Making a property’s water system safe post lockdown

A guide to recommissioning water systems in commercial properties

It is unacceptable and likely to be in breach of law, to simply re-open a building that has stood idle, without recommissioning its water system. As the focus is on signage & sanitation right now, making a property’s water system safe post lockdown is something that many property managers are overlooking.

To read HSE guidance on what you must do, click here.

Alternatively, feel free to read our guide to recommissioning water systems in commercial properties, below.


Why is it so important to assess water hygiene, at this time?

Because Legionella bacteria may now be lurking in water systems!

It is vital that we assess water systems now because water usage has been so significantly reduced in commercial properties during lockdown.

And in addition to Legionella risk, drinking water retained within buildings may no longer be potable following a period of prolonged stagnation so it’ really is important to assess your water hygiene.


If duty-holders haven’t put a proper recommissioning process in place for their water system, they should not re-open the building.


Which type of property is most at risk?

A) Properties with static water systems that have been empty during lockdown 

B) Buildings that have been subject to a flushing regime that does not represent normal usage


Making a property’s water system safe post lockdown

When buildings re-open, it’s essential that a water system in not put straight back into use.

  • Before returning to work, you should formulate a recommissioning plan for each water system. This will allow for safe start-up and offer assurance to water users.
  • It is important that any plan to recommission a water system must take into account the safety of the operatives carrying out the work, as it’s foreseeable that the hazard present within water systems in this situation 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 recommissioning water systems in commercial properties

Procedure for Hot and Cold Water Systems

Here we describe a procedure for recommissioning hot and cold water systems inline with HSE legionella guidance during Coronavirus.

Check your Legionella or Water Hygiene Risk Assessment and Written Scheme of Control and follow the advice from these documents.

In the absence of the above, or if the written scheme of control has not been adhered to during lockdown, complete the following:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. Ensure that the hot water outlets achieve a temperature of minimum 50C within one minute of flushing
  4. Verify that the cold water outlets achieve a temperature below 20C within two minutes of flushing
  5. Inspect major plant like water tanks, establish if the system requires disinfection and complete one if necessary
  6. Check operation of the taps, showers and TMV valves
  7. Record the completion of the task in your log book
  8. 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.


Water Sampling

How to make your property’s water system safe post lockdown

RM are now offering an affordable ‘Return to Work’ Water Hygiene Audit for properties across the UK for £475.00+VAT.


Plan your re-opening and act on water safety now

Time is of the essence. HSE advises that getting specialist help may be necessary. It warns that if you’re unable to appoint someone with the appropriate competence to oversee the risk controls of water systems, you must consider stopping the operation of the systems.

Get advice from a competent person

If you require further information or advice on how to identify and implement suitable legionella controls post lockdown, please contact us and we will be pleased to help.


What’s included in our ‘Return to Work’ Water Hygiene Audit?

A guide to recommissioning water systems in commercial properties1. 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 ‘Return to Work’ 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 post lockdown.


Making a property's water system safe post lockdown2. 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.


Making a property's water system safe post lockdown3. 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 ‘Return to Work’ Water Hygiene Audit’

  1. To book a ‘Return to Work’ Water Hygiene Audit for a property, you should contact RM with property details and obtain a quote.
  2. Upon purchase order, the RM Scheduling team will make contact to book a suitable date for access.
  3. A competent Water Hygiene Risk Assessor will then attend 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 ‘Return to Work’ Water Hygiene Audit service so book now. We currently have  ‘Return to Work’ Water Hygiene Audits booked in Birmingham, the West Midlands, Warwickshire, London and Manchester and booking in these areas may qualify for discounted rates.


To book a site visit now and secure this Quick, Easy, Affordable & Independent ‘Return to Work’ Water Hygiene Audit or to enquire about RM’s COVID-19, fire safetyhealth & safetywater hygiene and asbestos assessment services, please call us on 01212360642 or send us a message by clicking here.


RM RISK MANAGEMENT – Making properties safe after the coronavirus

*5 samples included in the service. Sometimes on larger buildings, additional samples will be necessary. For these sites, we will charge an additional £50.00+VAT per sample.



Back to Blog