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Fresh IAQ standards demanded from Building Regs revamp

Experts from across the HVAC sector warn that fundamental flaws in existing regulations concerning both ventilation and air quality may be creating significant health concerns for residents

Industry experts have warned that air quality provisions outlined in Part F of the Building Regulations are flawed and require urgent revisions alongside existing ventilation requirements to address health concerns.

September’s H&V News has therefore seen figures from across the HVAC industry calling for a drastic rethink of how indoor air quality is quantified, standardised and enforced in UK law.

Peter Dyment, technical manager of filter manufacturer Camfill, is among those to share concerns about flaws in the existing provisions contained in Part F of the regulations. In particular, he warned that regulations were based on a “false assumption” that outdoor air is of reasonable quality across the UK and in urban environments.

He added, “This is not true for nearly all buildings in UK city locations. Air pollution is generally well above World Health Organisation limits for toxic fine combustion particles… and acidic, health damaging NO2 combustion gas.”

Mr Dyment argued that no details are set out in existing regulations about how air pollutants can be removed from air, despite concerns about outdoor air quality that are backed by recent studies about health impacts to lung development.

Nathan Wood, chair of BESA’s Health and Wellbeing in Buildings Group, said that Part F must be revised to offer vital clarity about required IAQ standards, as opposed to continuously mentioning the need to supply broadly defined ‘fresh air’.

He said, “Even if the whole of the UK had superior air quality, we would have regular and weekly episodes of air pollution above WHO levels, caused by global air pollution sources – for instance, in February, ’blood rain’ fell on Britain, which was caused by sand from the Sahara Desert.

The incident was used by Mr Wood to illustrate the plausibility of air pollution from elsewhere in the world to reach the UK.

Julie Godefroy, technical manager at CIBSE, shared concerns that current guidance outlined in section 4.6 of Approved Documents F in the Building Regulations makes an assumption that outside air is of ‘reasonable quality’.

She said, “This assumption is clearly not correct in many areas of the country.”

“Appendix D offers guidance on limiting the ingress of external pollution in urban areas. However, this is advisory only; the appendix is not even referenced in the main document, and there is therefore no prompt to readers as to when it should be read and followed.”

The experts that spoke to H&V News for the feature therefore called for the air pollution concerns in Appendix D to be integrated into Part F of the Building Regulations as a key ventilation requirement.

Rupert Kazlauciunas, technical product manager of MVHR at manufacturer Zehnder Group UK, warned that when considering revisions to Part F of the regulations, there were many aspects to ventilation that may have been overlooked.

Mr Kazlauciunas said that a complete overhaul of standards in Part F and increased powers for the regulation of these reforms, combined with ongoing education on the correct use of ventilation would be vital to limit poor IAQ had to be implemented.

He said, “There are other industry measures that could also contribute to raising ventilation up the industry agenda.”

“Alongside the Part F review there is also a potential SAP change (SAP 11) and it is likely that IAQ will form part of this focus. In addition, the European Ventilation Industry Association (EVIA) is discussing an IAQ rating on its products.”

The article is an excerpt from the feature’ Fresh Approach’ that appeared on page 24 of September issue of H&V News. You can read the full article online in the digital edition of the magazine here.

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