8 must-do’s for putting buildings on standby

Putting buildings on standby, or mothballing them, may be necessary for some following this week’s Government announcement. If you’re responsible for a building that will now be in this situation, it’s critical to plan the shutdown, and maintenance during the shutdown, to ensure the build is safe and secure and that the building’s insurance is upheld. Building owners and tenants have responsibilities and liabilities, which they may not be aware of,  that may impact on health, security, insurance and ultimately cost. There are 8 must-do’s for the management of buildings on standby.

Empty office

  1. Insurance

The insurer of the property should be notified when a building is vacated, even on a temporary basis, and any requirements or recommendations made by the insurers should be implemented. If any work is required to ensure compliance, we can help.

  1. Maintenance

Pre shutdown, consideration needs to be given as to which electrical services need to be left live during the shutdown to serve fire alarms, provide emergency lighting etc. Similarly, some services may need to be maintained, e.g. a toilet for security and maintenance staff or mechanical ventilation units to prevent the spread of mould, and some services, e.g. HVAC systems, may need to be professionally shut down to prevent damage. Darenth Valley can assist you in closing down safely and securely and meeting your insurance requirements, as well ensuring plant and equipment is run, or shut down for economic and longevity of the asset.

During the shutdown, essential maintenance tasks, both planned and reactive, will still need to be carried during shutdown. The best way of ensuring this is to put in place a planned and preventative maintenance (PPM) contract, or to modify the contract you already have in place, to provide critical building maintenance to ensure your building is safe, secure and insured. A Darenth Valley PPM contract also provides for emergency maintenance should you need it.

  1. Inspections

Arrangements should be been made for carrying out and recording routine external and internal inspections.

  1. Access

Key holders should be nominated and alarm monitoring services made aware of who these are.

  1. Health and Safety

The Occupiers’ Liability Acts of 1957 and 1984 impose on those responsible for properties a duty of care to visitors and trespassers. Authorised visitors such as security guards, building contractors may need to access empty buildings. Risk assessments covering fire, security and general safety/building condition should be carried out, and provisions made for the health and safety of authorised visitors and potential trespassers .

  1. Fire

A fire risk assessment should be carried out, any precautionary measures, such as removing combustible materials from the site, carried out and all fire detection fighting equipment tested.

  1. Security

Check any potential access points – fences, gates, windows and doors – are in good repair and that intruder alarms CCTV and security lighting are working

  1. Deep clean and sanitise

Protect those returning the building and to make it safe for security and those carrying out maintenance and repairs etc. by deep cleaning and sanitising the building. Darenth Valley is partnering with SafeGroup, industry leaders in infection control, to assist clients who have buildings requiring Covid-19 decontamination, deep cleaning and sanitisation requirements.


We have used ‘SFG20 Management of Mothballing/Shutdowns‘ to collate this summary, to stress the need for critical maintenance for electrical systems, water, gas, ventilation and air-conditioning. This is one in a series of guidance documents, we can provide further specific advice on each of the critical services.

If you need fuller guidance, or to discuss putting a planned and preventative contract in place for occupied or vacant premises, please get in touch with Alex Tait our Business Development Manager.