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Mastering Building Wellness: How to Stop Germs in Their Tracks

To decrease the spread of viruses and bacteria in a building, a facilities manager should implement a comprehensive plan that includes various preventive measures and hygiene protocols. Here are some key steps and strategies:

Regular Cleaning and Disinfection:

  • Ensure that high-touch surfaces (doorknobs, light switches, elevator buttons, handrails, etc.) are cleaned and disinfected frequently using EPA-approved disinfectants.

  • Establish a cleaning schedule that includes daily disinfection of common areas and frequently touched surfaces, with more frequent cleaning during flu seasons or pandemics.

  • Pay special attention to restrooms, kitchens, and shared spaces.

Hand Hygiene Stations:

  • Install hand sanitizer dispensers at building entrances, elevator lobbies, and other high-traffic areas.

  • Ensure that restrooms are well-stocked with soap and paper towels for proper hand washing.

Ventilation and Air Quality:

  • Maintain HVAC systems to ensure proper ventilation and air filtration. Use filters that can capture particles, including viruses.

  • Increase ventilation rates to improve indoor air quality. Consider the use of air purifiers with HEPA filters if necessary.

  • Follow industry guidelines and recommendations for improving indoor air quality during a pandemic.

Physical Distancing Measures:

  • Arrange seating and workspaces to facilitate physical distancing, such as reducing the number of people in meeting rooms and common areas.

  • Implement signage and floor markings to remind occupants to maintain safe distances in queues and common areas.

Visitor Management:

  • Restrict non-essential visitors and require essential visitors to follow safety protocols, such as temperature checks and wearing masks.

  • Implement visitor logs for contact tracing purposes if necessary.

Communication and Education:

  • Provide clear and consistent communication to building occupants regarding hygiene practices, mask usage, and other safety measures.

  • Display posters and signage with hygiene reminders and guidelines in common areas.

Hygiene Facilities:

  • Ensure that restrooms are well-maintained, with functioning soap dispensers, paper towels, and waste disposal bins.

  • Consider touchless fixtures, such as automatic faucets, soap dispensers, and towel dispensers.

Emergency Response Plan:

  • Develop and communicate an emergency response plan that outlines actions to be taken in case of a confirmed case of a contagious disease among building occupants.

Remote Work Options:

  • Encourage and support remote work arrangements where feasible to reduce the number of people in the building.

Monitoring and Compliance:

  • Regularly monitor compliance with safety protocols and sanitation measures.

  • Conduct periodic audits or inspections to ensure that cleaning and disinfection procedures are followed.


  • Be prepared to adapt protocols and procedures based on the evolving situation, such as updates to public health guidelines or changes in occupancy.


  • Collaborate with local health authorities and medical professionals to stay informed about the latest recommendations and guidelines.

Emergency Stockpile:

  • Maintain a stockpile of essential cleaning and hygiene supplies, including disinfectants, masks, gloves, and hand sanitizers, to ensure continuity of operations.

By implementing these measures and staying informed about the latest guidance from health authorities, any facilities manager can play a crucial role in minimizing the spread of viruses and bacteria in a building, thereby protecting the health and well-being of its occupants.

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