In light of Covid restrictions being lifted across England, the BESA has produced a guide to good practice: Indoor Air Quality for Health & Well-Being, which is designed to help building owners, managers and engineers interpret indoor air quality (IAQ) data

The report was published by the National Engineering Policy Centre (NEPC), which is a group of 43 professional engineering organisations representing 450,000 engineers. It found that ventilation was often neglected and that the Covid-19 crisis had revealed flaws in the design, management, and operation of buildings.

The UK’s chief scientific officer Sir Patrick Vallance and the British Medical Association (BMA) have emphasised the role of building ventilation and IAQ in helping the country navigate the next stage of the pandemic.

The BSI is also fast-tracking a new British Standard that will help to define the UK’s future approach to IAQ.

The BMA, which represents all UK doctors, says setting legal standards for ventilation, should be part of the government’s strategy for dealing with the next stage of the pandemic.

The new BESA guidance, which is part of the Association’s wider Buildings as Safe Havens (BASH) campaign, sets out target limits for a range of airborne contaminants in a variety of indoor spaces.

The guidance explains how air quality data gathered during specialist surveys or from the wide range of low cost real-time and continuous IAQ monitoring devices, can be interpreted and acted upon.

People need reassurance that buildings are safe

Nathan Wood, chair of the BESA Health & Wellbeing in Buildings group, said this was a significant moment for anyone working to improve the indoor environment.

“The very fact that such a senior adviser is taking a close interest in how the engineering profession can be deployed to tackle a health and wellbeing issue shows just how high this has risen up the political agenda.

“People now need reassurance that buildings are being adequately ventilated, and the air monitored to minimise the threat from contaminants and viruses. This new BESA Guide aims to do just that, but it also goes further.

“Rather than purely focusing on preventing infection and death, which is often the approach of academic and regulatory work, it also promotes a positive approach to setting IAQ standards that will give people a healthier, more comfortable, and more productive experience inside buildings.”

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