If you own a commercial property, you would have been impacted by COVID-19 and its ramifications. Operational shutdowns and empty offices are consequences of the mandated stay-at-home measures imposed by governments worldwide.
The truth is, no one can know for sure how long this health crisis will go on for. That being the case, you may want to take this opportunity to consider equipping your industrial property with better health and safety enhancements.
Understanding the Health Crisis
According to the CDC, COVID-19 is “thought to spread from person to person mainly through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person talks, sneezes, or coughs.” It’s more likely to be spread when people are in close contact, within about six feet. It’s also possible that a person can get infected by touching a surface where the virus has landed on and then proceeding to touch their mouth, nose, or eyes. This virus can be transmitted from a person who shows flu-like symptoms but can also be contagious from asymptomatic individuals.
Because of the infectious nature of the virus and a vaccine that has yet to be discovered, it’s necessary to maintain social distancing to limit person-to-person exposure. Many towns and cities also impose wear-a-mask policies, implement handwashing protocols, and adopt disinfecting routines when entering or exiting a public establishment.
Creating a Healthy Environment
The pandemic has brought on a few innovations that can help improve the health and safety measures of your industrial property and raise its market value. Here are some options:
- Upgrade the HVAC system — An upgrade to the heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning system will improve indoor air quality and even reduce operating costs in the long run. This is especially beneficial if old units are replaced with energy-efficient models.
- Install air purifiers — Viruses are the smallest of microbes. Although large droplets can land on a surface much faster, small droplets tend to hang in the air for longer, making it easier to spread as it can travel further. Therefore, the PM (Particulate Matter) is an important factor in deciding on the type of air purifier/filter you have to install. The air purifier should filter out the latest coronavirus.
- Install UV lighting technology — Also known as germicidal UV or GUV, this lighting technology has effectively inactivated airborne microbes that transmit tuberculosis, measles, and SARS-CoV-1, which is related to COVID-19. It’s been used to decontaminate surfaces on public transit systems and hospitals, along with disinfecting N95 masks for reuse.
- Use antimicrobial building material — Adding urethane cement coating and other antimicrobial material on the flooring will provide an extra layer of protection. It can significantly mitigate the spread of COVID-19 and other infectious diseases.
- Add touchless technologies — This technology has been around for a few years, especially in Hong Kong, where innovations in touchless technology curbed the spread of the SARS virus in 2003. But the current pandemic has accelerated the implementation of touchless technology. Many establishments now use touchless soap dispensers and taps, automatic doors, RFIDs for cashless payments, Bluetooth signal for security access, and even innovative elevators with contactless panel for selecting your floor. Touchless technology has become an essential part of reducing human interaction on surfaces that may harbor infectious microbes.
Growing Demand for Space
There has been a surge in e-commerce activity as more people work from home. And with that came an unexpected increase in demand for storage warehouses, especially the cold-storage variety due to the convenience and social distancing safety of home delivery, especially grocery goods. The surge in demand for online items has highlighted the need to rethink aspects of supply chain management. Retailers are stocking up on inventories of popular products to meet demand surges, which means that there will be an increase in the demand for industrial space. And for e-commerce companies to deliver on time, they have to hold their inventory in locations closer to customers, according to one expert. Giant companies like Amazon expects to increase its network of fulfillment and distribution centers by 50% later this year.
So, even at the time of a health crisis, the sudden impact of living in a world surrounded by empty offices and unused industrial property may feel like an apocalypse, it need not be one. As long as you’re flexible and willing to adapt to the new norm by re-adjusting your perspective and using unfavorable conditions to your advantage, like adding safety enhancements to your industrial property or growing your space, the future of your investment will remain secure for many more years to come.