Facility/Building Manager Tools

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) - General

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How do I make changes to building access?

Work with UW Police Department Access Control to make changes to building access. You can call 608-265-3279 or email access@mhub.uwpd.wisc.edu.

Can we keep our building locked and accessible only via keycard or keys in the fall semester?

Generally, no. The university has indicated that campus operations, including building access, will largely return to pre-pandemic levels.

Requests for building access restrictions must be submitted to the UW Police Department (608-265-3279 or access@mhub.uwpd.wisc.edu). Please note that changes to building access must be coordinated with the Office of the Provost, UW Police Department, and FP&M.

Who is responsible for posting signs at building entrances?

Physical Plant is responsible for posting signs at exterior building entrances. Campus units can order interior signage directly from DoIT Printing & Publishing Services.

How do we stock and replenish disinfecting supplies, hand sanitizer stations, and PPE?

Procurement and distribution of cleaning/disinfecting consumables and PPE has returned to our normal (pre-pandemic) process with two exceptions:

  • Physical Plant has placed 500 one-gallon bottles of hand sanitizer in building entrances and high-traffic areas across campus. These bottles are checked nightly and refilled as needed.
  • Physical Plant will place two one-gallon containers of disinfectant wipes in the main entrance of classroom buildings before the start of the fall semester. These containers will be checked and restocked nightly.

Please note that Physical Plant will no longer stock wipes, spray disinfectant, and paper towels in classrooms.

Any cleaning/disinfecting supplies or PPE needed for regular, ongoing day-to-day operations (such as masks, mask fitters, gloves, face shields, and gowns) will continue to be available at no cost through ShopUW+ until current inventories are exhausted. Once that occurs, these items should be procured by the base unit/lab/school/college from other ShopUW+ vendors using normal practices. Orders will typically be delivered the next working day after the order is placed. To find these items from the ShopUW+ home page, go to Shopping Home > Facility Supplies > MDS Warehouse.  A keyword search (e.g. “mask”) can be used to find the items of interest.

What is the preferred disinfectant?

UW Physical Plant uses Oxivir Tb, which is available in one-quart spray bottles on ShopUW+.

How/where should I store my disinfecting/sanitizing supplies and PPE?

To ensure availability of these supplies, we are requesting that building managers and department contacts identify a space within your building where disinfecting supplies and PPE can be kept for issuing and that they notify Physical Plant Customer Service of the location. Ordering instructions are in the previous section, so that you can procure and stock the space you identified. Although these supplies will be spot-checked by FP&M Custodial Services, we are asking departments to partner with us to ensure adequate stock is ordered and available for your buildings.

How do we request additional hand sanitizer stations?

If additional stations are required, your school, college or division will need to purchase them from MDS and maintain or replenish them as required. Only sanitizer stations placed by Physical Plant will be replenished by Physical Plant.

Are we allowed to prop open restroom doors?

No. Propping open restroom doors (and other interior doors that are designed to stay closed when not in use) negatively affects the ventilation system. Custodial staff may prop open doors temporarily while cleaning and stocking restrooms.

Can we disable or restrict access to water fountains and bottle fillers?

Drinking fountains are required by code and as a part of basic safety practice to provide potable drinking water in amounts that are adequate to meet the health and personal needs of each employee. No water fountains should be turned off or wrapped to prevent access. If you see a fountain that is disabled and needs to be turned back on, please contact Physical Plant Customer Service, as the fountain should be flushed before use. It is recommended to avoid drinking directly from a water fountain; if you would like signage to encourage users to fill their own containers, please see the DoIT Printing and Publishing Services COVID-19 Self-Service Sign Shop.

Can we disable air dryers in restrooms?

No. Proper hand hygiene—including both washing and drying hands thoroughly—is a top defense against the spread of germs, including the virus that causes COVID-19.

Will the university provide UV-C filters for classrooms and shared spaces?

UV-C light is harmful to people as well as viruses and microbes and therefore requires careful control and management. The university does not currently have the funding and resources available to modify existing HVAC systems in this way.

Will door knobs be replaced with push handles to reduce exposure?

Not at this time.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) - HVAC

As part of normal operations, Facilities Planning & Management (FP&M) uses recommendations from the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) in the management of campus heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems.

At the start of the pandemic, FP&M proactively made changes that reflected ASHRAE’s in-depth guidance. Building systems were optimized within their existing capabilities and programmatic requirements to potentially reduce airborne viral transmission to help mitigate the spread of COVID-19. 

