Coronavirus (COVID-19) Ventilation Short-Life Working Group minutes: 16 December 2021

Minutes from the meeting of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) Ventilation Short-Life Working Group on 16 December 2021.


Attendees and apologies

Attendees

  • Tim Sharpe, Chair, University of Strathclyde
  • Stephen Crawford, Scottish Heads of Property Services
  • Chris Iddon, Chartered Institution of Building Services Engineers
  • Joanne Carter, Health and Safety Executive
  • Euan Ryan, Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors
  • Michael Swainson, BRE Group
  • Stephen Long, Scottish futures Trust
  • Dougie Collin, Scottish Chambers of Commerce
  • Karen Stevenson, Royal Incorporation of Architects in Scotland

Scottish Government attendees

  • Stephen Garvin, Deputy Director, Building Standards
  • Morag Angus, Chief Surveyor
  • Marion McCormack, Deputy Director, Covid Ready Society

Apologies

  • Cath Noakes, University of Leeds

Items and actions

Welcome and apologies

The Chair welcomed all attendees to the sixth meeting of the Scottish Government’s Covid Ventilation Short Life Working Group. Apologies were noted as above.

Minutes of the previous meeting and review of actions

Paper CV6.2 – draft minutes of the meeting of 10 November 2021 had been previously circulated. The Group confirmed the minutes as accurate.

Action

  • further conversation over the future of the group to be had into the new year

Summary/update of building standards division work on ventilation

Scottish Government officials gave an overview of the current research being undertaken.

Results are expected mid-2022 and will feed into a wider review of ventilation in 2022 to 2023.

University of Strathclyde are undertaking this work which looks at the ventilation technical guidance.

It was noted that while this guidance is predominately for new builds, retrofit standards also need to be kept in mind.

Progress/update on the Ventilation Fund

Scottish Government officials gave an update on the ventilation fund.

Number of applications expected to rise as businesses go through the various steps in the process before submitting an application.

Fund is looking to expand to medium risk business such as:

  • art galleries and museums
  • b and bs/guesthouses
  • bookmakers/betting shops
  • conference centres
  • essential retail
  • indoor crazy golf
  • non-essential retail
  • places of worship
  • post offices
  • sexual entertainment venues
  • service stations

There were concerns on the type of air cleaners and purifiers being bought by applicants. Consensus that the guidance for them needs to give advice on what type of technology would be best for the space suxh as with HEPA filters there needs to be a balance between clean air supply and auditory levels

The paper on the evaluation plans for the fund was also discussed.

Actions

  • request a more detailed breakdown of how many applicants have asked for funding for air cleaners/purifiers
  • as part of the evaluation, would be useful to find out what types of air cleaners/purifiers are being bought
  • are we able to gather information such as CO2 monitoring levels to put together case studies?

Omicron mitigations

Currently facing a period of behavioural change (more time in doors, with other people) and a more infectious variant.

Group consensus was that, while it appears that the Omicron variant maybe more transmissible via airborne particles compared to other variants there was no evidence that the approach to mitigations should change or that we need a different approach to ventilation.

Ventilation certification discussion

The Group discussed a proposal from academics based on the Independent SAGE report on a ‘Scores On the Doors’ Scheme for ventilation.

Main points raised:

  • difficult to measure absolute levels of ventilation – varies with time and conditions
  • perhaps a system just stating what ventilation a room has. e.g. this room has natural ventilation, this room has natural ventilation with CO2 monitors etc.
  • concerns over compliance without regulations behind it
  • good way of raising public awareness and giving them information to make informed decisions 

Action

  • follow up meeting with academics to discuss the scheme further

Future SLWG work plans

Look at filter / air cleaner technology. Further connections with ongoing CO2 monitoring scheme in schools.

Action

  • this will be discussed more at next meeting, any further thoughts from members post-meeting, please send in

Date of next meeting

Action

  • doodle poll to be sent early January for a meeting around Mid-January
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