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Industrial Re-Set: Operational and Management Guidelines for Industrial Properties Amid COVID-19 Presented by BOMA

Due to mandated stay-at-home orders, many office tenants have been working from home, but many tenants in industrial warehouses, distribution and manufacturing facilities have been reporting to work. With the uncertainty around how long we will be impacted by COVID it’s important to protect the health and safety of workers, visitors, contractors and other personnel.  

In response to these issues, “BOMA International assembled a task force of industrial real estate professionals to develop best practices that should be considered by owners and property managers, as well as other recommendations that may be shared with tenants in industrial properties.” 

 Below, we’ve outlined BOMA’s guidance*:  

 Plan and Prepare:  

  • Stay abreast of federal, state and local mandates and recommendations, as well as guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and other regulatory and public health agencies.   
  • Assign a property management team to research and compile best practices, checklists, and other resources and information to share with other property managers and tenants. 
  • Ensure property management teams understand new policies and procedures for social distancing, use of PPE, tenant and vendor communications, property access and health assessment and reporting; provide training where necessary.  
  • Review leases for any necessary updates or revisions, such as new or additional tenant insurance requirements, protection of landlord from rent abatement and loss-of-use claims and hold-harmless protection. 
  • Re-assess protocols for common areas, including access requirements and restrictions, cleaning and disinfection, building system maintenance or upgrades and other best practices.  

 Communications with Tenants and Contractors:  

  • Ask tenants to share their new temporary and permanent health and safety protocols, procedures and plans with you in writing, including new rules for property managers and contractors to access and perform work in the building. Share this information with your vendors and contractors. 
  • Require vendors and contractors to share their health and safety plans with you in writing, including social distancing, use of PPE, employee health assessments, and other new precautions and protocols when working inside the building. Share this information with your tenants.  
  • Clearly communicate property management’s new procedures and protocols for protecting the health and safety of personnel when interacting with tenants and tenants’ employees.  
  • Offer guidance to tenants on operational changes in response to COVID-19. Share best practices and updates on federal, state, and local mandates and recommendations, and help identify resources for cleaning, signage, security and other services if requested.  
  • Ask tenants and contractors to inform you if an employee tests positive for COVID-19, and report incidences to tenants, contractors and property managers who may be affected. Always protect the identity of the infected person and his/her employer. 

 Building and Property Access for Property Management and Contractors:  

  • Notify tenants in writing regarding the landlord’s responsibilities, plans and protocols to access the building to perform inspections, preventive maintenance and other services as required by the lease.  
  • Ask all vendors and contractors to contact property management in advance of performing any work on the property. Ensure property managers, vendors and general contractors practice social distancing, wear protective face coverings and frequently wash hands or use hand sanitizer while on property. 
  • Ask tenants to inform you of any operational changes that could affect parking areas and other property spaces outside the building(e.g. requirements for queuing to manage visitors, construction of outdoor restrooms or washrooms for delivery workers, etc.) and to submit plans to property managers for approval when necessary. Work with owners and brokers to schedule virtual tours when possible.  
  • Require brokers to schedule and coordinate any in-person tours with you in advance. Ensure food truck vendors implement appropriate standards for social distancing (e.g. queuing lines), cleaning and disinfection and PPE use.  
  • Consider closing or limiting access to common areas shared by multiple tenants, such as gyms, cafes, on-site restaurants and outdoor picnic areas, until local social distancing regulations are eased or lifted. 

 Common Area Cleaning:  

  • Increase frequency of cleaning and disinfection in high-density and high-touch common areas. Consult with your janitorial provider to assess needs and determine new requirements and protocols. 
  • Follow CDC guidelines for more frequent cleaning of outdoor spaces, such as picnic and break areas that may be shared among tenants.  
  • Follow EPA, CDC and other government-approved guidelines, recommendations and directions for cleaning products, procedures, dwell times and protocols; confirm with your cleaning service provider or consult a thirdparty if practical.  
  • Request that maintenance personnel and other vendors clean and disinfect spaces, such as mechanical rooms, after service is performed, as well as any equipment or supplies in those spaces that may have been touched.  
  • Perform appropriate cleaning and disinfection following broker tours. 

