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Posted: February 27, 2020
The cost to business of low quality Internal Air Quality (IAQ) is a contributing factor in workplace productivity and well being that is often overlooked. As new business buildings become more efficient and designers reach newer heights in insulation and airtightness for greater energy efficiency and controlled comfortable temperatures, counter to that if not identified and managed can be poor Internal Air Quality.
It is vital to properly manage and maintain the air that circulates in your business. Compliance wise the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 requires employers to provide a healthy working environment which includes good ventilation – a supply of fresh, clean air drawn from outside or a ventilation system. There has been an increased focus on the impact of air quality and air pollution in our lives, so why would we not look after the air we breathe at work? .
Whichever way you look at it managing your IAQ is good business for 4 main reasons
- Reduced pollution, irritants and promotes better health for team members
- Comfortable productive working temperature for maximum productivity levels
- Save money on breakdowns and repairs and the costs of downtime.
- Reduces overhead costs – it costs more to run a faulty or clogged system
Regular inspection and maintenance of your HVAC (heating, ventilation and air conditioning) is a must for maximising staff productivity and wellbeing. Here are just a few everyday complaints found in most workplaces which could find a link or even cause in a poor HVAC system; headaches, respiratory issues, sinus infections, physical fatigue, allergic reactions, eye and throat irritations.
It is not enough to just install a system and let the air filters work unattended or unchecked. Air filters cannot catch everything (and need regular cleaning, replacement and care) so it is important that you also pay attention to and clean and maintain your ducting. Ducting provides an ideal environment for mould, mildew and pollutants to thrive. On a more human level, be curious of the physical comfort levels throughout the building, usually talked about in terms of too hot v too cold, stuffiness v draughts , noise of the system. Look also at the comfort throughout the building in relation to siting of plant and machinery.
The 3 main purposes of the HVAC maintenance strategy relating to air quality should be to:
- Identify sources of pollutants and remove them or protect individuals from the threat of their exposure
- Remove pollution via adequate ventilation
- Filter and clean the air in circulation
When the HVAC is faulty, making strange noises, not providing a comfortable, healthy environment unchecked and undiagnosed a niggle can become a huge disturbance. By keeping pipes and ducts clear and free from debris your HVAC will serve and save for your business and never become an issue.
How to implement good internal air quality into your business, the 2 major routes are:
- Great Facilities Management which offers; preventative maintenance schedules to ensure compliance, efficiency. Investigating and identifying current procedures that inhibit air quality. When it comes to renovation and refurbishment identify and assess the threat to air quality for any proposed plans and work.
- Training and awareness. Sharing knowledge of the need and importance of good internal air quality within the senior management of your organisation is good business practise and will have a positive affects of indoor air quality as it will bring awareness into everyday decisions. This could be as simple as ensuring the ventilation system is considered in any layout reconfigurations.
Need more help?
Maintenance and management of HVAC systems is a huge part of our business and I would be delighted to discuss any queries you may have with your HVAC, FM, maintenance and compliance. Signum Facilities Management is based in Doncaster and specialises in offering Hard FM to a variety of industries including education, health and social, commercial offices, distribution, manufacturing and logistics. “Taking care of buildings so you can take care of business” is our motto.