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Reducing the spread of COVID-19 in buildings requires a comprehensive approach

Last updated: 02-11-2021

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Reducing the spread of COVID-19 in buildings requires a comprehensive approach

Why is a comprehensive approach so essential? Consider this. Earlier in the pandemic, a school system asked our team to assess one of their buildings. A Stantec CEQS professional realized that the school’s HVAC system wasn’t using the appropriate air filter. Meanwhile, one of our CEQS professionals also recognized that the incorrect filter would have little to no impact on controlling the spread of the virus through the building. It wasn’t a question of simply obtaining the right kind of filter. The entire HVAC system may have to be amended or replaced to improve air quality and mitigate the spread of the virus. Together, armed with the understanding of the building’s systems, coupled with an understanding of the virus, we developed a cost-effective solution specific to that school. We right-sized portable air purifiers designed to filter out the virus along with other strategies geared to specific spaces, such as computer labs and bathrooms. This approach was considered a cost-effective, risk-mitigation solution, so the school district put similar portable air filtration and purification units in all its buildings.

Stantec’s CEQS team can address COVID-19 and other indoor air quality issues in buildings large and small. For example, for a commercial building, we confirmed the effectiveness of existing COVID-19 management strategies with relatively minor tweaks to optimize the building’s operational systems and policies. In other cases, we can provide a comprehensive strategy for COVID-19 practices and practical, cost-effective implementation strategies for entire commercial, academic, military, and other campuses worldwide.

With the goal of reducing risk through building operations and management during the pandemic, the CEQS team can successfully guide new or existing buildings toward achieving the WELL Health-Safety Rating for Facility Operations & Management created by the WELL Building Institute IWBI to help companies and users to prepare their spaces for reentry in a post-COVID-19 environment. The WELL Health-Safety Rating has been created for all building types. This is a streamlined and scalable third-party document review of operations and management policies and proven strategies in a single framework that results in a WELL Health-Safety Rated SEAL. It is designed to inspire confidence from customers, employees, and the community that not only have policies been established to address pathogen concerns but that these policies have been third-party verified to be mapped correctly with scientific validation.

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