As offices, specialist healthcare and schools slowly start to reopen how can building owners reassure visitors that they have taken every precaution to effectively maintain the hygiene of their buildings for all visitors. Whilst there is no questioning the severity of the often mentioned “unprecedented times” it could also be said that there is in an opportunity in many buildings for things to be changed for the better. Better for the health and wellbeing of people and, critically, better for the environment.
Designing hygiene into the fabric of the building
Architects globally are currently exploring ways to adapt existing and new buildings to improve hygiene and reduce the risk of contamination. From wayfinding schemes to positioning of hand sanitisers, could washrooms even become doorless, similar to motorway services? How much of the building can be operated touch-free with the introduction of more reliable sensor controlled products such as taps, showers and doorways?
Meanwhile engineers have their on-going concerns with the healthy maintenance of water systems, from the moment the water enters the building to the moment it leaves. Automated water management systems, such as the CONTI+ CNX can alleviate the time pressure on Estate Teams whilst improving effectiveness where automatic thermal disinfection can take place on a regular basis and any problems identified, remotely if necessary, from the home office or a tablet.
How can you successfully eliminate viruses, bacteria, algae and mould?
Much focus is understandably being placed on the elimination of the coronavirus while the topic of hygiene also needs to be addressed with respect to bacteria, algae and mould which can be harmful in many public environments. Regarding viruses, they can be simplistically differentiated between enveloped and non-enveloped viruses with the latter being much more stubborn to deactivate than enveloped ones.
There are many disinfectant products available to Facility Managers, nearly all alcohol based, some are hypochlorite, some are peroxide but how can the management of the disinfections be simplified, effective yet completely non-toxic and pH neutral so kind to the environment? A simple, yet effective example is the new CONTI+ oXan, one disinfection system to eliminate bacteria, viruses and pathogens from water systems and pipework, air conditioning systems, complete room disinfection, surface disinfection and even as a hand sanitiser. CONTI+ oXan is virucidal, synonymous with effectiveness against enveloped and non-enveloped viruses and has been tested independently to kill bacteria, virus, germs and pathogens.
How can you ensure safety
For any disinfection solution users should refer to the Biocidal Products Regulation (BPR, Regulation (EU) 528/2012) concerning the placing on the market and use of biocidal products, which are used to protect humans, animals, materials or articles against harmful organisms like pests or bacteria, by the action of the active substances contained in the biocidal product. This regulation aims to improve the functioning of the biocidal products market in the EU, while ensuring a high level of protection for humans and the environment. All biocidal products require an authorisation before they can be placed on the market, and the active substances contained in that biocidal product must be previously approved. CONTI+ oXan Registration number: N-86291
How can I safely reopen any buildings which have not been in recent use?
In these exceptional times, many public buildings have been temporarily closed to all visitors and as the country slowly starts to reopen buildings care needs to be taken to recommission buildings.
If the Facility Manager has not been able to implement a process to regularly flush through the hot and cold drinking water there are a number of steps he/she should take in order to eliminate the risk from water borne infections such as Legionella. It is recommended that the drinking water installation is shut off at the main shut-off device, temporarily closing down the drinking water installation. The requirements for safe water in healthcare premises is defined in HTM04/01 part A, B and C and must be observed for the necessary restarting and continued running of the drinking water installation.
Depending on how long the building has been empty and the expected number of users who will be visiting the building, the corresponding rinsing and system disinfection measures must be followed when restarting according to HTM04/01 part B. Quantitative rapid testing should be undertaken at varying points across the building in order to assess any possible contamination.
Keep testing the system on a regular basis, especially initially. Examine your drinking water quickly and easily using a drinking water hygiene test such as the one available from CONTI+ in order to determine the microbiological quality of the drinking water. This can be part of the ongoing maintenance and measurement of the hygienic quality of the water. These simple tests can often be carried out by your teams without the need for external expertise.
For stubborn infections which cannot be eradicated with thermal disinfection, the use of a disinfection solution should be considered. CONTI+ oXanTM can be administered across the water system using a targeted dosing system to work on the eradication of the contamination. In some cases buildings may have to be closed to any visitors during this process however the pH neutral, non-toxic properties of the CONTI+ disinfection solution allows for the safe use of the building while decontamination takes place.
As all of us adjust to the new normal, we are all looking at ways to automate and simplify in order to be more effective and efficient. As experts in hygiene solutions, CONTI+ work closely with organisations in healthcare, education, leisure and public buildings focussing on helping clients to prevent, maintain and manage hygiene for their buildings and critically their users.