Indoor Air Quality Assessments have become increasingly important over the last 12 months as the majority of the population has had to spend more time at home than ever before. In order to ensure the health and wellbeing of occupants of indoor spaces, the Institute of Air Quality Management (IAQM) has recently launched the new document ‘Indoor Air Quality Guidance: Assessment, Monitoring, Modelling and Mitigation’. This provides environmental consultants with clear and current guidance on how to assess and monitor indoor air quality.
As identified by the World Health Organisation (WHO), air pollution has a significant effect on public health throughout the world. Though there is a high levels of awareness of the effects of outdoor air pollution on health, those associated with indoor air pollution are only recently becoming clear. This is likely to be due to increased understanding of our health whilst having to remain in enclosed spaces for long periods of time.
There are several sources of air pollutants within indoor spaces that are often not considered as potential hazards. Gas cookers, wood burning stoves, building materials, toiletries, cleaning products and candles are just a few possible sources of air pollutants that have the potential to cause health effects such as dizziness, breathing problems and headaches. According to Public Health England, in severe cases elevated concentrations of some pollutants may also lead to liver and kidney damage and cancer. Indoor Air Quality Assessments are therefore becoming increasingly important in order to ensure the health and wellbeing of building occupants and the IAQMs most recent document provides a big step towards understanding the issue.
Indoor Air Quality Assessments
The guidance is applicable to proposed and existing buildings of all types and includes residential properties as well as commercial and retail units. Educational and healthcare facilities are also covered due to the high sensitivity of the occupants of these premises. Due to the variation in construction techniques and materials used for fit-out and refurbishment, all Indoor Air Quality Assessments are required to be site specific, tailored to the potential for exposure of the occupant.
The IAQM provide detailed information on assessment approach within the document, outlining several stages that should be followed to define the level of work required. This includes review of potential sources and associated pollutants of concern as well as consideration of whether air quality monitoring surveys are required. Key mitigation techniques and control measures are also defined including improved ventilation and air filtration. By providing a clear and detailed methodology, consultants are able to work within guidelines and assessment requirements from a recognised institute, ensuring high quality standards of knowledge and expertise.
Can Redmore Environmental Help You?
Redmore Environmental have over 40 years’ experience in the air quality industry, with significant involvement in Indoor Air Quality Monitoring. We have worked on a number of large scale projects for newly constructed office buildings, as well as investigative work for private individuals who are concerned about their or their tenants wellbeing.
Recently the team have been involved in the development of the XYZ Building, Spinningfields. This included a programme of Indoor Air Quality Monitoring to assist in achieving BREEAM accreditation for indoor air quality, a sign that a building has been constructed to a certain standard and is acceptable for its purpose. The completed development achieved an ‘Excellent’ rating and is one of few Manchester buildings to receive this levels of BREEAM certification.
If you would like to undertake an Indoor Air Quality Assessment at your place of work or home, please do not hesitate to get in touch with our specialist team today to find out how we can help you.