work with their occupiers to guide them in how they should manage the current situation. As an employer, the tenant/occupier should risk assess their situation.
  • Building managers will need to be transparent and potentially act as a hub to share information regarding controls in the building, but in a small shared building with only a few tenants, they should all work together.
  • For larger buildings, in particular those with a large footfall, work with your cleaning provider to ensure cleaning regimes and supplies are being maintained. You may need to agree increased hours for the cleaning team(s). Review cleaning for your smaller buildings.
  • Communication and transparency are important. Share information freely but be realistic and remain practical and sensible in respect of any precautions. Stay in contact with building management occupiers and work together as a building to manage precautions. Follow the guidance provided by trusted sources which is based on science.
  • It is the employer’s responsibility to have a policy in place of self-quarantine from affected areas. This guidance will not come from the building manager.
  • It is not a building manager’s responsibility to let building occupiers, or their visitors, know they should not come into the building if they have symptoms. It is the responsibility of the tenant/occupier, as the employer, to have a policy in place which communicates this. This is the right thing to do and current guidance says this is now expected.
  • It is not a building manager’s responsibility to have medical PPE in place for isolation. It is up to the tenant/occupier to decide what to do if someone comes to work unwell. Everyone should have policies in place to stay away if they have symptoms – see above.
  • It is not a building manager’s responsibility to decide whether tenant events or conferences should go ahead in the building. Those organizing events should consider the risk to others and take responsibility for this.
  • The building manager should be a hub for communications. There must be a system for staying in touch with key people (in compliance with GDPR).
  • Do work with your service providers in respect of the building to ascertain:
    • How they will manage security cover if any members of the regular team have to self-isolate or take time off sick
    • Their policies regarding coming to work if displaying symptoms. Workers may be tempted to come in ill if they are going to be financially penalised, especially those on lower pay
    • Within buildings there are critical maintenance issues which keep the building running.
  • Work with the cleaning contractor to ensure they have sufficient supplies of necessary cleaning products. Washing hands with soap and water does the same job as hand sanitising gel if this runs low. Toilet rolls are unlikely to run out, contrary to popular belief.
  • It is the employer’s responsibility to provide antiseptic wipes for communally used items, such as telephones or shared workstations. The building manager will not supply cleaning materials for occupiers/tenants.
  • If a positive case is diagnosed within a building it is the occupier’s responsibility to organise a deep clean with their relevant service provider. The building manager will organise this in common parts to clean those areas of the building with which the individual has come into contact such as lift controls, door handles or communal welfare facilities.
  • If there is a diagnosed case in a building this information should be freely shared so everyone can take the precautions they feel are most appropriate for their staff.
  • Building managers should provide notices to remind building users of basic hygiene standards in WC’s and reception areas of larger buildings. Tenants/occupiers should do the same within their demise. Ensure any signage is clear and straight forward.
  • The virus cannot be spread through air handling systems. Building managers should maintain all mechanical and electrical plant as normal. Air handling plant does not need to be switched off if there is a case in an area of the building.

For general guidance click here