2020 has proven to be an exceptionally challenging year. The COVID-19 pandemic has forced us to reevaluate the new normal — how do we go about our daily lives while navigating uncharted territory? As the industry-leading provider of facility Engineering and Integrated Facility Management solutions, Able Services’ COVID-era objective is strong and innovative. We're working safe in tenant spaces to keep our staff and building occupants safe while simultaneously delivering a trusted environment for human productivity and living.

The reality remains that most buildings are not fully occupied during this difficult time. However, facility engineering employees are still hard at work protecting the valuable assets of our clients. We have identified a distinct set of criteria to ensure our engineering employees have a safe environment and the necessary tools and education to work effectively in tenant spaces during the COVID-era.

Facility Engineers wearing PPE.

Able Services Maintains Clean, Healthy Facilities

First and foremost, we have established criteria for the ongoing health and physical wellbeing of our facility engineers.

Social Distancing and Staggered Schedules

Where possible, facility engineering staff reports to different physical locations at their facility. By splitting employees into different facility engineering shops and separate locker rooms, we can limit overlapping interactions. Additionally, Engineering managers can reduce the amount of physical site visits by using technology to communicate with the onsite teams.  With regular communication and consistent review of onsite operations, Able Services delivers a well managed facility engineering solution intended to keep employees and tenants safe with social distancing.

Building Entry

We have our employees take their temperature before they leave their homes first. If they have a fever, or don't feel well, they notify their direct report and stay home. After they pass their self examination and arrive their work site, they are required to take their temperature again and log it. At certain sites, before entering, staff must check-in with a client’s app, answer self assessment questions and then pass another temperature check. After self-assessing and receiving a temperature check, they are then given a wristband for the rest of the day. Other sites require a new temperature check every time you enter the facility.

Contact Tracing

We’re working with our teams to do full contact tracing. We do that in a variety of ways with technology and digital records to keep people safe. If an infection case is suspected, then we can review in our PM system and determine if there is a need for further investigation. We’re also reviewing PM logs in Angus, one of the PM software systems that we use to determine where the work took place.

Facility Engineer Cleaning Clean Workspaces

Our staff are wearing masks and the appropriate PPE for their jobs. Tools are wiped and keyboards are also wiped when leaving computer stations. Workstations are cleaned and disinfected after each shift.

At one of our sites the staff has set up an additional engineering shop and deployed an innovative “clean cart” for work in tenant spaces. Cleaning and disinfected many times daily, the clean cart has additional sanitization materials to ensure the pathogens are not transmitted from the shop to the tenant space and vice versa.

Delivering Efficiently Run Facilities

The unique circumstances of the COVID-19 pandemic have created new and interesting challenges for our facility engineers. Buildings that were once bustling have seen drastic declines in occupancy rates. Without proper care and maintenance, building systems can fail rapidly and extensive damage can prove very costly. Able has developed a set of suggested approaches our team can implement to address these needs.

Servicing a Building During Vacant or Reduced Occupancy

To avoid costly and debilitating failures, our facility engineers have been keeping building systems running efficiently during times of reduced occupancy. Their routine tasks include everything from exercising condenser water pumps, to operating plumbing fixtures and checking sewage and storm drains. They are looking out for potential failures and preventing the build up of dangerous bacterial levels present with stagnant water to limit the exposure to legionella in cooling towers and standing domestic cold and hot water systems.

Preparing for Re-Occupancy

Able knows that eventually things will return to normal. When that happens, the buildings we maintain will be in excellent condition for the safe occupancy of building inhabitants. Our engineers are focusing on a long list of maintenance tasks including the proper functioning of HVAC and exhaust systems, replacement of air filters, and restoration of water systems.

Restarting and Ongoing Operations

Once buildings are bustling again with occupants you can be confident that Able facility engineers will have systems in place to successfully manage ongoing operations. Routine checks will include the usage of proper safety procedures, extensive air quality checks and preventative maintenance.

Verification of Work and Reporting 

It’s important that we show proof that the proper procedures have been followed and work has been completed. For peace of mind, we can share our records with tenants, management and ownership in real time with our cloud based technology to assure them that we are operating at the highest levels of efficiency and with their safety and comfort in mind.

You can read more about our efforts here: https://ableserve.com/engineering-return-to-work/

Able’s Oversight of Safety Protocols

Many buildings are actually accelerating construction projects during this time. Able’s oversight is a critical component to ensuring that contractors and sub-contractors strictly adhere to safety protocols including the proper use of PPE and the following of safe procedures as recommended by the CDC and OSHA.

Ongoing Education and Training

Working Safe in Tenant Spaces Treye Young Able Services Treye Young, Regional Safety Manager, Able Services

Our Regional Safety Managers are engaged daily with Operations and the field to discuss COVID-related matters. Carole Spearance, National Safety Director of Able Services, provides weekly Able COVID-19 Protocol Updates for Engineering Management and VPs. In addition, Able Services engineering staff have access to webinars, monthly online safety training sessions, and a twice monthly safety hotline where questions, concerns and dialogue transpire between our safety department and employees.

Contact Able Services Today to Learn More About Working Safe

Maintaining safe, healthy spaces is a daunting task in the COVID-19 era. But with the proper tools and education, building engineering staff can go to work each day with renewed confidence and motivation to get their job done right. Contact your local Able Services representative today to find out more about safely working in vacant or reduced occupancy buildings.