Abigail Burt BSc MSc FRICS
This policy relates to the communal areas within the properties TSP manages and outlines the procedures in place for ensuring TSP minimise the risk of COVID-19 entering and spreading throughout these buildings from 19th July 2021.
The majority of our commercial buildings under management have remained open since the commencement of the pandemic, with some occupiers utilising their properties whilst the work from home if they can guidance was in place. From 19th July, the government is no longer instructing people to work from home if they can. Our priority is to ensure that all properties under management remain as safe as possible as more individuals return to the office and to take practical steps that reduce the risk of the virus entering and spreading throughout buildings under management. Unfortunately, we cannot guarantee that the virus will not enter any of our properties, but we will do our utmost to work with occupiers to hopefully keep it away.
It should be noted that occupiers do have a responsibility for their employees and if you have not already done so, you should carry out an assessment of the risks posed by COVID-19 in your workplace as soon as possible.
With our residential properties, all properties have remained open and our priority is to maintain safe and clean communal areas.
In May 2020, following a full review of the communal areas of each property under management, including the preparation of risk assessments and building action plans for each individual property, a strategy was developed and implemented.
The risk assessments and building action plans were prepared by our Property Management team and Board of Directors, and took into consideration government guidance, property requirements and occupiers plans to return to their workplace.
Where Building Managers were in buildings, they were fully briefed on the building action plan relevant to their property and worked with the Property Management team to implement the strategy developed.
Where there was no Building Manager on site, our Facilities Co-Ordinator and Property Manager worked together to implement the strategy developed with contractors and our team.
Strategies adopted within our properties depended on the risk assessment and building action plan of the individual building and included; social distancing, cleaning regimes and management of external parties.
As the situation was regularly changing, our policy, building action plans and risk assessment were reviewed weekly as a minimum to ensure they aligned with the government guidance and the use of the property and updated accordingly.
From 19th July 2021, Step 4 is implemented in England and the guidance has been updated. Although several restrictions are being lifted, including social distancing, our Property Management team and Board of Directors have decided that initially the previous steps implemented to minimise the risk of COVID-19 entering and spreading through our buildings will remain in the communal areas.
The Property Management team and Board of Directors will continue to review the guidance and usage of the properties under management weekly and when we feel it is safe to ease these restrictions, we will update the risk assessments, building action plans and the overall policy. The most up to date policy will be available on our website (www.tsp.co) for all occupiers to review.
Throughout the pandemic we have asked that occupiers keep us informed of their plans to ensure properties can safely accommodate all occupiers. This requirement continues, and we ask that all occupiers keep us up to date on their occupation plans via email@example.com
If there are any known cases within your demise, you must inform TSP as soon as possible at firstname.lastname@example.org
If occupiers have any concern in regards to COVID-19 at their property, we have a dedicated email address for all COVID-19 related matters to be sent to email@example.com
Each building’s action plan is based on the risk assessment and addresses practical steps to reduce the risk of the virus entering and spreading throughout buildings under management, and considers;
Where possible, we are maintaining a one-way flow through the communal areas entrances and exits defined via signage to reduce the number of people occupiers come into contact with.
Where occupiers have alternative means of access direct to their demise, we ask that this is utilised to reduce footfall within main reception areas.
To reduce the number of people occupiers come into contact with, occupiers need to be mindful with accessing and using the car park and consider previous social distancing guidance. Intercoms, proximity readers and touch points will continue to be cleaned to ensure these areas are sanitised for motorists using the car park.
Whilst every effort is made to ensure continuous movement, there may be times where this proves difficult, especially in areas of limited space. Occupiers are therefore asked to only use the communal areas for essential trips within the building and TSP shall keep occupiers informed of any peak times so busy periods can be avoided.
Signage and floor markers indicate where occupiers may need to queue in the event of waiting.
Where there is a cycle store, we ask that only one cyclist is in the cycle store at a time to reduce the number of people occupiers come into contact with. If required, cycle racks may be closed in part to assist in reducing contact.
Hand sanitiser and anti-bac wipes are available in cycle stores for occupiers to use.
In areas that are crowded or enclosed, face coverings will be compulsory. Signage is in place to remind all occupiers and visitors of this requirement.
Where tenants have alternative arrangements or access to a fridge, communal kitchens are closed for the foreseeable future. If alternative arrangements are not available, kitchens remain open, but access is restricted and the numbers of users permitted within the area defined by signage to ensure the number of people occupiers come into contact with is limited.
Where kitchens remain open, bins are either replaced with hand free sensor lids or lids have been removed.
Due to the size of lifts within our properties, the number of users of the lift at a time continue to be restricted to reduce the number of people occupiers come into contact with and the recommended number of users is detailed in signage at each site. If there are more users than those recommended to enter the lift, it is recommended that occupiers are patient and wait for the next lift.
Occupiers are encouraged to use the stairs, for those who are able to use them.
Hand sanitiser is provided within the vicinity of lifts.
In buildings where reception desks are present, screens are installed at the reception desks to protect staff, and reception staff are provided with PPE.
