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Indoor air investigations

Indoor air investigations are usually based on establishing the reason for a building’s indoor air problems, or acquiring preliminary information for a renovation project.

If indoor air problems in a building cannot be solved through adjusting the ventilation and cleaning, for example, the city will examine the building in more detail. There may be several causes of the problems at hand, and the investigations must be sufficiently extensive. The entire building is investigated as a whole.

The city will order technical moisture surveys and indoor climate investigations, ventilation and piping system condition examinations, as well as asbestos and contaminant examinations, for example. The investigations will be ordered from external consultants chosen as a result of a competitive tendering process.

The city uses commonly accepted investigation methods. Strict quality criteria are in place for the researchers and research methods, and the contents of the investigations are defined case-specifically.

Design and implementation of the investigations

Investigation of a building will start with a preliminary survey, where the technical drawings of the site, previous condition assessments and investigation reports, as well as repair history documentation is collected as a starting point. The users of the space, the caretaker, and property manager are interviewed, and the condition of the spaces is assessed sensorily.

Preliminary situation and risk assessments and an investigation plan are drafted based on the preliminary survey. If the preliminary survey indicates a need for immediate repairs, the most urgent actions are taken as soon as possible.

According to the investigation plan, the following things, among others, are studied and measured:

• cleanliness of the ventilation system, amounts of air, and mixing of air in the rooms
• condition of the HVAC systems
• pressure differences between outdoor and indoor air, crawl spaces and indoor air, or dirty and clean spaces
• carbon dioxide content of the indoor air
• temperature and humidity of the indoor air and the factors affecting them, such as the temperature of the supply air and operation of the heating network
• contents of chemical compounds in indoor air and materials
• occurrence of industrial mineral fibres
• harmful substances, such as asbestos and PAH compounds
• structural risk analysis: structure types and their moisture technical functional modes
• reasons for and extent of moisture damage through surface moisture measurements, borehole measurements, opening structures, and microbial analysis of material samples.

After the investigation and sampling phase, the laboratory and measurement results must be waited for. The overall picture can only be investigated and a research report with repair suggestions drafted after all the tests are complete.

Usually, the investigation report is complete some 3–6 months after the investigation is started. The report will be used as a basis for the plan of the necessary repairs.

Read more:

How will the investigation of indoor air problems proceed? »

Further information on carrying out condition investigations and indoor air repairs »

06.12.2019 19:18