Coronavirus (COVID-19) Ventilation Short-Life Working Group minutes: 29 October 2021

Minutes from the meeting of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) Ventilation Short-Life Working Group on 29 October 2021.

Attendees and apologies


  • Tim Sharpe, Chair University of Strathclyde
  • Stephen Crawford, Scottish Heads of Property Services
  • Neil Granger, Scottish Property Federation
  • Chris Iddon, Chartered Institution of Building Services Engineers
  • Hugh Lightbody, Business Gateway
  • Patrick Mackie, Environmental Health and Trading Standards
  • Bruce Marshall, Scottish Enterprise
  • Carol McRae, Public Health Scotland
  • Tracy McTaggart, Health and Safety Executive
  • Joanne Carter, Health and Safety Executive
  • Cath Noakes, University of Leeds (for latter part of meeting)
  • Fiona Richardson, Convention of Scottish Local Authorities
  • Euan Ryan, Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors
  • Michael Swainson, BRE Group
  • Stephen Long, Scottish futures Trust

Scottish Government attendees

  • Stephen Garvin, Deputy Director Building Standards

  • David McPhee, Deputy Director Covid Business Resilience and Support (CoBRaS)

Items and actions

Welcome and apologies

The Chair welcomed all attendees to the fourth 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 CV3-2 was updated and recirculated after feedback for the group
  • some comments have been received on the meeting with FE/HE/CLD, any further comments to be submitted by Tuesday 2 November

Ventilation on FE/HE/CLD recommendations

The paper had been circulated with feedback, suggestions to be emailed by Wednesday 3 November.

Ventilation fund development

Several papers were previously circulated for discussion.

It was noted that a response from the Scottish Chambers of Commerce was not supportive of the sectorial approach taken for small businesses on the grant funding.

The self-assessment tool

This was circulated for information only as feedback had already been received and incorporated into the paper where appropriate.

Ventilation fund purchasing costs

This paper attracted a healthy discussion around the proposed items and costs. Mainly:

  • air cleaners and purifiers to be removed as there were strong feelings around the effectiveness of these items and claims from certain suppliers and manufacturers
  • more emphasis should be on improving the ventilation rather than rely on air cleaners and purifiers

These items would not meet a business’s legal duty to ensure adequate ventilation and concerns that the Scottish Government funding this technology could send a mixed message.

Trading standards operate a trusted trader scheme, many companies offering air cleaners would not necessarily be members of the scheme.

It was also stated that these pose a H and S risk with trailing leads.

The group agreed that air cleaners and purifiers should be removed from eligible costs for the time being, however would assess this is in relation to emerging data on effectiveness of specific solutions in some situations, perhaps as temporary measures.

The question was asked to consider other potential small items which the funding could be used for to gather a sufficient spread of costs.

The group mentioned that perhaps funding could also support some levels of security items where this was the reason for restricted natural ventilation flows.

There was discussion on statutory permissions, specifically around advice and assessment for businesses to support them to undertake works and if building warrant costs could be claimed. 

It was clarified that planning or permissions costs had not been included but work was taking place with the team around wording and advice on permissions. 


  • the group agreed to provide any final thoughts on costs by Wednesday to allow eligibility to be finalised

Evaluation paper

This was circulated for the group to offer comments and provide any further Management Information requests they would like to see form part of the evidence.

The chair mentioned that the key questions were around what did the assessments find using this to target resources to improve spaces. 

The assessment was for individual businesses but we would be asking specifically about readings where the business already had a CO2 monitor. It was expected that this would be a small proportion of the businesses. It would be possible to look to retrospectively carry out further research with businesses once they had made improvements and claimed back the costs, a requirement to report data and readings would add significant value and reporting may also identify useful case studies which could be used in further communications and advice campaigns. 

Further details on the evaluation would be provided in the coming weeks and that the initial Management Information list would be used to develop the process and data points. 


  • members to submit any comments on the distributed papers by Wednesday 3 November at the latest
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