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Making Buildings COVID-Secure To Encourage Workers Back Could Cost Millions

Making Buildings COVID-Secure To Encourage Workers Back Could Cost Millions
02 September 2020
 

Adapting workplaces to increase employee confidence could cost larger property owners several million pounds, according to a report by the Financial Times.

Liviu Tudor, President of the European Property Federation and chairman of Genesis Property, spoke to the newspaper about the financial implications of implementing things in offices such as temperature monitoring facilities, desk dividers and of course, extra hygiene measures.

Genesis Property owns a €500m office portfolio in Romania, with tenants including Siemens, Société Générale and Accenture.

 

Cost of Adapting Buildings Similar to Green Revolution

 

Tudor told the Financial Times that the cost of making buildings COVID-secure is similar to when making them environmentally-friendly: 

“For us, the total cost is similar to going green: one to two per cent of total initial investment. But it's about making the workplace trustable. My feeling is landlords will do that.” 

He estimates that for a building which cost €20m to build, it could cost a further €400,000 to implement COVID-safe measures.

There are several products and services currently on the market to help facilitate the reoccupation of buildings, with the facilities manager firmly involved in establishing processes for new working routines.

 

Wash hands

Picture: A photograph of a person washing their hands under a tap

 

What is the Current Official Guidance?

 

Since the summer months, the government has gradually eased lockdown measures in England, including the adoption of the “one metre plus” rule.  This is where if keeping two metres apart is not possible, one metre will suffice along with other mitigating measures to minimise the risk of spreading the virus, such as wearing a mask.

From August, employers were given more discretion on how to organise their workforce, including bringing back those who’d previously worked from home for the duration. However, recent reports have suggested that fifty of the biggest UK employers have no plans to return all staff to the office full-time in the near future.

The government has published comprehensively on returning to work measures, with sector-specific advice depending on the type of workplace. This advice was summarised by ThisWeekinFM in part two of our Contingency Planning Guide for Facilities Managers

The official government advice still emphasises that employees should work from home where they can, stating that “all reasonable” steps should be taken to allow people to do so.

In terms of practical measures, most of the guidance remains general, and is based on five key actions:

 

  1. COVID-19 risk assessments
  2. Developing cleaning, handwashing and hygiene procedures
  3. Helping people to work from home
  4. Maintaining social distancing
  5. Managing transmission risk where social distancing is not possible

 

Picture: A photograph of a person opening a building's door wearing a face mask and gloves

Article written by Ella Tansley | Published 02 September 2020

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