Standards Australia has long been a staple industry pillar for guidelines and best practice in several industry sectors. Building inspection and preparation for workers post COVID, is the latest topic that has been raised as important by Chief Executive Officer Adrian O’Connell; “We know that there is a lot to be considered when returning to a building, but it’s important environmental health is one that is not overlooked”. As some Australians return to work and others prepare to do so post the Covid-19 pandemic, it’s vital that workers understand the new restrictions but can also be protected in the best way possible through building inspection.
Building inspection big and small can now follow guidelines to follow for best practice to optimise the worker safety. Following the AS/NZS 3666 standard series, it can for example be important to properly flush out systems and get the building inspection adequately prepared for returning workers. This is not only the case for workers in fully finished buildings, but those still in the construction process too. Standards Australia mention the need for those buildings standing empty during lockdown especially to be properly prepared and safely flushed out. Several dangers such as mould, reduced air quality, microbial growth and corrosion in water systems await those that return to work unless action is taken. Due to the extended period of vacancy, systems being put into hibernation can sometimes acquire such unwanted side-effects.
Heating, ventilation and cooling (HVAC) systems are particularly prone to these problems, and so can benefit from thorough inspections not only before and after lockdown. Today, with such complex setups and intricate installation locations, building inspection safety managers are taking advantage of technology to assist inspection. Digital inspection solutions not only allow device or asset inspection report tracking but can provide the inspector with useful inspections to aid a safety audit. Visible areas of corrosion or microbial growth can be reported using pictures taken from the mobile device used to run the inspection app, whilst barcodes and RFID can be used with the same device camera. If HVAC systems are mounted in an elevated position it can be helpful not to have to touch the inspection screen to type and so speech-to-text can be used. For building inspection where electricity and internet may not have been fired up, the app even allows offline recording during the recording process. For some specialist equipment, analogue data must be recorded such as figures or graph readings, which is why there are still standardised response sections or annotation abilities too.
“With two legionella outbreaks already taking place earlier this year, the risks associated with turning these systems back on are very real” notes Tony Gleeson, Chief Executive Officer of the Australian Institute of Refrigeration, Air Conditioning and Heating (AIRAH). Luckily paperless solutions and Standards Australia both have solutions and guidance that can help building safety managers responsibly let people enter buildings again soon.
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