FMLink e-book for building and facilities managers identifies strategies for reoccupying buildings safely

by Brianna Crandall — May 15, 2020 — FMLink, the online magazine for facilities managers, has just published an e-book to help building and facilities managers start the process of reopening buildings that were closed or sparsely occupied during the COVID-19 pandemic shutdowns and get them back to functioning safely for their occupants. While many countries and organizations are looking at statistics to determine whether it is safe to end the lockout and go back to work, very few are examining what needs to be done to the buildings and the procedures that need to be put into place for those who work there, their visitors, and contractors.

A Facilities Manager’s Guide to Reopening and Occupying Buildings Safely was written by Peter S. Kimmel, AIA, IFMA Fellow, an established expert in the field of facilities management and Publisher of FMLink. The e-book presents a holistic approach so that the facilities manager (FM) can identify the best strategy for each organization, tailored to its specific buildings. Instead of focusing on how to prepare each component of a building for reoccupancy, it enables the FM to understand the underlying principles and identify what considerations must be made, and then how to go about doing them.

The Guide outlines three strategies in the first major part of the e-book:

  • The strategy for now, before the building is reoccupied. At this time, there is much to be done to clean and disinfect the building, think about how social distancing will be implemented, procure supplies and different furnishings, and develop new rules and procedures.
  • The transition strategy, as the building reopens and is repopulated. For those who already may have started to repopulate their buildings, this strategy applies as well. It focuses on all the adjustments that still need to be made to get the building to its “new normal.” It also includes an evaluation of the work-from-home experience that staff may have had — that way, should there be another shutdown (such as from a possible reoccurrence of the pandemic), the company will be prepared.
  • The strategy for the future, once the building is fully operational. Likely, there will be many differences between the “old normal” and the “new normal:” there will probably be fewer staff; workstations and circulation space will be very different; there will be more videoconferences and fewer large meetings; more people will be working from home at least some of the time; and rules and procedures will be very different. There is much more that is discussed in this part of the e-book.

In the next part of the e-book, Kimmel delves into detail for several key aspects of the facility. The purpose is to give the FM specifics about these areas and to convey a grasp of the concept behind the new normal. These are based not only on the author’s vast experience in design and facilities management, but on a wide range of resources ranging from business to facilities management publications. Some of the areas include floor layouts, cleaning and disinfecting, HVAC, working from home, making a workplace safe, and minimizing exposure risks. There also is a section on the rules and guidelines that will likely need to be modified.

The final section of the e-book identifies more than 20 special resources with links to specific pages that go into detail that some facilities managers will want to access. Each resource includes a descriptive paragraph to make its potential value very clear to all readers.

Kimmel believes that by following the strategies identified in this e-book, facilities managers will be able to identify the path that must be taken to reopen their facilities in an effective, cost-efficient manner. As he put it, “Most facilities cannot get back online just by simply turning on or off a light switch — it is a process. I hope that this e-book will help the facilities manager navigate the right path.”

The 56-page A Facilities Manager’s Guide to Reopening and Occupying Buildings Safely is available to read or download at no cost from the FMLink website.

Peter S. Kimmel, AIA, IFMA Fellow, a former facilities manager, is Publisher of FMLink, the information-based online magazine for facilities managers. He also is Principal of FM BENCHMARKING, the online benchmarking service for facilities managers. Prior to founding FMLink in 1995, Kimmel was president of his own FM consulting firm for more than 10 years and, before that, had managed facilities in the federal government and in the private sector. Kimmel speaks at a variety of conferences, and his writings have been published in many FM publications. He has been awarded the International Facility Management Association’s (IFMA’s) Distinguished Author Award five times.

FMLink is a comprehensive online facilities management publication; it includes over 25,000 pages of news and featured articles, including survey and benchmarking data, events calendars, recent and pending regulations, best practices, checklists, magazine articles from many FM publications, vendor directories, and much more to support facilities professionals in their jobs. Over the past year, FMLink had over 350,000 unique visitors.  FMLink offers free access through fmlink.com.