Hand sanitiser is available on the reception desk for staff and visitors.
Any furniture located within a reception area will continue to be reduced and cleaned regularly.
Where smoking areas are present, occupiers are asked to follow previous social distancing guidance when using the smoking areas to reduce the number of people occupiers come into contact with.
At all times occupiers should follow previous social distancing guidance when using the stairwell.
Where possible, a one way use of the stairwells has been implemented, however where this is not possible we recommend that occupiers are patient and wait to use the stairs in a manner that is in accordance with the previous social distancing recommendations.
In properties where ventilation systems are in place, the filters will continue to be monitored and managed in accordance to manufacturer instructions.
In order to reduce the number of people occupiers have contact with, some urinals, wash hand basins and hand dryers, may continue to be closed off where possible.
Occupiers are asked to close the toilet seat before flushing, as scientists have warned that particles can be spread through flushing and so could pose a risk to the transmission of the virus.
Where showers are present, they are cleaned within the usual regime, however anti-bac wipes and hand sanitiser are provided and users are required to wipe down the handles following use of the showers. Users are not permitted to leave any of their belongings within the shower area.
To ensure the safety of building staff, all building staff are provided with PPE, including face masks and gloves.
All contractors instructed by TSP are required to provide and utilise their own PPE. If they are unable to provide PPE suitable for the job they are undertaking, they will not be permitted to enter the property.
Signage is present throughout all communal areas to inform occupiers of the guidance adopted at the property and the recommended steps in place.
Floor stickers are used to mark communal areas to remind occupiers to comply with the guidance and signage is present at lifts to inform users of the number of users permitted.
Signage is also utilised within any communal WCs to remind occupiers to wash their hands for 20 seconds and indicate if any urinals, wash hand basins or hand dryers are out of use. Signage is also present in shower rooms and cycle stores to encourage users to use the anti-bac wipes provided
At all hand sanitiser points, signage is present to remind occupiers and visitors to use the hand sanitiser present.
Contact surfaces and surfaces that have the most use are a main focus within the communal areas. This includes door handles, handrails, entry points and lift buttons.
If a positive case is identified at a property, a deep clean of the communal areas will be carried out.
External cleaning will continue to be carried out as per usual, however any contact surfaces continue to be cleaned more regularly.
Where resources allow, we have increased the frequency of cleaning within communal areas.
Hand sanitiser units
Hand sanitiser are provided at entrances, reception desks, within the vicinity of lifts, cycle stores and showers, and occupiers and visitors are encouraged to use hand sanitiser when moving around the property.
Anti-bac wipes are also available in cycle stores and showers for occupiers to use.
All contractors instructed are required to have policies implemented in line with current government advice to ensure safe working practices are adhered to.
If access is required to an occupied floor, contractors will be asked to wear full PPE before entering any occupied areas and will ensure the area is clear and sanitized before leaving.
Where possible, intrusive maintenance inspections will be completed outside of normal working hours to reduce physical contact with occupiers.
Occupiers are required to organise deliveries direct to their demise. Clear instructions must be provided to the delivery company. Packages cannot be left in communal areas.
Where there are communal post boxes, occupiers are required to collect their own post.
We recommend occupiers have an area within their demise to sanitise deliveries before being distributed and encourage occupiers to prohibit personal deliveries to minimise exposure from external parties.
To assist in reducing the number of people occupiers come into contact with, we ask that non-essential meetings continue to be conducted virtually to reduce the number of visitors to a property.
If a visitor is required to visit the property, occupiers are responsible to ensure they have received confirmation that the visitor is not experiencing any COVID-19 related symptoms or required to self isolate. They are also responsible to reiterate to visitors the steps in place at the building being visited
When making arrangements with visitors, please ensure you provide detailed instructions to direct the visitor to your demise and prevent them from waiting in reception areas.
For those who are utilising the properties under management, our team will be doing their upmost to ensure occupiers are provided with safe and clean communal areas, however the way in which occupiers manage their demise and employees/resident’s behavior, especially in the communal areas, will have an impact. Everyone therefore needs to work together to assist in mitigating the spread of COVID-19.
The following steps should therefore be adhered to by occupiers;
It should be noted that occupiers must still follow these steps even if they have recently received a negative test result or had the vaccine.
As soon as an occupier is aware of an employee or tenant being diagnosed with COVID-19, they must inform TSP immediately via firstname.lastname@example.org
As soon as TSP have been informed, all occupiers within the building will be informed via email and a full deep clean of the communal areas of the property will be instructed. If required, the building may be closed immediately, and TSP will update occupiers of when they can safely return to the property.
In the event of more than one employee within their workplace having a confirmed case of COVID-19, it is the tenant’s responsibility to inform the local PHE health protection scheme of the outbreak. The tenant is also required to inform TSP, so that TSP can work with PHE and implement any recommended additional steps within the communal areas.
In the event of more than one tenant within a building having a confirmed case of COVID-19, TSP will report the outbreak to the local PHE health protection scheme and will work with them to implement any additional steps within the communal areas in addition to communicating all steps and additional information to all occupiers within the building.
29th July 2021