Unoccupied Business Premises
During a business’ lifespan, it may become necessary to shut down premises and, during these situations, there are a number of important things to consider.
Initially, there are three main steps to take:
- Identify and support employees who are considered critical to ensuring safety and facility management during the shutdown.
- Ensure ongoing required maintenance of key equipment to restore operations as quickly as possible when ready to reopen.
- Develop a list of services that need to be completed by third parties (e.g. fire protection, water treatment) that may be restricted from coming on-site. Maintain this list of services, including those that need to be addressed in person once it is safe to do so.
When properties are left vacant or unoccupied, there are proactive steps that can be taken. A sudden closure of a property presents exposures that can commonly be overlooked, so we have compiled a checklist to consider:
- Ensure all external doors and windows are secured and activate your building security system.
- Maintain electrical power if it supports critical equipment, including fire and security protection equipment.
- Review keyholder response arrangements for fire and security systems and consider contracting an NSI approved keyholding service. If there is no intruder alarm, consider an approved guarding or patrol service with recorded rounds. Find an NSI approved company here.
- Consider draining water services to prevent water damage in the event of break-ins and copper pipe being If water services remain operational maintain building heating systems to prevent water pipes from freezing, although this risk will reduce as we move into warmer weather.
- Arrange for any delivered post to be regularly collected and, if possible, arrange for deliveries to be stopped or redirected.
- In certain situations it may be applicable to monitor and review on-going government guidance concerning work, so that critical staff can still inspect and maintain buildings. You may think about contracting an external patrol service to undertake periodic inspections of your building.
- Where staff are inspecting premises, complete a risk assessment to ensure appropriate controls are in place for their safety, particularly if they are unaccompanied.
- Any combustibles that are in the open should be removed or moved to a safe distance from the building.
- Where CCTV is in place and can be monitored remotely via a phone or computer, a daily review of the site would be good practice to ensure that there has been no trespass or vandalism/damage done to the property.