Updated: Dec 14, 2020
As Commercial Offices become further occupied then applying the principles of increased the Ventilation that CIBSE recommends means that Occupants will become ever more reliant on the abilities of their FM/M&E Contractors to advise them how they they can follow the Guidelines.
CIBSE Guidelines The CIBSE Guidelines can be seen here
Clearly there are lots of challenges detailed in the document especially when evaluating the many different complex Mechanical systems that can apply to various different building types and varying uses, including schools, offices and some Manufacturing Facilities.
Facilities Managers are unlikely to know exactly what systems are in use and how to change the usage on every building and will be heavily reliant on support from their Contractors, but do those contractors all have the skills and technical knowledge?
ProActive FM and M&E Contractors with the requisite skills will already be advising their customers on the need to evaluate each Buildings systems and what can be done to follow the CIBSE recommendations, but being realistic there is going to be some form of cost to change systems to comply with the "New Normal" Clearly increasing Ventilation rates makes sense but is not always very practical.
The advice is to Increase Ventilation as much as possible.
As was written in TwinFm recently, CIBSE’s advice is basically to increase ventilation as much as possible, increasing the flow of outside air and preventing any pockets of stagnant air. Recirculation of air within buildings should be avoided to reduce the risk of transmission. This may lead to an increase in energy bills.
Calculating the appropriate volume of outside air, and reconfiguring existing air handling systems to provide it, needs expertise, and CIBSE’s engineers are finding that their skills are suddenly very much in demand.
Suitable Skills and Confusing messaging
However how do you know if your Contractor has the requisite skills to evaluate the myriad of potentially complex M&E systems, and therefore applying the principles of how can you Increase Ventilation Rates? You cannot simply install a larger fan inside an AHU, and the ductwork size will seriously impact on noise and drafts.
Applying rules around recirculation systems on central plant makes sense but when it comes to localised ventilation such as Fan Coils, then switching those off seems stranges especially (as in sealed buildings with no opening windows) fresh/recirc air is often introduced into the rear of the fan coil units.
Different Contractors have different skills and may need to employ external experts to assist in evaluating these systems. Additionally Ventilation rates can be monitored at both central plant level but also locally on each floors with our SmartIoT sensors, which gives an immediate and ongoing monitoring with alarms/alerts being pushed to mobile devices.
Every Building with Mechanical Ventilation needs to be properly assessed as to the viability of improving Ventilation, but practically in many cases will prove impossible
Clearly there are going to be challenges ahead and Building Occupants and their operators need to have confidence that their buildings are safe to occupy. Monitoring Indoor Air Quality and Air Volumes can be done with IoT technology which will go some way to understanding the systems in use.