What is the HQM assessment scheme?
The Home Quality Mark (HQM) is a national standard for new homes, which uses a simple 5-star rating to provide impartial information from independent experts on a new home’s design, construction quality and running costs. Our client, based in Nottingham contacted us and requested that we carry out an assessment of the indoor air quality in one of their properties for the purpose of the HQM assessment scheme.
We attended the site and our main objectives of this assessment where as follows; to measure the concentration of formaldehyde in the indoor environment, to measure the concentration of total volatile organic compounds (TVOC) in the indoor environment and finally to evaluate the site compliance against the HQM indoor air quality requirements.
Testing the air for contaminants
The property was a three storey building constructed with brick external walls and a pitched roof. On the ground floor of the property there was a kitchen, living room, utility room, toilet and a storage cupboard. On the first floor there were three bedrooms and a bathroom. The second floor consisted of a master bedroom with an en-suite bedroom. All the rooms in the property had concrete floors and plasterboard partitioning walls and ceilings.
In order to conduct an assessment of the indoor air quality, our surveyor had to take samples of Volatile organic compounds and formaldehyde. In order to do this he required the use of Casella/Gillian personal samplers which were fitted with TENAX anasorb thermal absorption tubes and SKC 226-119 glass tubes.
Results of air monitoring
In order to meet the requirements for the Home quality mark assessment scheme, the concentration of formaldehyde in all habitable rooms within the property should be less or equal to 100µg/m3 averaged over 30 minutes. The concentration of total volatile organic compounds (TVOC) in all habitable rooms within the property should be less or equal to 300µg/m3 over 8 hours. No individual VOC should exceed 30µg/m3.
Air monitoring revealed that the indoor air quality in regards to the concentration of formaldehyde and volatile organic compounds does meet the requirements set out by the HQM assessment scheme. Therefore no further measures were required to reduce the concentration of indoor air contaminants.