The Australian Building Codes Board (ABCB) is calling for input in reviewing and updating the Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) Handbook to reflect the latest scientific evidence from the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The importance of IAQ in buildings has recently been highlighted through the COVID-19 pandemic,” says the ABCB, “since adequate IAQ can help to minimise the airborne transmission spread of viruses.”
The pandemic has also raised questions about how to improve IAQ, with some suggesting that the National Construction Code (NCC) could play a leading role. The ABCB notes that new buildings must meet mandatory NCC performance requirements for ventilation, which call for “adequate” indoor air quality. The minimum contaminant limits for “acceptable indoor air quality” to verify this are defined in the IAQ Verification Methods in NCC Volumes One and Two.
There are also Deemed-to-Satisfy (DTS) solutions deemed to meet the performance requirements for ventilation in the NCC.
More details on the NCC Performance Requirements for ventilation are in the NCC.
The IAQ Handbook was developed to help practitioners with the design, construction and certification of new buildings when using the IAQ verification methods. It covers the principles behind the development of the IAQ verification methods; examples of how the IAQ verification methods can be applied in practice; and information and data sources to support using the IAQ verification methods.
The IAQ Handbook was first developed by the ABCB in collaboration with AIRAH in 2016. Minor changes to the handbook content have occurred since then to align with updates to the NCC. Given the major developments over the pandemic, the ABCB board agreed to review and update the IAQ Handbook to reflect the latest scientific evidence.
“As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, there is a renewed focus on IAQ in buildings, with extensive research being undertaken by governments, industry and academics,” says the ABCB.
“You can help by identifying relevant domestic and international research and sharing it with us.”
Relevant research and its source(s) can be provided through the ABCB consultation hub until September 9.
The ABCB plans to publish the revised and updated handbook by the end of 2022.