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Commercial Premises Unoccupied Check List

24th April 2020
commercial business insurance

If your business premises is likely to be unoccupied or has reduced staffing during the Covid-19 outbreak, H&H Insurance Brokers provide some tips for keeping the buildings safe and secure whilst empty.

The following provides general best practice advice with respect to control measures and risk mitigation during the present Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. This applies where not in conflict with current government advice: 


Security and general Building Safety during periods of reduced staffing or restricted access:

  • Ensure all locking devices are correctly in place and applied
  • Ensure all security alarm systems are live and that the responsible person and a back-up person are identified with clear action points in the event of an alarm
  • Ensure any unsafe conditions are rectified. Unoccupied buildings should be maintained as safe environments for those with legitimate access
  • Ensure that the fabric of buildings is maintained in good order. If left unoccupied, then ensure that regular visits to buildings to check security and safety are maintained as frequently as is practicable
  • Remove all non-essential contents where practical, especially valuables such as high value items
  • Maintain external combustible materials/storage 10 metres clear of buildings where practical and keep a two metre clearance between external combustible materials/storage and the site perimeter fence
  • Avoid any accumulations of waste materials
  • Maintain building heating to a minimum of 50C to prevent pipe freezing to sprinkler, process and potable water systems
  • If the premises are going unoccupied for an unusually long period of time, isolate water supplies that are not required for fire protection systems or other critical equipment
  • Disconnect all battery charging apparatus in unattended areas
  • Close all fire doors and shutters
  • Keep the external security lighting on
  • Maintain normal security rounds and site safety checks where possible


  • Ensure all fire protection systems including fire suppression and fire detection systems are active and maintained
  • If reduced staffing or restriction on access inhibits normal fire system testing then ensure that systems are active and in good order
  • Ensure that systems such as sprinklers and fire pumps are active and in good order. These should be subject to routine visual checks and as a minimum monthly alarm tests. These should include the running of the fire pumps for the minimum time prescribed by the relevant codes or manufacturer’s recommendations
  • Ensure that response to fire alarms is suitably maintained
  • Ensure all sprinkler valve sets are locked/secured in the open position and that systems are live
  • Should it be unavoidable to delay annual sprinkler pump flow tests and checks, then these should be rescheduled at the first opportunity
  • Continue with corrective maintenance for all fire systems
  • Report all fire protection systems that are impaired following the standard RSA impairment process


  • For premises that retain sufficient personnel, ensure that there are adequate numbers of trained staff on emergency response teams and if not then suspend all high-risk activity such as confined space entry and hot works
  • Suspend all high-risk activity such as confined space entry and hot works if there is reduced public fire and emergency service response

As ever, our team at H&H Insurance Brokers are available and happy to chat through your insurance requirements with you … please drop us an email us and we’ll call you back.