Indoor Environmental Quality (IEQ)

The following guidelines apply to indoor or enclosed areas when occupied by workers except when clearly impracticable, such as during some construction or renovation projects. These projects will be assessed by Health, Safety and Environment on an individual basis.

Individuals with immediate issues related to the functioning of building systems (i.e. too hot today, suspect ventilation has been turned off or broken down) should contact Facilities Management.  In order to ensure that building ventilation systems can function optimally, every occupant is encouraged to keep windows closed at all times. It is recommended that laboratory doors kept closed as well.

Occupants who have ongoing concerns with the quality of indoor air can complete an IEQ Concern Report. Completed reports can be submitted to Health, Safety and Environment at HSE.ok@ubc.ca for review.

The form will initiate investigation by Health, Safety and Environment.

Indoor Environmental Quality is everyone’s responsibility.  For more information on how to take control of the air you breathe take a moment to read our Indoor Environmental Quality Brochure.

Indoor Environmental Quality (IEQ) Guidelines

Temperature

Strive to maintain temperatures between 20 – 24 degrees Celsius in the winter and 23 – 27 degrees Celsius in the summer. These values apply to occupants wearing typical seasonal clothing while doing light, mostly sedentary work.

Humidity

Approximately 30% relative humidly is recommended, however, variability is acceptable due to outdoor environmental conditions. Although UBC O buildings do not have the capability of controlling moisture concentrations, humidity will be measured and considered during an indoor air quality investigation if necessary (i.e. lower temperatures may allow for higher levels of humidity).

Carbon Dioxide

Levels below 1,000 ppm are generally acceptable. Levels that are 650 ppm above ambient outdoor levels (which are normally around 350 ppm) may be an indicator of inadequate fresh air supply.

Carbon Monoxide

Levels below 5 ppm are generally acceptable. Concentrations above 5 ppm indicate the presence of combustion products and must be investigated.

Outdoor Air

An adequate supply of outdoor air must be provided to the workplace. As a general guideline, many workspaces will require between 15 and 20 cubic feet per minute (cfm) of outdoor air per person.

Air Distribution

Outdoor air must be effectively distributed throughout the workplace. The ventilation system must be balanced to ensure that each space within the building receives an adequate amount of outdoor air and to accommodate the normal occupancy of each space.

Noise

Occupants should keep noise levels at reasonable and respectful levels. Workers will not be exposed to noise levels above 85 dBA Lex daily noise exposure level or 140 dBC peak sound level.

Vibration

Vibration does not generally present a health hazard within general indoor work environments. Vibration concerns typically arise from the use of specific equipment and machinery. If vibration is a concern, HSE will investigate.

Lighting

Lighting must comply with WorkSafeBC minimum requirements for illumination to ensure safe working conditions, safe passage, and identification of hazards or obstructions.