In this article, we look at a recent visit to carry out an assessment of indoor air quality to check for BREEAM compliancy. The overall objectives of the assessment were to measure the concentration of formaldehyde in the indoor environment, measure the concentration of total volatile organic compounds (TVOC) in the indoor environment and evaluate the site compliance against the BREEAM indoor air quality requirements.The results of our HEA-02 air quality plan test showed that the site wasn’t compliant with the requirements set out in the “Hea-02 Indoor air quality” document.
On the one hand, the concentration of formaldehyde is below the maximum concentration limits. However, the concentration of total volatile organic compounds in the indoor area had exceeded the maximum limits set in the Meeting room, and the Lab 12 area. In order to improve the indoor air quality across the development, we needed to implement a BREEAM air quality plan. As part of our air quality plan, we suggested that a pre-occupancy building flush out to be carried out prior to handover and to compete the construction phase of the development. The development consists of a mixture of open plan office units of varying sizes. After our investigation, we found a number of areas of non-compliance, with pre-occupancy flush out not being carried out, and the building being occupied prior to the IAQ test.
VOC and Formaldehyde Sampling and Analysis
Volatile organic compounds and formaldehyde samples were collected by a Casella/Gillian personal samplers fitted with TENAX anasorb thermal absorption tubes and SKC 226-119 glass tubes. Sampling flow rates were calibrated prior and after sampling using primary calibrator BIOS Defender 510-M flow meter, Calibration certificate. To aid our analysis, we used the requirements set out in the BREEAM HEA-02 document entitled “indoor air quality” which provides clearly defined limits of Formaldehyde and Total volatile organic compound concentration in habitable rooms. Under the official criteria, Meeting room 2 and Lab 12 failed the test.
Future Air Quality Plan Needed
The indoor air quality with regards to the concentration of formaldehyde meets the requirements set out in the HEA-02 document. However, the concentration of volatile organic compounds in the indoor air exceeds the maximum permissible limits set out in the HEA-02 air quality plan document, in meeting room 2 and Lab 12. To ensure the air quality was safe for human inhabitation, we recommended that a pre-occupancy flush-out be carried out as part of the indoor air quality plan for this development. In addition, we recommended that the construction phase be completed prior to air quality testing so as to avoid contamination. Implementing an indoor air quality plan would reduce the concentration of indoor air contaminants significantly.