Module 4 – Recognizing and Addressing IAQ Problems

How can a building manager know if there is an indoor air quality (IAQ) problem? And, if there is a problem, how can it be resolved? The fourth module of the CCIAQB’s Guide for Indoor Air Quality answers these questions.

Indoor Air QualityComplaints from building occupants can be a significant help in detecting, locating and diagnosing compromised IAQ. Guidance is given on how to handle IAQ complaints, including a sample complaint form and an investigative process. Typical sources of contaminants are listed, along with factors that can affect IAQ, such as chemicals and ventilation flaws. Effective communication with occupants is described, as well as the effects of IAQ on health.

The module’s second half gives advice on dealing with IAQ problems. There are instructions for an effective walk-through inspection of the building. A checklist covers items to look for, such as contaminants, faults in the building and its systems, and occupant activities. A second checklist offers ideas on causes and possible effects. For example, widespread symptoms among occupants may indicate a problem that is spread by the building’s ventilation system.

In case a more thorough assessment is needed, steps are given for evaluating the building’s heating, ventilation and air conditioning system. Also, the pathways and sources of pollutants are described, as well as methods for air sampling. There are recommendations on determining if a problem has been fixed, and on where and how to seek outside help, if it is needed.

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