Building standards - non-domestic buildings - ventilation: research

Project to identify any evidence of where the guidance in Standard 3.14 needs to be updated in order to provide greater assurance that adequate ventilation is provided in new non-domestic buildings, which mitigates the transmission of infectious diseases such as COVID-19.

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Survey conclusions

1. Guidance used by industry

The results suggest a wide range of design guides and technical literature on ventilation are being used by industry in practice, from various sources. Whilst the usefulness of CIBSE, SAGE, BS EN 16798-3 and/or REHVA guidance was highlighted by respondents, there were calls for the need to revisit and update building ventilation standards to support consideration of infection control during the design stage, based on lessons learned from the COVID-19 pandemic. Specifically, 81% of respondents stated the need for new or additional knowledge or guidance regarding the design of new ventilation systems and/or the operation and maintenance of existing systems.

2. Inspecting and maintaining ventilation systems

Most respondents stated that they face challenges when inspecting and maintaining existing ventilation systems. The results indicate that more work is needed to address challenges of insufficient access and lack of accurate commissioning information to ensure regular inspection and maintenance of ventilation systems in practice.

3. Impact of building users

Most respondents do not believe that owners/operators of buildings know where to source expert knowledge to inspect and advise on the ventilation system in their building. Moreover, 85% of respondents do not believe occupants can be relied upon to interact with the building and take specific actions in relation to ventilation to reduce infection risk. The results suggest more work is needed to improve public awareness and understanding of workplace ventilation.

4. Sensor-based monitoring and self-regulation of ventilation

As sensors and ventilation systems become more sophisticated, the need for occupant interaction becomes less evident. The benefits of self-monitoring of ventilation systems were emphasized by respondents, provided that the systems are regularly inspected and well-maintained. The results indicate that whilst guidance is important, there is also a need for more attention to the incorporation of performance-based ventilation standards, and the regulation and maintenance of sensor-based ventilation control systems, to achieve energy-efficient control of indoor air quality.



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