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BEAMA courts industry expertise for building health impact green paper

Industry engagement sought for parliament consultation on improving building quality conditions that impact health

BEAMA is calling for industry responses to a new parliamentary consultation aiming to ensure the construction of healthier homes and buildings by considering issues such as poor ventilation, energy efficiency and damp.

The calls coincide with the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Healthy Homes and Buildings launching a green paper that aims to set out new potential government and industry approaches to realise the social, economic and environmental benefits of improved building standards.

The green paper said: “Legislators need to recognise the significant health problems made worse by unhealthy homes and buildings and encourage smarter and more efficient design and development to deliver homes and buildings that are warm, dry, energy efficient, well ventilated, acoustically comfortable and well-lit.”

“Government needs to ensure it has a public health focus that properly considers the indoor environment as much as the external environment.” 

Key suggestions within the ‘Building our Future: Laying the Foundations for Healthy Homes and Buildings’ paper include realising a more joined up approach to tackle health and buildings policy in Whitehall. It will also look to introduce new standards for construction and refurbishment.

A deadline for responses to the green paper has been set for September 30, with feedback sought around areas of best practice that can be taken up by the government or businesses to address how homes and buildings better impact health.

 MP Jim Shannon, chairman of the parliamentary group, said that issues such as improved indoor air quality should be considered just as much of a priority for health as ongoing work to tackle similar issues outside.

 He therefore argued that legislation to ensure warm, dry, well ventilated and energy efficient premises, regardless of their age, would have wide ranging importance.

 “We know that whilst it is important to ensure that new homes and buildings are built to a high standard, it is also crucial that we address the buildings that already exist too; over 85% of existing homes are over 20-years-old so there is much work to be done in relation to renovation and retrofitting,” said Mr Shannon.

 BEAMA, as a trade association representing manufacturers of electrical infrastructure products and environmental systems, said it has been an ongoing advocate for improving awareness around indoor air quality and ventilation by working with industry, consumers and policy makers.

Colin Timmins, who heads up the industry body’s heating and ventilation portfolio, said the green paper was a means to directly engage with the all parliamentary group and its work around housing and building provision standards.

Mr Timmins said: “Now the group wants to know what can be done to ensure that homes and buildings are renovated and built to standards that ensure their occupants can enjoy good health – we’re encouraging our partners across industry to read the paper and provide ideas, solutions and feedback”.

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