A guide to making a commercial property’s water system safe, during periods of low occupancy
It’s likely to be in breach of law to simply occupy a building that’s operating at low occupancy or has stood idle. Building Managers need to conduct a Low Occupancy Property – Water Hygiene Audit and recommission their water systems.
It’s vital that we audit water systems now because water usage has been so significantly reduced in commercial properties.
And in addition to Legionella risk, drinking water retained within buildings may no longer be potable following a period of prolonged stagnation.
If duty-holders haven’t put a proper recommissioning process in place for their water system, they should not open their building.
Which type of property is most at risk?
A) Properties with static water systems that have been empty or at low occupancy
B) Buildings that have been subject to a flushing regime that does not represent normal usage
Making a property’s water system safe during low occupancy
Before allowing people to work in a building during periods of low occupancy, Facilities Managers should formulate a written scheme plan for each water system. This will allow for safe use and offer assurance to water users.
It’s important that any plan to use a water system must also take into account the safety of the operatives carrying out the work. This is because the hazards present within water systems will be greater than normally expected. Therefore, reasonably practicable measures such as limiting aerosol, minimising exposure and use of RPE should be considered.
A guide to commissioning water systems, during low occupancy
In the absence of the above, or if the written scheme of control has not been adhered to during low occupancy or lockdown, complete the following:
Flush all cold and hot water outlets thoroughly before use. This should be done as close to occupation as possible to minimise the possibility of microbial growth.
Re-check all water heaters, cistern type water heaters, calorifiers flow and return temperature (if fitted). Make sure that: All are operating at a suitable temperature; that all pumps are operational; and that hot water circulation on bigger systems is sufficient.
Ensure that the hot water outlets achieve a temperature of minimum 50C within one minute of flushing
Verify that the cold water outlets achieve a temperature below 20C within two minutes of flushing
Inspect major plant like water tanks, establish if the system requires disinfection and complete one if necessary
Check operation of the taps, showers and TMV valves
Record the completion of the task in your log book
Provide evidence and reassurance that the system is safe to use, validation sampling should be considered. Legionella samples should be taken from the representative number of outlets. TVC analysis of drinking water would also provide good data about water quality.
Plan for low-occupancy and act on water safety now
What’s included in our Low Occupancy Property – Water Hygiene Audit?
1. Risk Audit, Record & Recommendation
RM will visit site to action the above procedure for hot and cold water systems, on your behalf.
We will collect water samples* (minimum 5 from each site) and test them at our partner UKAS laboratory.
RM will then provide clients with a PDF copy of the Low Occupancy Property – Water Hygiene Audit document. This report will highlight existing control measures and will recommend additional controls that duty holders need to put in place before restarting work.
Along with the report, you will also receive confirmation of our flushing and validation certificates for the water analysis.
This means that duty holders & managers can assure their staff, contractors, customers and authorities that they’ve done everything reasonably practicable to ensure safety from the threat of Legionella and other water hygiene risks during periods of low occupancy.
2. Access to HASAD Web Application
After the audit, there is sometimes a need for duty holders to assign tasks and manage actions with their team. RM gives their clients free access to an easy to use cloud based app called HASAD, to help with this. HASAD or (Health And Safety Advisory Database) can be used to manage risk across multiple users and properties meaning it’s easy to keep track of things.
3. Additional Support
RM offers one hour’s consultancy support with each audit. This means that our team are there to answer any questions that may arise and support you in achieving peace of mind.
How to Book a Low Occupancy Property – Water Hygiene Audit’
Upon purchase order, the RM Scheduling team will make contact to book a suitable date for access.
We will then send a competent Water Hygiene Risk Auditor to site, to visibly inspect the workplace and assist in the recommissioning of the water system, whilst engaging with duty holders.
Limited slots available
We have limited slots available for our Low Occupancy Property – Water Hygiene Audit service so book now. We currently have Low Occupancy Property – Water Hygiene Audits booked in Birmingham, the West Midlands, Warwickshire, London and Manchester and booking in these areas may qualify for discounted rates.