The Building Engineering Services Association (BESA) is urging facilities managers to review their ventilation strategies to minimise risk of coronavirus transmission in their buildings.
The group has stressed that given the global pandemic, a greater emphasis needs to be placed on the role of indoor air quality to protect the health and wellbeing of occupants.
David Frise, chief executive at BESA, said that the emphasis continues to be heavily on outdoor pollutants. “[This is] despite the fact that 90 per cent of people spend at least 90 per cent of their time indoors – and that percentage often increases as we move into the winter months.”
The World Health Organization (WHO) recently highlighted the risk of virus transmission inside poorly ventilated spaces.
Frise added that the importance of ventilation has grown as a result of the pandemic.
He said: “We hope that more of the focus will turn to the indoor environment and its vital role in safeguarding people’s health and wellbeing.”
BESA said that many ventilation systems use a mode which circulates the same air around a building in order to improve energy efficiency. The association has urged building managers to switch this off until the coronavirus pandemic is over.
BESA has also put the focus on school buildings, citing research from National Air Quality Testing Services that found significantly low air change rates, which it said could increase the risk of virus transmission.
It also welcomed additional government spending on air quality grants for local authority projects across England, which was set out to reduce the health impacts of air pollution more broadly.