BREEAM Indoor Air Quality Plan, Chesterfield and Derby

We prepared BREEAM Indoor Air Quality Plans for two health-care units in the Derbyshire area to facilitate design, specification and installation decisions and actions that minimise indoor air pollution for the building occupants.

Key details

Project name

BREEAM Indoor Air Quality Plan





Chesterfield and Derby


Services provided:

- BREEAM Indoor Air Quality Plan

The Building Research Establishment's Environmental Assessment Method (BREEAM) is the world’s leading environmental assessment and certification scheme. BREEAM aims to reward and motivate sustainability across the life-cycle of projects ensuring best environmental practice is incorporated into the planning, design, construction and operation of buildings.

Where buildings comply with certain criteria, credits are awarded. An Indoor Air Quality Plan is a prerequisite to achieving credits under the BREEAM Health and Wellbeing category which aims to recognise and encourage a healthy internal environment using appropriate ventilation, equipment and finishes.

Indoor Air Quality Plans facilitate design, specification and installation decisions and actions that minimise indoor air pollution for occupants of the building, considering:

  • Removal of contaminant sources
  • Dilution and control of contaminant sources
  • Procedures for flushing out pollutants prior to occupancy
  • Testing and analysis
  • Maintenance of good indoor air quality in-use


The challenge was to exploit opportunities at the design and construction stages to avoid introducing pollution sources in the first place and identify any remaining measures necessary to reduce the occupant’s exposure.

The BREEAM allows for the depth and complexity of a plan to vary depending on the needs of building users and other stakeholders, the outdoor air quality and the complexity of the building. For buildings in areas where air quality is good, the plan can be relatively straightforward.

The Derbyshire units were not in Air Quality Management Areas, but the sites were close to busy roads. As the outdoor air quality was potentially affected by traffic emissions, future users of the buildings may be exposed to poor air quality. The depth and complexity of the plans produced for the Derbyshire units reflected this.

Supporting the hospital and health care sector


The plan first considered sources of outdoor air: air intakes for ventilation systems were located away from car parks and vehicle waiting areas, separating occupants from outdoor pollution sources.

The plan then considered sources of indoor air: materials, finishings and surface coatings inside the building were selected for their low emissions characteristics minimising indoor sources.

For unavoidable indoor air pollution sources: local ventilation such as kitchen hoods and bathroom exhaust fans were included in the design. General ventilation was included to remove emissions from surfaces.

The plan allowed sufficient time for drying, curing and off-gassing of new products before the building is occupied. The plan set out a procedure for flushing out the interior using a supply of outdoor air.

Details of indoor air quality testing pre-occupation were included to provide objective evidence of whether the conditions are suitable for the new occupants

The plan recommended that regular, inspection, cleaning and maintenance of ventilation plant and indoor air quality testing was documented to ensure the ongoing maintenance of good air quality in the buildings.

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