Building Shut Down

March 26, 2020

Property Risk Engineering Checklist 


  • Designate a management team member to supervise this program
  • Create and maintain a core group of staff (internal or external) for emergency response
  • Train security personnel to provide notification to designated resources for various emergencies
  • Secure talent resources for various functions before the event occurs


Site Security

  • Limit site access to authorized personnel
  • Inform local law enforcement and fire departments of closure plans and seek feedback
  • Secure all potential entrance points including external doors, skylights, windows, and fencing
    • Confirm list of equipment, which is required to maintain stable internal building conditions
    • Designate one official entrance point for entire site or building
  • Elevate these efforts for unoccupied buildings with no on-site security (Note 1)
  • Consider hiring a guard service for conducting random, daily, recorded watchman rounds (Note 1)
  • Maintain exterior and interior surveillance camera systems (Note 2)
  • Maintain security and intrusion alarm systems, including relay to remote monitoring system (Note 2)
  • Maintain exterior lighting systems (Note 2)
  • Review program effectiveness and revise protocols as needed (Note 3)


Site, Buildings, and Equipment

  • Inspect and repair all perimeter fencing, gates, and other openings as warranted
  • Monitor surrounding terrain and manage vegetation growth as needed
  • Post “No Trespassing” signage as needed
  • Provide adequate exterior lighting for site and all buildings and check time clock activation system
  • Adjust internal lighting system activation to a random schedule
  • Maintain housekeeping
    • Remove trash and relocate movable items located outside of all buildings
    • Empty trash dumpsters, balers, compactors, and lifts
    • Relocate mobile storage units and truck trailers to another location
  • Secure, lock, or block all exterior ladders and roof access points
  • Secure roof mounted equipment and building envelope features (doors, windows, signs, etc.)
  • Walk and inspect roof(s) for condition damage every two weeks (look for clogged drains)
  • Shut down non-critical utilities and process and support equipment per manufacturer guidelines
  • De-energize unneeded electrical circuits, shut off non-critical heat sources
  • Reinforce plan to keep critical utilities (i.e., electricity, natural gas, and water) in service
  • Determine need for Internet-based building system control program
  • Confirm emergency power systems can support Internet-based building system control program
  • Implement a predictive and preventive maintenance program for remaining active equipment
  • Maintain building heat and cooling to prevent damage to process piping and fire sprinkler piping
  • Convert building equipment systems to cold or hot weather operation as appropriate for climate
  • Maintain idle equipment according to manufacturer’s guidelines
  • Determine need for on-site emergency power generation, maintain as needed
  • Drain ignitable liquids from any idle processes and equipment
  • Remove and/or minimize stored quantities of ignitable liquids on site
  • Remove all non-critical equipment and products in use and in storage from the site and buildings
  • Remove – if possible – items that may attract thieves (i.e., stock, raw material like copper, etc.)
  • Turn off non-critical ignitable gases and purge equipment using these gases
  • Turn off and/or unplug all electrical appliances
  • Turn off all non-critical equipment that uses water (i.e., faucets, toilets, showers, etc.)
  • Turn off and/or unplug all non-critical refrigeration systems, confirm adequate liquid drainage
  • Relocate refrigerated items to operational facilities
  • Confirm water leak detection systems are operational and turned on
  • Review need for building exhaust and ventilation from critical equipment
  • Adjust HVAC system operating system to account for the building shut down conditions
  • Confirm all non-critical HVAC and kitchen equipment (including electricity and gas) is turned off
  • Increase site inspection frequency during freezing weather (look for unauthorized entrants)
  • Manage contractor activities to minimize ignition sources (hot work, smoking, etc.)
  • Create and monitor a natural hazard exposure (i.e., flood, earthquake, storms, etc.) alert system
  • Maintain emergency response plan for activation from a remote location


Fire Protection, Suppression, and Detection Systems

  • Keep all fire protection, suppression, and detection systems in full service
  • Report system impairments as directed by client management protocols
  • Avoid hot work activity within areas with impaired fire protection or suppression systems
  • Maintain internal building conditions (temperature) for normal fire protection system functions
  • Provide adequate electrical power for normal fire protection system functions
  • Confirm dry sprinkler system air compressors are active and supply air is maintained
  • Keep fire protection system control valves locked in the open position, unless directed otherwise
  • Keep normal fire protection, suppression, and detection system program in place
  • Visually inspect fire protection system control valves and riser devices (See Note 2)
  • Churn (no flow) test fire pumps (See Note 2 for electric pumps and Note 3 for diesel pumps)
  • Maintain fire alarm device and system inspection / testing program (See Notes 3, 4, and 5)
  • Conduct fire pump performance (full flow) test (See Note 5)
  • Keep all jockey and fire pumps in the automatic start mode
  • Visually inspect all fire pump related equipment, fill fuel tanks, and repair devices (See Note 5)
  • Inspect domestic and fire water storage tanks, confirm water level, and temperature (See Notes 2 and 5)
  • Inspect manual fire-fighting equipment (fire hoses, extinguishers) (See Note 5)
  • Inspect and test fire doors, close doors, remove blockages, and repair as needed (See Notes 3 and 5)
  • Inspect fire wall conditions and minor openings, repair as needed (See Note 5)


Note 1: Daily recorded inspection and/or testing suggested. Review as needed.

Note 2: Weekly recorded inspections and/or testing suggested. Review incidents weekly.

Note 3: Monthly recorded inspections and/or testing suggested. Review records monthly.

Note 4: Quarterly recorded inspections and/or testing suggested.

Note 5: Annually recorded inspections and/or testing suggested. Review results annually.

Source Documents

“Pandemic Property Loss Prevention Checklist”, FM Global, March 2020

“Idle, Vacant or Strikebound Facilities”, FM Global UTH P0274, January 2014

“The protection of unoccupied industrial plants”, AXAXL – Global Asset Protection Services, 2020

“Idle Facilities”, Global Risk Consultants, Bulletin No. 02-950, March 2017

“Building Shutdown Checklist”, SCORE, No Publication Date

“Vacant Buildings and Idle Plant Operations”, Starr Specialty Lines, No Publication Date

Please be advised that any and all information, comments, analysis, and/or recommendations set forth above relative to the possible impact of COVID-19 on potential insurance coverage or other policy implications are intended solely for informational purposes and should not be relied upon as legal advice. As an insurance broker, we have no authority to make coverage decisions as that ability rests solely with the issuing carrier. Therefore, all claims should be submitted to the carrier for evaluation. The positions expressed herein are opinions only and are not to be construed as any form of guarantee or warranty. Finally, given the extremely dynamic and rapidly evolving COVID-19 situation, comments above do not take into account any applicable pending or future legislation introduced with the intent to override, alter or amend current policy language.