Singapore To Study How To Mitigate Virus Spread

Singapore To Study How To Mitigate Virus Spread In Office Bldgs

SINGAPORE – The Building and Construction Authority (BCA) will launch an 8-month study in April 2022 on how to reduce the spread of infectious diseases in buildings, according to a recent report from The Straits Times.

Notably, the government agency will evaluate how this can be achieved via natural ventilation and with the usage of mechanical methods like that of fans.

The findings of the research will assist the authorities in reviewing existing building standards, which a representative from BCA said does not currently take into account disease prevention and control.

It will also generate recommendations regarding the best practices that will be widely adopted in the ventilation and construction sector, affecting office buildings, shopping centres, and other kinds of structures, based on tender documents shown on government e-procurement portal GeBiz.

In particular, the research will closely examine spaces like meeting rooms, shops, and auditoriums, as more staff return to their workplaces amidst the relaxation of COVID-19 restrictions. Since the beginning of 2022, 50 percent of employees who can work from home (WFH) have been permitted to return to their office.

According to Associate Professor Tham Kwok Wai of the National University of Singapore’s (NUS) Department of the Built Environment, the research is crucial and timely, as the virus outbreak has led to a rethink of building design and operations.

It is a natural course of action in light of Singapore’s plan to live COVID-19, and he underscored that there’s a need for the city-state to prepare its infrastructure for other disruptive diseases that could emerge.

Tham explained that the spread of airborne diseases can be mitigated in 3 areas – virus, host, and transmission. By enhancing natural ventilation, viral concentration in the air can be reduced, minimising the chances of infection.

Apart from asking for feedback from experts and industry members, appointed consultants will review domestic and offshore building codes as part of the research. They will also conduct simulations and modelling to come up with potential ventilation requirements, or revise existing ones.

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