As response to the coronavirus (COVID-19 or SARS-CoV-2) pandemic, REHVA experts drafted a guidance document on how to operate and use building services in areas with a coronavirus outbreak to prevent the spread of COVID-19 depending on HVAC or plumbing systems related factors.
This REHVA document has been updated (as of 3 April) and considers the best available evidence and knowledge to date, utilizing an ongoing Dutch literature review elaborated by dr. Francesco Franchimon, complemented by international REHVA experts as a joint effort.
The suggestions below are meant as an addition to the general guidance for employers and building owners that is presented in the WHO document ‘Getting workplaces ready for COVID-19’.The text below is intended primarily for HVAC professionals and facility managers, but may be useful for e.g. occupational and public health specialists.
The scope is limited to commercial and public buildings (e.g. offices, schools, shopping areas, sport premises etc) where only occasional occupancy of infected persons is expected; hospital and healthcare facilities (usually with a larger concentration of infected people) are excluded.
The guidance is focused to temporary, easy-to-organize measures that can be implemented in existing buildings which are still in use with normal occupancy rates. The advice is meant for a short period depending on how long local outbreaks last.
On April 3, the REHVA COVID-19 guidance document from March 17 has been updated with the following revisions and additions:
- Latest information on the airborne transmission and implications to HVAC systems was added;
- Ventilation continuous operation guidelines were updated to be explicit;
- SARS-CoV-2 stability data at different temperatures and relative humidity was added;
- Heat recovery equipment guidance was revised including the recommendation of inspection;
- Guidance for room level circulation units was complemented;
- HVAC maintenance personnel protection recommendation was added;
- A summary of 14 points of practical measures for building services operation was added.