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"Serious overhaul" urged of Inadequate UK ventilation standards

H&V News features correspondent Ian Vallely reports on hopes that proposed revisions to UK Building Regulations will address limited ventilation and overheating provisions

Leading players in the ventilation sector have called for a major overhaul of Approved Document F of the Building Regulations to address longstanding concerns about insufficient provisions to meet occupants’ health and wellbeing needs.

Julie Godefroy, technical manager with CIBSE, said the government’s announcement to review Part F and Part L of the regulations, which pertain to building ventilation requirements and the conservation of fuel and power respectively, were much needed to address longstanding industry concerns. This would include a focus on overheating.

Ms Godefroy said, “We believe that issues relating to the energy performance of buildings cannot be comprehensively covered without a parallel consideration of air quality and thermal comfort; in both these issues, ventilation is critical.”

Nathan Wood, chair of BESA’s Health and Wellbeing in Buildings working group, said that shortfalls in existing standards were seen often in the body’s work.

He Said, “We deal with domestic ventilation systems on a daily basis and our team often comment about the contractors undertaking the installation works have no idea what Approved Document F is, let along the vital importance of part B. How is this possible, especially following the atrocity of the Grenfell fire and subsequent Hackitt enquiry? Yet, here we are.”

Colin Timmins, member services director with BEAMA, said that competence was a key issue to successfully reform industry best practice.

He said,” For the ventilation industry, the quality of installation in homes has become the number one issue. As it stands, competency of installers is not enforced by building regulations, which results in installations that do not meet the standards expected.”

Mr Timmins cited a number of ventilation system studies that found required flow rates were not being achieved, with users found to be turning off noisy ventilation.

He added, “These are critical issues, particularly where homes are being built with increasing levels of airtightness.”

The article is based on a long-form feature called ‘Winds of change’ appearing in the August edition of H&V News that can be read here.

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