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Maximum Office Temperature - Help Please!


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Old 04-04-2008, 08:53
missglitter
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I work in a large office in the City, and they're currently replacing our air conditioning system, meaning that we are going to be without one for two weeks.

The problem is, I think they have understimated how hot it would make the floors, and it's at the point where people are practically falling asleep at their desks because the heat (and smell) is making people drowsy.

Men are having to take their ties off and unbutton their shirts, and the woman are taking their shoes and tights off, with many coming in very thin summer dresses (much to the chagrin of the management!)

Anyway - I know this sounds comical, but it's getting really unbearable. It's not even 9am yet and it's already 70F in here. It gets hotter and hotter throughout the day, and the smell gets worse as the hours pass as well.

The environment managers don't seem to care, saying there is nothing they can do.... and if we want to bring in fans then they we need to bring it receipts to prove they are less than year old, and if they're not then we need to give them to them to test for electrical saferty.... which could take up to two weeks!

They've also given us the helpful advice that we shouldn't make hot food at lunch because that must be contributing to the heat

Please help! I can't seem to find any clear guideline on a maximum temperature allowed in an office - can anybody help?

I want to fight the powers that be!!
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Old 04-04-2008, 08:55
Rainbows
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I believe there is no upper limit only a lower limit of 16 sorry
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Old 04-04-2008, 09:01
virgin_mary
 
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Hi MissGlitter

As far as I am aware - although I am happy to be corrected - there is no maximum temperature. If you are not near a window that you're allowed to open, I suggest that you ask your manager for a fan.
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Old 04-04-2008, 09:02
Galaxy266
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Can confirm that there's no upper limit, only a lower one.

I would think, under the circumstances, the company should hire some portable air conditioners while the work is being carried out. Can't the people doing the air conditioning work supply these, this must be a fairly common problem?

Open the windows? I would guess that, being air conditioned, there probably aren't any openning windows.

Is there a union in the company? If there is I suggest you get them involved ASAP. Staff cannot be expected to work in conditions like this.
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Old 04-04-2008, 09:11
Magic8Ball
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Enquire what the union rep is doing, but there wll probably not be much that can be done, as there is no legal maximum. This happened to me years ago and the union rep just went round with a thermometer taking the temperature and writing in on a clipboard.

In restrospect, I should have just taken a sicky - it is quite feasible that such high temperatures would make people unwell, and they would be hard-pushed to try to take action against you if you are off with heat exhaustion. That's my advice, go off on paid sick leave for a week or so until it is sorted out.
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Old 04-04-2008, 09:25
biggeral
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I can sympathize with the OP. The management should do something by buying some fans to help cool the office down. It seems like Health & Safety gone mad saying they can't allow people to bring in fans from home in these circumstances.

There is no maximum temperature, but there must be other rules relating to working conditions which can be applied here. I would not just take sickies unless you are genuinely unwell.
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Old 04-04-2008, 11:00
pythag
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I'm wondering where all this heat is coming from!

In the office I work in the heating is still on (albeit low) and it's still only 19C or so.

It makes you wonder how much energy the OP's company must be using to run it's air conditioning as it obviously has a lot of heat to remove.

You don't work in that big glass gerkin do you???
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Old 04-04-2008, 11:07
highwayman_ne
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I'm wondering where all this heat is coming from!
I was thinking the same. It's not exactly the height of summer (you know that 1 day in July) and wintry showers are forecast for the next few days.

Personally I like to be warm and hate it when people open the windows when it's coat weather outside.

Also people did survive before aircon was invented.
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Old 04-04-2008, 11:12
Cineast
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I sympathise with the OP. I used to work in a brand new building that had an entire wall of glass but no curtains or blinds to block the sun out because there was a special coating on the windows that would do that Not only did it not do that but the air conditioning couldn't cope so it ended up like an oven. IN WINTER.

Thankfully before summer came, they managed to get a firm in to fit blinds which solved most of the problems but the memories of struggling to stay awake and trying not to drink too much water so I didn't have to waste energy getting up to go to the loo will stay with me always....
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Old 04-04-2008, 11:23
thetman1701
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Increase i smells sounds like there is no ventilation (outside air) being supplied to the building. This is a breech of the H&S Guidance.
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Old 04-04-2008, 11:28
thetman1701
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I was thinking the same. It's not exactly the height of summer (you know that 1 day in July) and wintry showers are forecast for the next few days.

