Recently we were requested to carry out an assessment of indoor air quality at a two-block, seven-storey commercial development in central London. We needed to assess the indoor air quality against the BREEAM assessment scheme and ensure that the indoor air quality was fit for inhabitation. Each building consisted of 7 open plan floors. The overall objective of our assessment was to measure the concentration of Formaldehyde in the indoor environment, measure the concentration of total volatile organic compounds and evaluate the site compliance with the BREEAM requirements.
The results of the indoor air quality test revealed that the site was unfortunately fully compliant with the requirements set out in the document entitled Hea-02 Indoor Air Quality. In order to remedy this, we needed to implement some additional steps outlined in the BREEAM air quality plan. During our investigation, the concentration of Formaldehyde was found to be below the maximum permissible concentration limits. However, the concentration of total volatile organic compounds in the indoor air has exceeded the maximum limits in Building 2, Floor 2 East, and Building 2, Floor 2 West. In order to improve the indoor air quality in building 2 on the second floor, it was vital to reduce the concentration of volatile organic compounds. To do this we recommended that a preoccupancy building flush be carried out in order to make sure the building is safe for future use. Commercial buildings can become contaminated during the building process so a pre-occupancy flush out helps to clear the building of contaminants.
HEA-02 Air Quality Analysis
In order to assess the indoor air quality, e needed to conduct an analysis of the building. To conduct our analysis we needed to collect Volatile Organic Compounds and Formaldehyde samples. To take the samples we used Casella/Gillian personal samplers fitted with thermal absorption tubes and silica glass tubes. The findings of our tests revealed that building 2, floor 2 west had failed, alongside building was failing on account of unacceptable levels of TVOC.
Air Quality Plan Flush-out needed
Despite the failures of these two areas, the overall indoor air quality of the premises met the requirements set out in the HEA 02 document “indoor air quality” with regards to the concentration of Formaldehyde. As mentioned above, the concentration of volatile organic compounds in the air did exceed maximum permissible limits in Building 2, Floor 2 East and Building 2, Floor 2 West. To address this issue and to ensure that the overall indoor air quality of the building was upheld we recommended that the owners carry out a pre-occupancy flush out to clear the building of contaminants.