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Maintaining healthy buildings

Keeping buildings healthy is an essential service for Citycare Property teams around the country who maintain heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) services whether or not people are working in or using the facilities.

For instance, precious public art requires a constant temperature and humidity control, so air conditioning and ventilation is critical no matter if the art gallery is open or not, Christchurch HVAC team leader Krishneel Kumar said.

Information technology (IT) servers need controlled environments to avoid overheating and continuing to manage these HVAC systems for clients during the lockdown enables clients’ staff to work remotely, he said.  

So, during the national lockdown some of the work Citycare Property HVAC teams perform is regarded as essential as it keeps building occupants safe. This ‘life safety’ work includes monitoring and maintaining massive air conditioning units, ventilation systems and cooling towers.

In Christchurch, the central civic building needs continual service for occupation, as council essential staff and Civil Defence teams are based there.

Also, in Christchurch, the Lichfield Street carpark building is used by the Justice Precinct emergency services workers such as the police, ambulance, fire service, and court staff so it remains open and needs to be looked after as usual, Krishneel said.

The Christchurch City Art Gallery, Akaroa Museum, Turanga library and Linwood archive premises require a continual and regulated atmosphere for the displays and storage areas, so humidity and temperature levels are closely monitored, he said.  

In South Auckland, there are four Auckland Council art galleries, a research library and a document archive which the Citycare Property HVAC team there is monitoring for the same reasons.

Much of the HVAC monitoring work is performed remotely via building management systems programmes, but some tasks require staff to visit clients’ buildings during the lockdown.

For example, chemical treatment and bacterial testing for cooling towers is a frequent monitoring task for the Christchurch HVAC team, Krishneel said.

Water sampling and microbiological testing is important to prevent legionella bacteria from growing in the large amounts of water in the cooling towers, he explained.

The South Auckland HVAC team is remotely circulating fresh air supplies through seven aquatic centres at Franklin, Massey Park, Manurewa, Papatoetoe, Otara, Moana-nui-a-Kiwa in Mangere and Toia in Otahuhu, Building Maintenance Manager Mike Fe’ao said.

“It reduces condensation and means when the pools are reopened the buildings will be ready for normal operations,” he said.

The Wellington HVAC team are presently working on ensuring building warrant of fitness requirements are met for Citycare Property’s commitments to the Wellington City Council.

The compliance paperwork for this is called a 12A form. It needs to be renewed every 12 months and publicly displayed to show a building’s life safety systems have been maintained and inspected on schedule, Team Leader Chris Wolland explained.

If you’re interested in the science of HVAC, there’s more information at www.ashrae.org

water testing by Jitesh

 

Citycare Property HVAC technician/installer Jitesh Prasad carries out water testing at a Christchurch City Council facility