 Social Distancing:  

  • Follow CDC guidelines to maintain social distancing and federal, state and local mandates or recommendations for wearing face masks or coverings. Utilize signage, floor markings and other visual guides to communicate and manage social distancing requirements in workspaces, assembly lines, production areas, lobbies, break areas, restrooms and other tenant spaces. 
  • Consider designating one-way corridors, stairwells and entrances and exits to reduce contact among workers, and clearly post queuing instructions and markings where needed. 
  • Remove or spaceout furniture in reception areas, break areas, work areas and other tenant spaces as needed.  
  • Post signage reinforcing social distancing in these areas and throughout tenant spaces. 
  • If possible, consider closing break rooms and other areas where groups of workers could congregate until social distancing regulations are eased or lifted. 

 Workforce Health and Safety:  

  • Communicate new rules, procedures and protocols with all workers and building personnel for social distancing, use of PPE, health screening/assessments, illness reporting, etc., and provide applicable training.  
  • Promote proper hygiene, such as frequent handwashing (with hot water and soap for 20 seconds, as recommended), and provide hand sanitizers in work areas, break areas, restrooms and other tenant spaces.  
  • Where practical, recommend workers use face coverings, gloves and other appropriate PPE while in the building— especially in work areas—and provide touch-free covered waste containers for disposing used masks and gloves. Following CDC guidance, discourage workers from sharing equipment, phones and computers. 
  • If equipment must be shared, clean and disinfect after each use and between shifts. If possible, require workers and contractors to maintain their own tools and to clean and disinfect all tools between uses.  
  • Consider retrofitting restrooms with touch-free fixtures and dispensers. Consider other touch-free options in the building for doors, switches, trash containers, etc. Screen employees, visitors, vendors and contractors before they enter the building to ensure appropriate use of masks and other PPE, and limit vendor and contractor access to assigned work areas only.  
  • Require truck drivers and delivery personnel to wear face coverings at transaction points, at a minimum. Consider implementing digital and other no-contact transaction and key drop-off procedures with vendors, contractors and delivery personnel. 
  • If tenant elects to perform temperature checks and other health screenings at the building, consider contracting with a nurse or other health professional to perform these screenings, and designate a private area in or outside the building to protect the personal privacy of workers and visitors.  
  • Encourage employees to perform health assessments at home and to stay home or seek medical care if they are ill, have a temperature or have a cough.  
  • Ask employees to notify you if they test positive for COVID-19, and tenants should inform the landlord of any confirmed COVID-19 cases. Also inform other employees, and anyone else who may have had contact with the infected employee, so they may seek medical attention and to control spread. Always protect the identity of the infected employee. 
  • Continue normal and regular HVAC maintenance, including filter changes and consider increasing exhaust and infusion of outside air, if possible. Consult ASHRAE guidelines for operating heating, ventilating and air conditioning systems to reduce COVID-19 transmission and follow CDC guidelines where applicable. 

  Cleaning:  

  • Consult with your cleaning contractor about the scope, level and frequency of cleaning that may be needed in the building based on use, occupancy and other relevant factors.  
  • Review site inventory for adequate cleaning supplies, and products and ensure cleaning supplies and materials used by the cleaning contractor are not shared with other buildings or clients. 
  • Increase frequency of cleaning and disinfection in high-density and high-touch areas, such as building and elevator lobbies; elevator interiors, buttons, and surfaces; restrooms; furniture; fixtures; switch plates; doorknobs; mats; handrails; turnstiles; stairwells; counters; trash containers; and other frequently touched surfaces. 
  • Increase frequency of cleaning and disinfection in kitchens, break rooms and break areas, and provide disposable and recyclable cups, plates and utensils and/or enforce strict dishwashing rules. 
  • Increase frequency of cleaning workspaces, such as assembly lines, conveyor belts and other production areas between shifts and as practical throughout the day 

 

*Information provided by BOMA International. Visit https://boma.informz.net/BOMA/data/images/Industrial%20ReSet%20Operational%20and%20Management%20Guidelines.pdf to review full document. 

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