With the 334 curriculum transition, and the associated increase of student and staff population on campus, the university is in the process of occupying a number of new campus buildings this year. UG Halls 8 and 9 have already taken in occupants in January, and we are expecting to move in to the Lee Shau Kee Business School Building and the Institute for Advanced Study Building in the coming months.
In addition to the excitement for the extra usable space for expansion of many academic programs, as well as alleviation of over-crowded conditions in the Academic Building, members of the campus community nowadays are also more aware of the indoor environmental quality issues, and certain special issues related to new buildings. This heightened awareness, to a certain extent, is probably due to the widely publicized events in the territory, where volatile chemical off-gassing from furniture and suspected infection from contaminated tap water happened in new buildings had attracted considerable public attention. But more importantly, it is due to the marked increase in the public’s knowledge about indoor air quality (IAQ), and other environmental health and safety issues in a built environment.
Many of these issues have been known for a long time, and have been managed through legal requirements, such as regulations and codes of practice; as well as voluntary schemes, such as IAQ certification and Hong Kong Building Environmental Assessment Method (BEAM) programs. In order to better inform members of the campus community, Facilities Management Office (FMO) and Health, Safety and Environment Office (HSEO) met recently to compile a “checklist” that can hopefully help new building occupants understand the many issues that have been checked, many times before occupation of the building and “behind the scene."
1. Fire and Life Safety
- All fire services installations and life safety related equipment have been functionally tested including: fire alarm bells, visual fire alarms, direct link of fire alarms to Fire Services Department, sprinklers, exit signs, emergency lighting and power supply, etc.
- A fire drill will be arranged soon after occupation of the new building to verify the routes of escape.
- A new Security Control Room will operate round the clock in Lee Shau Kee Campus.
- Regular security patrol will cover the ground of new campus area as well as each floor in the new buildings.
- Access control
3. Water Supply
- All water tanks, pipe works and fittings have been flushed and cleaned.
- Water samples have been taken from pantries and drinking fountains and tested to be free of Legionella bacteria and heavy metals.
4. Air Quality
- Ventilation system is designed and built up to HKBEAM Gold Standard.
- Ventilation system performance will be verified before occupation.
- All filters will be cleaned/replaced prior to occupation.
- IAQ will be assessed after occupation to reflect the real operational situation.
5. Environmental Hygiene
- Automatic flushing and tap systems in toilets to enhance hand hygiene
- Exhaust at toilet bowl level to reduce smell and airborne droplets
- Pest control
- Regular cleaning will be performed and all cleaning chemicals have been checked and approved.
6. Electrical and Other Safety Issues
- All electrical installations including the lighting system are fully tested.
- Lifts and escalators are tested and certified.
- Non-ionizing radiation (electromagnetic wave) will be checked after occupation.
We hope this article will help inform occupants of the new buildings and the campus community that substantial efforts and resources have been put in place to ensure a high quality indoor environment that will match the impressive outlook of all our new campus buildings!