We continue to monitor and evaluate recommendations by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and the World Health Organization (WHO), and ASHRAE. We carefully select and implement mitigations based on the building type, occupancies, and activities in the context of environmental and seasonal conditions.

Our goal is to operate each building’s unique HVAC system to provide the best balance between air changes in the space, comfortable heating/cooling, and efficient operation within given temperature and humidity conditions.

For more information, consult the Guidance for HVAC Systems During the COVID-19 Pandemic.

Vaccinations, masking, and hygiene remain the best defense against the spread of COVID-19 and other illnesses mainly spread between people through close contact.

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Should we take additional HVAC precautions to help prevent the spread of COVID-19?

FP&M does not recommend departments take additional HVAC precautions beyond what has already been done. 

Building environments are carefully managed to prevent excessive moisture, temperature fluctuations, condensation, and microbial/mold growth. We operate each system to provide the best balance between air changes in the space, comfortable heating/cooling, and efficient operation.  

Vaccination, masking, and hand-washing remain the best defense against the spread of COVID-19.

Does the university recommend air purifiers for classrooms and shared spaces?

The use of portable HEPA air purifiers is not generally recommended due to their limited effectiveness and potential to adversely impact the efficacy of existing HVAC systems. 

Portable HEPA units must be properly situated so as to not interfere with the operation of existing HVAC systems, and some HEPA units may produce noise levels that could interfere with normal conversation in the space. A careful evaluation of the space and the existing HVAC system parameters is needed before adding a portable HEPA unit to an occupied space.

Recent feedback from peer institutions indicates that the portable HEPA units they were using were turned off because occupants objected to the noise.

Due to these issues, the university does not recommend and will not fund the purchase of portable HEPA air purifiers, and purifiers purchased with departmental or personal funds may be removed if they pose a safety concern or risk to building operations.

What if I want our HVAC system tested? Is there a benefit to testing our HVAC system?

These types of tests are not conducted in campus buildings because their results are only valid for an instant in time and do not provide actionable information about the overall air quality in an occupied space.

Can I request a report on the air changes in a room/space/floor/building?

We do not maintain reports on the number of air changes per hour in individual spaces. The staff with the specialized skills to analyze building construction plans and/or conduct direct measurements in building HVAC systems continue to focus their efforts on biological and chemical laboratory safety to support the research mission of the university. 

However, all university buildings already meet code requirements for air flow in occupied spaces. In addition, we also have fine-tuned building HVAC systems to maximize the amount of outside air brought into the HVAC system for the given conditions of temperature and humidity.

Can I request a report on the specific HVAC mitigations employed in a building for COVID?

Individual HVAC mitigation reports are generally not available. The staff with the specialized skills to analyze building construction plans and/or conduct direct measurements in building HVAC systems continue to focus their efforts on biological and chemical laboratory safety to support the research mission of the university. 

However, we do take each building’s unique HVAC system into account as we carefully select and implement mitigations based on the building type, occupancies, and activities in the context of environmental and seasonal conditions. Careful management is necessary to maintain building environments and prevent excessive moisture, temperature fluctuations, condensation, and microbial/mold growth. Our goal is to operate each system to provide the best balance between air changes in the space, comfortable heating/cooling, and efficient operation.

Should we open windows or exterior doors in our building?

FP&M does not recommend that you open windows or prop open exterior doors, as this can hinder the building HVAC from working as designed. Opening windows or exterior doors limits the system’s ability to circulate air and maintain temperature and humidity controls. Open windows and doors may also admit unfiltered air, which may contain undesirable particulate matter, fumes, allergens, etc.

In buildings with openable windows, it is permissible but discouraged to open them when the space is occupied as long as outside conditions (temperature, humidity, air quality, etc.) are acceptable. 

There are a small number of spaces on campus that do not have mechanical ventilation. In these spaces, it is beneficial to open windows and exterior doors for additional ventilation when occupied. 

Please be sure to close any open windows or doors when leaving the space.

Contact Physical Plant Customer Service with air quality issues (temperature, humidity, etc.) in building spaces.

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Building History

The building descriptions listed here were originally published in The Buildings of the University of Wisconsin  by Jim Feldman (The University Archives, 1997).

Note: Buildings are listed here as published in The Buildings of the University of Wisconsin. For complete building names and numbers of current campus buildings, consult the Campus Map or the Facilities List.