dan hounsell

The Pandemic, One Year Later

Managers have met a long list of challenges brought on by the pandemic. Take time to breathe, relax, and take stock of what you've accomplished.

By Dan Hounsell  


Since last March, maintenance and engineering managers have been working frantically. The COVID-19 pandemic has demanded outside-the-box thinking to an evolving list of challenges, and it has upended nearly every process, system, and component in institutional and commercial facilities.

Managers and their teams responding to demands and anticipating needs have worked at breakneck speed to upgrade equipment and modify workspaces, all to curtail the spread of the coronavirus and create safer, healthier workplaces. Here’s a short list of the challenges managers have had to address in the last year:

Entryways. Building entrances were among the first priorities when the pandemic erupted. Managers had to act fast to minimize and sanitize touchpoints and revamp narrow entrance areas to keep occupants and visitors socially distant.

HVAC systems. Efforts to control the spread of the coronavirus turned to these systems, and managers had to quickly assess their facilities’ air handling units and air filters to determine if changes were needed. 

Occupancy levels. Students were in schools, then they weren’t. Then some came  back, but not full time. States closed businesses and limited occupancy in buildings. The ongoing changes have been head-spinning.

Questions, questions. The general public — and some building owners, frankly — who had shown little interest in building operations started asking managers flurries of questions. What’s the MERV rating on air filters? What is this building’s air exchange rate? Should we install UV light systems to kill the coronavirus? How soon can we install touchless fixtures in restrooms?


Given all this, it’s okay for managers to take a breath. Maybe take a day. They’ll need the break because just like buildings themselves, COVID-19 and its challenges will be here when they get back.

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  posted on 2/8/2021   Article Use Policy

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