Re-Occupy New York City
BOCA Group’s President, Sam Sloane, was selected to represent the vertical transportation industry on the “Reoccupy New York City” panel in response to COVID-19. The panel was initiated by the New York state’s governor’s office and consisted of NYC industry professionals from disciplines such as property management, leasing, vertical transportation, health and medicine, janitorial, air quality, construction and many others. The participants took part in large and small group sessions to discuss the ways New York City would be able to return to everyday operation in the safest and most effective ways possible.
As dialogue progressed, leaders in various industries helped discover potential solutions and alternatives to everyday life while following CDC guidelines. As the vertical transportation representative, Mr. Sloane researched and provided advice on several topics including, but not limited to, technology available for hands-free elevator operations, cleaning solutions, traffic studies and on-going preventive maintenance.
When New York City opens, following CDC guidelines and precautions will be essential when entering and using any vertical transportation vehicle. Mr. Sloane is focused on providing New York City, as well as the rest of the country, with the best possible advice regarding building traffic and elevator operation, knowing there is no “one size fits all” solution. A sound and well-researched plan must be implemented in order to minimize tenant health risk and allow suitable travel throughout a building.
BOCA Group has created, and has posted on their website, a table that offers building owners and managers the ability to estimate the amount of people that can be served by a particular number of elevators taking into account such things as speed and trip distance. These predictions have assumed elevator loading scenarios of 2, 4 or 6 passengers at a time, based on distancing guidelines (currently established as 6 ft.). With this information, and after dialogue with tenants to discuss staffing and arrival times, building owners and managers can potentially mitigate large gatherings of people in their lobbies.
For escalator operations, Mr. Sloane suggests decals applied to every 6th step, indicating when a person may board the escalator. Before applying any decals, however, please make sure to speak to your service provider to make sure the decals are safe and will not cause damage to the equipment.
Elevators and escalators, like most equipment, must be cleaned and sanitized regularly. Before applying cleaning agents, make sure to check with your service provider to avoid damage to aesthetic finishes and sensitive electronic controls. Check airflow in your elevator cabs. If you have a motorized fan, ensure it is operational.
As buildings look for ways to maximize elevator service available to tenants, we suggest limiting outside vendors as much as possible. Initiate a mail/package handling room at the street level, whereby tenants can arrange for a pick-up or delivery from building staff. Employ a mobile food service that visits every floor throughout the day, offering breakfast, lunch and snacks. For visitors, create an electronic booking system so guests need to reserve an arrival time that is convenient for overall building traffic.
As we all return to work, both in NYC and the rest of the country, it is important to understand each building and the tenants who occupy it. Know your building systems and their capabilities/constraints, understand the tenants and their needs, and work to establish a common ground that is sanitary and efficient for everyone. Let’s reoccupy America!