The accelerated development of a new standard for measuring indoor environment quality has been welcomed by a leading engineering system and building services trade body.
The Building Engineering Services Association (BESA) praised British Standards Institute (BSI) for fast-tracking the publication of British Standard BS 40101 Building Performance Evaluation, which is due to be published later this year.
The new standard will closely follow the work already completed on Publicly Available Specification (PAS) 3003 by EFT Consult and its partners, including BESA’s Health & Wellbeing in Buildings group. It will provide guidance on efficient and suitable lighting, heating, ventilation, and minimising the unwanted and harmful effects of air and noise pollution to improve the health and wellbeing of occupants.
Once published, it may also provide benchmarks for a Wellbeing Performance Rating that could be applied to any building.
BESA believes the standard should reflect the latest thinking from around the world including new air quality guidance about to be produced by the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the European Union, which is expected to set new air quality targets this year.
BESA Chief Executive David Frise said the decision by BSI was a response to the growing public understanding of the impact indoor environments has on health and wellbeing. He commented: “This is an important piece of work because whatever standards we agree now will be applied for many years to come and could have an enormous impact on the health and wellbeing of future generations of building occupants.”
However, Frise added that any measures proposed should also be specific to conditions inside buildings, saying “The government’s primary focus tends to be on outdoor pollution, but IAQ is a very different challenge, and it can often be many times worse than the conditions around the building. Our members repeatedly encounter the serious problems caused by poor IAQ and have good practical experience of what it takes to fix it. We have a duty to turn buildings into ‘safe havens’ that protect people from the worst effects of airborne viruses and particulate matter so everyone can enjoy better health and wellbeing.”
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