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The Definitive Guide to Workplace Indoor Air Quality

If you’ve landed on this page, it’s likely you are responsible for the indoor air quality in a workplace or commercial building.


This guide will show you how to optimise your workplace’s indoor air quality and comply with UK government guidelines. We are talking specifically to those who manage non-residential buildings – for example office buildings, schools, hospitals and food production facilities. 


Read on to learn what guidelines you need to know about, how to comply with them and how to meet indoor air quality standards. We also delve into how to go beyond compliance to maintain occupant health and wellbeing, improve their productivity, and attract and retain tenants.


Indoor air quality resources

As you read through this guide there will be links to our other articles that go into each subject with greater depth. We’ve compiled them all here too:


What are the UK’s IAQ guidelines

The UK’s indoor air quality guidelines are many and varied. There are government regulations, guidance and independent standards on best practice. 


According to the Health & Safety at Work Act 1971, anyone responsible for keeping their workplace healthy, such as facilities managers and landlords, must legally “ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, the health and safety of employees and others who have access to their work environment.”


All other guidance in the UK exists to help you stay on the right side of the law, and to:

  1. Keep your tenants safe and healthy
  2. Comply with the law so you are not prosecuted
  3. Prevent you from being sued for negligence

Trying to pick out all of the relevant guidance on indoor air quality is a long and arduous task. Trust us, we’ve done it. So we’ve written an article to bring all the key indoor air quality guidance together. 


Full article: Demystifying UK Indoor Air Quality Guidelines for Office Buildings


Latest UK IAQ guidelines

It’s important to stay on top of all the new indoor air quality guidance and standards as they develop so that you can satisfy your legal requirements as well as provide the best environment for your building’s occupants and visitors.


The most important change to the regulations in 2022 is the “Approved Document F - Ventilation”. This makes changes to Part F of the Building Regulations 2010.


Full article: Approved Document F: What’s Changing for Indoor Air Quality in 2022


How to comply with the guidelines

Even after you’ve identified the key guidance around workplace indoor air quality, it’s not always clear what steps you need to take to comply.


How do you know if you are below standard? And how do you rectify things if you are?


First you need to assess your IAQ. Either with IAQ monitors or alternative methods such as traverse duct readings or aerosol tracing. 


Then you need to remediate any problems you find. Air cleaning technologies, improving ventilation and recirculation, or upgrading and cleaning HVAC systems. 


Full article: How to Meet UK Workplace Indoor Air Quality Standards


How to do IAQ testing that achieves more than compliance

Many workplaces do the bare minimum for complying with indoor air quality guidance. They buy a CO2 monitor, place it in one or two rooms and leave it at that. 


What most people don’t realise is that CO2 is primarily an indicator of how poorly ventilated a space is. The higher the CO2, the more likely it is that you have a higher concentration of other contaminants, such as Covid-19, mould spores, PM2.5 and VOCs. Those are the things you should really be concerned about.


If you are willing to do more for your building, and ensure occupant health, wellbeing and productivity, it’s good to follow best practice standards and test 5 factors: humidity, CO2, VOCs, temperature and particulate matter. 


With enhanced testing solutions, like IAQ monitors and aerosol tracing, you can log and analyse data remotely – which takes the pressure off of occupants who may not fully understand it – and you can get accurate, real-time data on where and when your ventilation needs attention.


Full article: Why Buying a CO2 Monitor for Your Workplace is Not Enough


Choosing the right IAQ solution for you

If you are looking to improve your indoor air quality, there are many products and services out there. 


There is no one-size fits all solution. Whatever you do has to be right for your building. At ARM Environments, we take a 3 step approach to each client problem.


Step 1: Assess

Identifying the problem is the first step to fixing it. Assess your current situation by measuring your existing air quality and reviewing your air quality infrastructure.


There are plenty of options depending on your building. You can take a survey of your air distribution with aerosol tracing, install optimal CO2 monitoring, or hire in a full review of your HVAC system.


See all of our assessment and testing services.


Step 2: Remediate

Once you know the issue, you can bring your indoor air quality back within legal guidelines. Even if you are technically compliant, we always recommend 

meeting best practice standards to optimise your occupants’ health, wellbeing and productivity. 


You can do this by installing new air cleaning solutions like bipolar ionisation or UVGI devices. Or upgrading and replacing filters, coils and fans in your HVAC system.


See all of our remediation services.


Step 3: Maintain

Maintaining a good level of indoor air quality can be covered if you have good monitoring in place. CO2 monitors will help you understand where and when you have poor ventilation, and IAQ monitors will help you maintain good levels of humidity and thermal comfort.

See all of our maintenance, monitoring and cleaning services.


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Adam Taylor