Ventilation project to officially kick-off this month

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

In July 2013, the Zero Carbon Hub and the NHBC Foundation published a report highlighting issues and key actions relating to MVHR systems in new homes. The report, the culmination of work by the Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) Group, chaired by Lynne Sullivan OBE, stressed the point that ‘as new homes become more airtight, adequate ventilation is relied upon increasingly to maintain satisfactory indoor air quality (IAQ). It is essential that ventilation systems of all types successfully deliver adequate indoor air quality...’ Importantly, this work contributed to the creation of a new NHBC standard on MVHR, providing the NHBC with a standard to inspect against.

Building on that work, and following industry interest, the ZCH held a series of scoping meetings in early 2014 with housebuilders, manufacturers, testing and verification experts and civil servants. These meetings highlighted issues with Part F, as well as a significant number of issues and problems which can arise during the process of delivering ventilation systems in new homes (both mechanical and passive) – at the design stage, during installation and commissioning, through to compliance, handover to occupants and occupant use. These issues can of course result in buildings not being adequately ventilated – leading to poor air quality and potentially health issues for occupants.

The Zero Carbon Hub therefore intends to support indoor air quality objectives for new homes by carrying out an analysis of the construction process (end-to-end) and assessing in detail how the quality and performance of ventilation systems is or could be assured at each stage. The project will kick-off in September with the formation of an expert group to be chaired by Gary Nicholls of Briary Energy, who also chiared the Design versus As-Built project's 'Services' group. Tom Dollard of Pollard Thomas Edwards architects has also kindly agreed to be the deputy chair.