COVID-19 could impact building regulations in the same way that the Americans with Disabilities Act forced changes in the 1990s. According to a recent article in Construction Dive magazine, the shift to health and wellness offerings will soon generate an influx of new and retrofit work for the building industry.

Building owners are rethinking how they approach their new and existing air handling systems. A study by architecture firm Leo A Daly predicts that air handling will be a main focus of pandemic-era spaces. It says that several types of air containment and sanitization systems used in hospitals will become more mainstream in sectors such as hospitality, including:

·         Negative-pressure air handlers.

·         High-performance ventilation.

·         Antimicrobial, antibacterial and/or UV light sanitization.

·         Outdoor air exchangers.

The International Code Council (ICC) and the National Environmental Health Association (NEHA) together established a new task force on pandemics. Recognizing the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on new and existing buildings and construction, this task force will develop resources to help prepare buildings and communities for disease-related threats.

The task force will analyze all aspects of the built environment to find solutions that reduce the risks posed by pandemics. It will complete a comprehensive review of current code requirements, existing guides, executive orders, regulations, white papers, reports and standards, related to design, preparedness, and health considerations for building construction, operation and pandemics. Then, the group will identify best practices and guides to address the design and layout of new and existing buildings.