Sick Building Syndrome Solution


Internal chemical contaminants: usually air pollutants.

Initial emissions from components and fittings of a building – the “new smell” generally dissipates over a short period but can last years.

  • Volatile organic compounds, including formaldehyde, cleaning products, manufactured plastic and wood products.
  • Ozone from photocopiers.
  • Carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide and other inorganic oxides given off as combustion products in heating systems.
  • Small fibres from furnishings, regularly agitated into the air by frequent sweeping. Also asbestos in older buildings.
  • Tobacco smoke.
  • External contaminants: outside air entering a building.
  • Vehicle exhaust fumes: from streets/underground car parks.
  • Recycling of the building own exhaust back in through poorly positioned vents/windows.
  • Other external air pollution or air-borne particles e.g. pollen, moulds.

The prime suspect in most cases is inadequate ventilation. The factors leading to poor ventilation include insufficient outside air, poor filtration of internal and external air, contaminated duct-work, dirty heating, ventilating and air conditioning units, poor planning and placement of vents.

Reviewing Sick Building Syndrome

Contact Phase Technology to arrange for a competitive quotation to carry out an indoor air quality survey.

The following areas are examined in the review of the ventilation hygiene:

  • Fresh & Recycled Air with particular reference to proximity of inlet locations to contaminant sources.
  • Filtration with reference to size, efficiency and condition.
  • Chillers & Heaters for cleanliness and contamination.
  • Humidification Equipment is checked for cleanliness and contamination.
  • Fan Sections for nutrient contamination, debris formation and belt condition.
  • Air Handling Units are checked internally and externally for conditions that effect air quality.
  • Fire Damper Equipment for corrosion and damage.
  • Sound Attenuators for damage which may allow escape of mineral wool to the supply air.
  • Remote chiller and heater coils are surveyed for contaminants that accumulate over the supply faces of the remote chiller and heater batteries and thus provide a source of microbiological proliferation.
  • Volume control/mixing boxes their design can allow for accumulation of dirt and debris, under certain conditions this can be discharged into the air space.
  • Supply diffusers staining of supply diffusers and streaking onto localized ceiling areas is both cosmetically and hygienically unsatisfactory.
  • Ductwork Ducted ventilation systems are checked for contamination levels in line with BESA guidance TR19: The Internal cleanliness of ventilation systems. The testing itself requires the depth of the contamination within the duct to be measured using a very sensitive gauge. Cleaning is required if the dust thickness levels exceed the TR19 set criteria.

Indoor air quality – With growing awareness in the workplace of the impact of indoor air quality on performance and health we offer building operators the technical support they require to identify and manage indoor air quality issues.

  • Common indoor air contaminants are measured including respired C02, airborne particulates, bacteria, moulds and noxious gases. These contaminants are then compared with HSE and WHO guidance.
  • Air temperature, radiant heat, air movement and relative humidity are monitored to ensure compliance with the CIBSE and ASHRAE guidance.
  • In addition workplace lighting and noise can be measured to ensure optimum working conditions are maintained.
  • Maintaining acceptable levels of these parameters are important in providing healthy workplace environments for employees and visitors.