IRS Ltd are a key part of the supply chain to many critical business sectors that require our support at this unprecedented time.

We understand that many of our clients may be unsure of what they may need to do in order to continue to service some, or all, of their Refrigeration, Air Conditioning and Ventilation equipment during this period of uncertainty. Official information on what should or should not be maintained is currently a little unclear, so we want to try and help navigate the situation with you by providing some simple information based on the guidance we have been able to seek in the past days and weeks and our approach to continuing to service those of our clients who need us most.

We have been attending a daily Webinar run by the Building Engineering Services Association (BESA) who have proved to be a sound source of practical advice, and they suggest some simple guidance for checking what to do in this situation:

Wherever possible, continue to operate air conditioning/ventilation systems. This equipment should have sound filtrations systems to maintain regular air changes and continue to maintain these systems in line with compliance requirements.

If temporarily closing a building down, refer to SFG30 for guidance. SFG30 is the essential tool for facilities managers, defining best practice for shutdown procedures and the eventual reactivation of the building. This will provide vital information on what process you should follow in terms of decommissioning equipment and then recommissioning once the building is brought back online.

Seek guidance from your insurance provider. They will be able to confirm if the actions you are proposing to take will comply with your insurance policies and that you are meeting your statutory compliance.

Do not trust reports in the media that may suggest “the coronavirus could be spread by air conditioning systems”. As with many stories like this in the media, a degree of caution should be taken with regard to the veracity or accuracy of the statements made. Air conditioning is often an easy scapegoat target when there is an outbreak of any kind – think of any Legionella outbreak and how the media immediately blames air conditioning despite the fact that we very rarely use the type of air conditioning in the UK where legionella bacteria can proliferate.
The recent reports of research from Singapore seem to suggest from finding “traces of the virus” in “an air duct connected to the room of a patient” who had tested positive for the virus, that the natural conclusion was that the virus was being transferred via the air flowing through the duct.

Not only is this unscientific, the scaremongering this creates is unhelpful. These reports do not consider the distinct probability that someone has touched the outlet grille and left the trace amount there and it therefor gives inaccurate information to those trying to get to grips with the reality of the situation.

Airborne contaminants can be minimised, if not eliminated, by proper and effective filtration and regular cleaning and maintenance of ventilation systems. A clean ventilation system is an essential part of a healthy building and it is essential that any ventilation system serving a building where confirmed cases have been diagnosed are sanitised in accordance with best practice, and that any buildings where no cases have been confirmed have their ventilation system cleaned to industry best practice as a preventative measure during this time and on-going.

Should you wish to speak to us regarding the above then please do not hesitate to call, we would be happy to hear from you. We hope that all our customers, staff and their families keep safe and well.

Posted on 01/04/2020