If you are reviewing the need for a full or partial shutdown of buildings and a reduction in services read our guidance.

In response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, many public sector organisations will be reviewing the need for a full or partial shutdown of buildings and a reduction in services. This will be part of their strategy for complying with the guidelines issued by central government on transitioning to “essential service” provision only to limit / slow-down the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19).

Irrespective of whether public sector organisations act as landlords or tenants within their property portfolios, this requires them to carefully plan:

  • the partial closure and phasing down of services and subsequent reductions in building occupancy levels
  • the full mothballing of vacated properties
  • the reactivation of building services post event

Property and FM contract management teams, building owners, landlords and tenants will therefore be responsible for the necessary adjustments to both hard and soft FM services, as appropriate. The extent to which these services need to be varied will depend on:

  • use
  • building / estate configuration
  • operational requirements (whether buildings and activities have been categorised as “key services” to the public sector and personnel as ”key workers” during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic)

Consideration should be given to the fact that:

  • in many cases, buildings will not be required to be fully mothballed. This may because they have become low use with skeleton staff, and have low-key maintenance requirements. Having elements of the building open may be needed to support staff working from home, such as server rooms to support the online working and welfare provision for site-based or visiting “key personnel”)
  • for planned maintenance (PPM) activities, the timeframes for reactivating / bringing buildings back on-line post mothballing may significantly impact an organisation’s ability to deliver business-as-usual services quickly when coronavirus (COVID-19) restrictions have been relaxed.

Your organisation will therefore, depending on the building and situation, need to assess their employee (and any FM supplier personnel) building access needs. To produce a method of working that satisfies government requirements for the pandemic, statutory and insurance requirements (plus leases and legal maintenance agreements), all public sector organisations must apply principles of risk assessments to the health and safety and welfare of all personnel (for example those classified as key workers within buildings) and the amended contractual needs.

In all cases, any amendment to FM service provision introduced should be in full compliance with all current government guidelines, as appropriate (for example Public Health England).

All public sector organisations should work with their FM suppliers to agree “key worker” functions and personnel details and should ensure all necessary documents are in place to enable safe travel and access to their buildings (which would have been classified as a “critical site” under government guidelines).

View our full detailed Coronavirus (COVID-19) – Guidance on Facilities Management (FM) provision