Personally I like to be warm and hate it when people open the windows when it's coat weather outside.

Also people did survive before aircon was invented.
Large Office...

Lots of people, PCs, photcopiers etc. These usually account for more heat gain than the gain from sun etc
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Old 04-04-2008, 11:35
highwayman_ne
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Large Office...

Lots of people, PCs, photcopiers etc. These usually account for more heat gain than the gain from sun etc
I am sitting in such an environment now. Everyone would like a pleasant all year temperature to work in but there are loads of old offices which have never even seen aircon - it's not the biggest issue around. I used to work in an office (within the last 5 years) where you had to worry about the asbestos ceiling tiles falling down!
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Old 04-04-2008, 11:53
cobaltmale
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I'm wondering where all this heat is coming from!
Well I'm in Scotland and when I came into the office at about 7.20am this morning it was like a sauna, even though it wasn't particularly warm outside. Luckily we have windows to open but it would be unbearable otherwise.

But on Monday morning our heating failed to come on at all and I had to wear my scarf and puffa jacket until mid-afternoon!

G
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Old 04-04-2008, 12:01
crowby1
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I work in a large office in the City, and they're currently replacing our air conditioning system, meaning that we are going to be without one for two weeks.

The problem is, I think they have understimated how hot it would make the floors, and it's at the point where people are practically falling asleep at their desks because the heat (and smell) is making people drowsy.

Men are having to take their ties off and unbutton their shirts, and the woman are taking their shoes and tights off, with many coming in very thin summer dresses (much to the chagrin of the management!)

Anyway - I know this sounds comical, but it's getting really unbearable. It's not even 9am yet and it's already 70F in here. It gets hotter and hotter throughout the day, and the smell gets worse as the hours pass as well.

The environment managers don't seem to care, saying there is nothing they can do.... and if we want to bring in fans then they we need to bring it receipts to prove they are less than year old, and if they're not then we need to give them to them to test for electrical saferty.... which could take up to two weeks!

They've also given us the helpful advice that we shouldn't make hot food at lunch because that must be contributing to the heat

Please help! I can't seem to find any clear guideline on a maximum temperature allowed in an office - can anybody help?

I want to fight the powers that be!!
You definately have my sympathy as we have a similar issue in our office.

We have a dodgy air con controller that keeps having to be re-set otherwise it gets very hot and downright stifling. Every now and then I get up to turn it off and on to reset it and get some cool air to come out.

Yesterday I was told by my boss that a pregnant woman to the back of the office has complained to a directors PA that because she is near the air vents she is feeling the cold, so now we not allowed to touch the air con.

Now we are back to the same problem, by about 1-2pm everyone is complaining about the "unbreathable " atmosphere in the office. I know it's damaging peoples health, but no one seems to care.

Incidentally our windows don't open more than a slither, so we can't combat the problem that way.
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Old 04-04-2008, 12:52
Chilli Dragon
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Anyway - I know this sounds comical, but it's getting really unbearable. It's not even 9am yet and it's already 70F in here. It gets hotter and hotter throughout the day, and the smell gets worse as the hours pass as well.

I dream of temperatures as low as 70f. My office is regularly 85-90f and there is nothing we can do about it as there is no Health and Safety guidance on an upper temperature limit. So I tend to just go home at 2pm telling them the heat is making me sick (which it is).

I've attempted to combat it by wearing very little clothing. Sometimes I am in shorts and a vest and I have told them I won't put any more clothes on until they allow me to open the windows and/or get air conditioning.
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Old 04-04-2008, 13:07
R300
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Knew this link would come in handy again sometime...


http://www.hse.gov.uk/contact/faqs/temperature.htm
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Old 04-04-2008, 13:14
Rugby Rose
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There may be no upper limit to temperature but I'm pretty sure you are entitled to air. I take it that you can't open the windows. It sounds and smells like there's no circulation of air let alone any fresh air getting in at all, that is not good on health grounds. H&S should have something to say about that surely.

