The 7 Legal Requirements Every Commercial Property Manager Should Know About (And The Smart Maintenance Tips Worth Considering!)
There’s so much to think about when maintaining a workplace. After all, you want to make sure that all the occupants are comfortable. However, there are certain tasks that aren’t just part of a diligent Commercial Property Manager’s remit – they’re a legal obligation.
Below, we’ve listed the 7 legal requirements that you should know about, plus a shortlist of smart maintenance tips you might not have considered.
- Legionnaires / Water Testing
Health & Safety at Work Act 1974
Legionnaires’ disease is most commonly caught in the commercial workplace rather than at home. That’s because there is a greater chance that water will stagnate in work premises and that the water temperature could fall without notice (increasing the risk).
Although a Legionella Risk Assessment will provide cover for one year, you must test water temperatures monthly for it to remain valid.
- Emergency Lighting
The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005
Emergency Lighting is a vital system. In emergencies, it provides illumination and a high level of visibility so occupants can evacuate a building safely.
Systems must undergo a 3hr drain down of the batteries on an annual basis – this is the minimum legal requirement. After, a level of 1.0 lux is required at floor level for all defined escape routes. A monthly switch test is recommended.
- Fire Alarm & Systems
The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005
A Fire Risk Assessment is a legal requirement and must be reviewed at regular intervals. We highly recommend that you make this an annual process. All fire safety equipment such as fire alarms, fire extinguishers, and fire doors or smoke vents must be in proper working order.
You must also test and maintain all automatic fire detection systems annually as a minimum, recording all service visits and inspections.
- Air Conditioning
Regulation EU F-gas No.842/2006
Air conditioning doesn’t just keep the building temperature stable and the occupants comfortable. It also contributes to the energy efficiency of the building. AC systems must therefore be well maintained and kept in good condition by law.
This means putting an air conditioning maintenance plan in place. The frequency of the maintenance depends on the weight of the refrigerant in the system. For most systems, it’s every 6 or 12 months.
Unsure of your requirements? We can help you devise and apply an effective maintenance plan.
- Gas Systems
Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998
All commercial gas appliances and pipework must be inspected and certified every year. In many cases, especially with larger equipment, this must be performed more frequently. You will need a GasSafe engineer to carry out the inspection and certification. All works must be carried out under the manufacturer’s recommendations.
- Lightning Conductors
Section 5 of Electricity at Work Act 1989
Lightning conductors provide protection to the building, typically in the form of a metal rod attached around the building envelope. They prevent the destruction of equipment and electrocution of occupants if the building is struck.
All lightning conductors and earth grounding installations should be visually inspected and tested at regularly fixed intervals, preferably not exceeding 12 months. Testing should be carried out to BS 6651.
The Lifting Operations & Lifting Equipment Reg’s 1998 (LOLER) Regulation 9
If you are a lift owner or operator, you are considered to be a ‘duty holder’ under LOLER regulation. You, therefore, have a legal responsibility to ensure the systems are safe to use.
All lifts that are provided for use in work activities should be thoroughly examined by a competent person at regular intervals. We would recommend as a minimum, quarterly inspections (every 3 months).
Now you know the 7 maintenance tasks you must perform by law. However, there are plenty of other jobs that it’s a good idea to tackle regularly. Here are our 4 smart maintenance tips.
- Water Heaters and Instant Hot Water Taps
Not every office is lucky enough to have an instant water heater. If you’ve got one, you’ll know how great they are – and if not, it’s a luxury well worth considering!
Instant hot water heaters require regular maintenance just like any other mechanical component in a building. In order to keep them in tip-top shape, the gas canisters and filters must be replaced and the taps must be descaled regularly. We recommend a twice-annual maintenance plan to keep the hot water flowing.
Regular testing is also required for the pressure release valve.
- Kitchen and Bathroom Sink Traps and Cisterns
No matter how busy your office may be, two rooms will always receive plenty of use! The kitchen and bathroom sinks will inevitably block at some point and rather than have reactive unblocking that can be expensive, you should incorporate descaling and cleaning of traps into your annual maintenance plan. We recommend that this is carried out twice a year.
- Macerator Pumps
A macerator pump is a unit that pumps and removes sewage and waste from your building. They are typically used for sink and toilet waste and come in a variety of sizes.
Macerator pumps are usually in frequent use and can be easily blocked if not cleaned and inspected regularly. A blocked macerator pump can be expensive to fix, and in severe cases, can cause water damage to the building. We recommend that you inspect and clean this system every 3 months minimum.
- Fire Doors
Fire Doors are an integral part of your Fire System and should be maintained as carefully as fire alarms.
It is good practice to carry out a full survey of the Fire Doors every year. Check that they open and close properly and that the hinges are not loose. The door should shut within 10 seconds once it’s been fully opened, thanks to the automatic closer. Make sure that this closer doesn’t need replacing.
Property Manager, Landlord, or Tenant? If you’re looking to implement a new maintenance plan into your building, or need a contractor to look after your existing requirements, please contact us on (company number) 0207 118 1940.