Pratley & Partners

Ambient Air Quality and Building Regulations

Thursday, 19 December 2019

Buildings and enclosed structures where people live, work or congregate account for some forty five (45%) percent of all energy use, and by association carbon emissions, in the United Kingdom. In commercial and public sector buildings such as offices, shopping malls, public buildings and hospitals are mechanically ventilated, but that costs money given the energy required powering ducted fan ventilation systems and heat exchangers.

What are the tell tale signs of poor ventilation?

Well, if you’ve ever had the misfortune of being trapped in a stuffy office with no air flow and, dare I say it, odd smells permeating your nostrils, you’ll have experienced a room without adequate ventilation. On the other side of the coin in a building is the open space where the wind whistles through the atrium like ‘Storm Attila’ laying waste to everything in its path.

You may have noticed small black spots on walls and in corners where ceiling and wall meet – this is more than likely the beginnings of mould growth. Mould, especially black mould, can be a major health hazard in particular to people with respiratory issues and other related health issues.

If these three scenarios are familiar, you’ll know a building with poor, unbalanced ventilation. If it is a work space, you’ll probably have an unhappy workforce and with an unhappy workforce, you’ll not be getting the best from them productivity wise.

Why are buildings ventilated?

All buildings need adequate but balanced ventilation, and it isn’t just about venting those ‘strange smells’ which make your eyes water or causes you to turn up your nose. Building Regulations in the UK are quite specific regarding ventilation and are required reading for builders, developers and any stakeholder involved with renovating, modernising, developing or changing the use of a building.

I have insufficient space here to go into detail, but listed below are some of the reasons in plain speak WHY you might want to consider having one of our team assess your property to offer a solution for better ventilation, with our manual window controls or eclectically controlled window openers solutions as follows:

  • Providing adequate ventilation keeps air flow in motion, helping remove smells and odours, dust and other airborne pollutants
  • Maintaining adequate air flow helps keep occupants of the building feeling fresh and less prone to tiredness and fatigue
  • Building regulations are quite specific about maximum and minimum temperature within a commercial building – adequate ventilation helps maintain a healthy balance of temperature and air quality
  • Adequate air flow will reduce the potential for mould and other organic growth – according to research, the average adult sweats out about a litre of water a day, and a moist environment is a great breeding ground for bacteria
  • Heat build up from kitchens, electrical equipment (computers, photocopiers, fax machines etc) has to go somewhere – that excess heat has to be vented

Improve air quality and control costs

To maintain an adequately ventilated work space, but at the same time keep energy usage and associated costs as low as possible, our wide range of manual window controls and electric window openers offer excellent value and a low cost natural ventilation solution compared to other forms of ventilation systems.

Building managers, building maintenance contractors, builders and other stakeholders who are tasked with maintaining a building’s structure and environment can find more information about our full range of products, their features and the benefits they will bring to your managed spaces and working environment.

Ultraflex Control Systems
Kingspan STG - Light & Air
Window Master Natural Ventilation
Clearline Window Controls