Yes, people did survive before air conditioning, because in those days you could open a window!
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Old 04-04-2008, 13:23
missglitter
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You don't work in that big glass gerkin do you???
No but literally just over the road from it.
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Old 04-04-2008, 13:27
missglitter
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I dream of temperatures as low as 70f. My office is regularly 85-90f and there is nothing we can do about it as there is no Health and Safety guidance on an upper temperature limit. So I tend to just go home at 2pm telling them the heat is making me sick (which it is).

I've attempted to combat it by wearing very little clothing. Sometimes I am in shorts and a vest and I have told them I won't put any more clothes on until they allow me to open the windows and/or get air conditioning.
Gosh that sounds awful! I really feel for you
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Old 04-04-2008, 16:25
missglitter
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Air Conditioning – Replacement of the Chiller

At yesterday’s environment meeting there were a number of issues raised regarding the current office temperature. The Air conditioning has been disabled for approximately two weeks while a major plant replacement takes place. This is not only a huge operation but it is essential that this work takes place. It’s unfortunate that outside temperatures have risen in the past few days, However, temperatures are set to drop this weekend, so we ask for your patience during this time. Xchanging will not be purchasing fans or relaxing the company dress code. For Health & Safety reasons, it’s important that the following procedures are followed:

a) If an employee wants to purchase their own fan, they will need to provide Facilities with a receipt / 12 month warranty before installing the fan

b) if an employee wants to bring in a fan from home, but does not have a receipt / warranty, they will need to ask Facilities to have the fan PAT tested before installing the fan (this is to guard the company against faulty equipment which may cause a fire risk and affect our insurance)

If employees are suffering with heat, please encourage them to drink more water, make the local first aider aware and take regular breaks to get some fresh air. If employees have medical issues which may be aggravated by the heat, please discuss with _____ who will arrange temporary relocation to a cooler area.
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Old 04-04-2008, 19:03
jackol
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Can confirm that there's no upper limit, only a lower one.

I would think, under the circumstances, the company should hire some portable air conditioners while the work is being carried out. Can't the people doing the air conditioning work supply these, this must be a fairly common problem?

Open the windows? I would guess that, being air conditioned, there probably aren't any openning windows.

Is there a union in the company? If there is I suggest you get them involved ASAP. Staff cannot be expected to work in conditions like this.

Can confirm there is no lower one, only a guideline.
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Old 04-04-2008, 19:09
Carmen Queasy
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I work in a building which is all glass, with the exception of about 1 foot at the bottom of the windows. There's air conditioning all over, but it gets over powering when it's warm outside. It was so warm on Monday I became ill, and so did a few others.

There's a rule where, because it's like a greenhouse effect, we have to keep the blinds closed at all times, otherwise it turns into a furnace.
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Old 06-04-2008, 11:51
crowby1
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Air Conditioning – Replacement of the Chiller

At yesterday’s environment meeting there were a number of issues raised regarding the current office temperature. The Air conditioning has been disabled for approximately two weeks while a major plant replacement takes place. This is not only a huge operation but it is essential that this work takes place. It’s unfortunate that outside temperatures have risen in the past few days, However, temperatures are set to drop this weekend, so we ask for your patience during this time. Xchanging will not be purchasing fans or relaxing the company dress code. For Health & Safety reasons, it’s important that the following procedures are followed:

a) If an employee wants to purchase their own fan, they will need to provide Facilities with a receipt / 12 month warranty before installing the fan

b) if an employee wants to bring in a fan from home, but does not have a receipt / warranty, they will need to ask Facilities to have the fan PAT tested before installing the fan (this is to guard the company against faulty equipment which may cause a fire risk and affect our insurance)

If employees are suffering with heat, please encourage them to drink more water, make the local first aider aware and take regular breaks to get some fresh air. If employees have medical issues which may be aggravated by the heat, please discuss with _____ who will arrange temporary relocation to a cooler area.
I am often drinking so much water to combat dehydration in our office I am going for a slash about every half hour!

What a great use of company time!
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Old 06-04-2008, 12:12
Cruachan
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Hi missglitter, welcome to the world of working in premises which do not have air-conditioning and whch have inadequate ventilation. Be thankful that you know that there will be an end to your discomfort and that of your colleagues when the a/c gets turned back on. Think of us poor souls who have to put up with the sort of thing you describe year in, year out.
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Old 06-04-2008, 13:01
-TigerLily-
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I worked in a coffee shop that had huge glass windows that let the sun in. It was frequently 40 degrees celsius. That was hot.
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