A heating, ventilation and air conditioning firm has warned gyms and sport facilities to ensure that their ventilation works effectively before reopening on 25th July after a four-month closure due to the coronavirus epidemic.
Vent-Axia has said that leisure facilities bosses must ensure any ventilation systems do “not under-ventilate which is critical to reduce airborne transmission of Covid-19”.
The government’s recent guidance Working Safely During Coronavirus (Covid-19): Providers of Grassroots Sport and Gym/Leisure Facilities reflects this with an entire section dedicated to ventilation stating clearly that: “Ventilation is an important part of mitigating against the transmission of Covid-19.”
The guidance states that ventilation into the building should be optimised to ensure that a fresh air supply is provided to all areas of a facility and increased wherever possible.
With higher-intensity exercise increasing the risk of transmission of the virus it is advised to give particular attention to these areas.
The guidance gives clear advice on how to optimise ventilation by implementing specific measures regarding occupancy and airflow: “The maximum occupancy of each indoor facility should be limited by providing a minimum of 100 square feet per person. For this figure, the area is the net useable indoor facility space available to members to use, including changing rooms, toilet and wash facilities. Reducing capacity in this way whilst sustaining ventilation flows will increase the typical current 10l/s/p flow rate of ventilation to at least 20l/s/p, as fewer people are being served by the ventilation system.”
CIBSE’s document, CIBSE Covid-19 Ventilation Guidance, gives further detailed guidance for building managers/operators to minimise the risks of airborne transmission of Covid-19. Here, the overarching advice is to increase the air supply and exhaust ventilation, supplying as much outside air as is reasonably possible to dilute and remove the virus as much as possible.
David Cook, technical product manager at Vent-Axia, said: “Ventilation has repeatedly been cited in government statements and guidance as a way to mitigate transmission of Covid-19 indoors. The recent WHO guidance has added further weight to a raft of academic papers suggesting aerosol transmission of the virus. With all this global scientific evidence the government is now clearly advocating ventilation in the fight against Covid-19… Now is the time to check ventilation to ensure there is enough airflow to dilute the virus in the air and improve indoor air quality. Ventilating for longer and opting for ventilation with higher airflow volumes will also help reduce the risk. Following the government’s guidance on density of occupation and the necessary airflow is critical.”