Previously, building safety meant offering a clean environment, maintaining a secure premise, and ensuring units and storage aren’t tampered with. Due to the pandemic, many new precautions have bubbled up — some that are not only considerations but mandates — for tenants to remain safe.
“Building health” has become a new buzzphrase in the facility management world. This means that a building’s infrastructure and hygiene practices are closely monitored, analyzed, and tested by new technology to ensure ventilation, lighting, and heating systems are playing their part in safeguarding employees’ health. As we now know, Covid-19 is a respiratory disease that can spread between people near one another. Because of this, apartment buildings run the potential risk of community spread, which means an infected tenant spreads the virus to other residents.
That same concept of building health translates to apartment buildings as well. Landlords must take into account the building’s health and ensure that they’re making the right adjustments to limit community risk and exposure not only for Covid-19 during current times, but also other potential future health-related concerns.
How landlords are creating healthier buildings
Healthier buildings are becoming a priority for building managers and landlords, and they’re taking the necessary steps to support tenants’ wellbeing. For example, residential landlords in Columbus can refer to Ohio’s updated checklist of safety actions.
Some additional precautions include:
1. More frequent cleanings: Increased cleaning in high-traffic areas helps minimize exposure to any lingering germs—and gives tenants peace of mind. These areas can include shared spaces like lobbies, workout areas, and restrooms, as well as high-traffic touchpoints such as elevators, door handles and railings, water fountains, and mailrooms.
3. Touchless elevators and doors: Smart, touch-free technology is now available to support entryways and elevators. Key cards or fobs with automatic doors allow tenants to avoid touching handles, and touchless smartphone technology can be used in elevators as a simple, hygienic alternative.
4. Limited common area access: Additional common areas are great amenities to attract tenants. But under the current circumstances, the number of people using a shared space should be capped based on square footage to limit traffic and decrease exposure. Temporarily suspending social gatherings, tenant meetups, and activities is an alternative as well.
5. Increased air quality and ventilation: Air circulation and proper ventilation can make or break a building’s health. HVAC systems should be regularly evaluated and serviced to ensure proper functioning and operations and provide adequate indoor air quality. Purification systems now use new technology like ultraviolet light to purify to not only purify the air but also sanitize surfaces.
Making communication a top priority
Covid-19 has forced landlords and property managers to get serious about their building protocols. But overall, these precautions are worth the time and investment, as they create safer living spaces for tenants and put their minds at ease.
With more and more time spent at home during the pandemic, the comfort as a tenant knowing that your home is clean and safe is irreplaceable. And for building owners and managers, communication is key. Once measures have been implemented, it is crucial to keep tenants informed, offering that same peace of mind for both parties as well.