The Building Engineering Services Association (BESA) has completed its trilogy of free guides designed to help building owners and managers turn their buildings into ‘safe havens’ that protect occupants from health risks linked to airborne contaminants and viruses.
Buildings as Safe Havens – A Practical Guide is the third in its suite of guidance for measuring, monitoring, and improving indoor air quality (IAQ) and the second produced with the support of Mitsubishi Electric. It offers practical steps that facilities managers and building owners can take to measure IAQ and targeted questions they can ask ventilation experts to establish the right strategy for their building.
The foreword is provided by one of the UK’s most respected experts on infection resilience in buildings Professor Cath Noakes OBE. She states that poor ventilation is the most overlooked building safety issue and can be directly linked to high levels of Covid-19 transmission.
“Covid-19 has been shown to be transmitted through the air. Even if only 10% of all Covid-19-related deaths in the UK could be directly attributed to the failure to adequately ventilate indoor spaces that would be more than 15,000 since the start of the pandemic – a shocking statistic that should make everyone sit up and take notice,” she writes in the foreword.
“The pandemic has demonstrated that far too many of our buildings are under-ventilated, despite regulatory requirements that have been in place for several years. This guide will be an invaluable tool in raising awareness of the importance of good IAQ and making our buildings more infection resilient,” says Noakes, who is a professor of environmental engineering for buildings at the University of Leeds and a member of the government’s Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE).
The new guide directly addresses this crisis by providing a step-by-step strategy for monitoring and maintaining good IAQ in offices, schools, and public buildings and provides advice and strategies for dealing with ventilation problems.
It outlines the questions building managers should ask their ventilation and air-quality specialists so they can properly address their IAQ problems, and provides recommendations for conducting a building review, planning for improvements, and selecting the right technology.
The contents of the guide were steered by a technical committee led by Nathan Wood, chair of the HWB group, and Graeme Fox, the association’s head of technical.
The guide contains a building review spreadsheet to help building managers identify areas that require improvement. This is designed on a traffic light system, with actions categorised as red, amber, and green, and works in tandem with an IAQ monitoring spreadsheet.