Indoor Environmental Quality During Construction
This document is intended to
provide project managers with guidance on how to minimize the negative
impact of construction projects on indoor environmental quality
1. Program Description
5. Specific Program Components
6. Reporting Requirements
7. Information and External
The purpose of the document is to provide project managers
with guidance on how to minimize the negative impact of construction projects
on indoor environmental quality (IEQ).
Construction projects can have a significant impact
on indoor environmental quality (IEQ) through the introduction of pollutants
such as particulates, offensive odors, toxic chemical vapors, microbials,
and combustion products. Pre-planning efforts that anticipate these issues
and specify adequate pollutant control methods prior to commencing work
can be an essential step to “on-time”, “within budget”, project completion.
Planning efforts should also include a commissioning procedure that specifies
re-occupancy criteria at project completion. The following components
of project management should be considered to minimize negative impacts
of construction on IEQ:
2. Occupant Notification
3. Methods for Pollutant Control
4. Re-occupancy Criteria/Commissioning
- IEQ – Indoor Environmental Quality
- Project support personnel- workforce engaged in the construction
project. These may include, but are not limited to, Facilities Management
staff, Contractors acting on behalf of UC Irvine, and others tasked
with construction activities.
4.1 The project personnel shall be responsible for
maintaining acceptable indoor environmental quality within the space
or contiguous spaces where the construction project is occurring.
4.2 The EH&S Industrial Hygienist reserves the right to issue a
“Stop Work” order in the event that the indoor environmental quality
of the project space or contiguous spaces is adversely affected by the
Specific Program Components
During pre-planning, some key factors to assess include:
5.1.1 Types of dusts or odors produced from:
- Material being demolished
- Products used in construction
- Equipment used in construction
5.1.2 Presence of pollutants that are a recognized
hazard, as evidenced by the Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS).
5.1.3 Times and locations where occupants are most
likely to encounter airborne pollutants.
5.1.4 The expected amount and duration of exposure
occupants may have to the pollutants.
5.1.5 General safety and hygiene; for example,
keeping hallways and exits unobstructed.
The following “Assessment Checklist”
may assist in pre-planning the project.
||Identify chemical and physical sources of odor and
||Clearly identify occupied areas potentially affected by the project.
||Identify specific construction activities likely to produce dust/odors.
||Identify control options and assess available control measures.
As specific details of the project become clear,
pollutant control methods can be tailored to the project. Specific control
measures may involve:
- Protection of the heating, ventilating, and air conditioning (HVAC)
- Control of the pollutant source
- Interruption of the pollutant pathway (plastic sheeting barriers,
- Scheduling considerations
5.2 Occupant Notification
Notifying area occupants of the proposed work, work
schedule, and a description of the type of inconvenience it may cause
is critical to the success of most projects. Specifically occupants
should be advised of potential odors, noise, dust generation, etc.,
well in advance of work so that individuals with pre-existing medical
conditions can make alternate arrangements or go on a modified work
schedule (see Sample Letter).
5.3. Methods for Pollutant Control
Prior to commencement of work, project personnel
should be made familiar with locations of all posted regulations, personal
protection requirements (including workplace entry and exit procedures),
and emergency procedures. Project personnel should wear appropriate
personal protective equipment.
5.3.1 HVAC Protection
- Where feasible, the HVAC system should be shut down for the duration
of the demolition project.
- All openings, including but not limited to ducts, grilles, grates,
diffusers, pipe chases, or other openings within the designated
work area, should be sealed with 6-mil polyethylene sheeting and
secured with duct tape.
- When total HVAC isolation is not feasible, consider the use of
temporary filters on grilles, diffusers, etc. These filters should
be frequently inspected during the course of the project and replaced
- The mechanical room must not be used to store construction or
5.3.2 Source Control
- All surfaces to be disturbed should be misted with water to minimize
- When possible, products emitting lower amounts of odor or volatile
organic compounds (VOC’s) should be used.
- If feasible, electric-powered equipment should be used in lieu
of gasoline-powered equipment.
5.3.3 Pollutant Pathway Interruption
- All openings, including but not limited to windows, doorways,
drains, ducts, grilles, grates, diffusers, pipe chases, access panels,
or other openings within the designated work area should be sealed
with 6-mil fire resistant polyethylene sheeting and duct tape.
- Temporary isolation wall enclosures should be constructed. The
temporary wall enclosures should be assembled with one layer of
4-mil polyethylene sheeting overlapping in alternate layers. Affix
4-mil polyethylene sheeting to the ceiling grid or a temporary framework
to form the walls of the enclosure.
- The floor within the enclosure should be covered with one layer
of 6-mil polyethylene sheeting. Each layer should be taped at all
edges. All carpeting must be protected from contamination during
construction, unless new carpeting will be installed.
- Adequate exhaust ventilation equipment should be installed to
maintain a negative pressure differential between the work area
and adjacent areas of the building. (Note: It is good practice
to smoke test the enclosure to ensure it is under negative pressure.
EH&S may be contacted to provide this service.)
- As far as practicable, negative pressure ventilation units should
be exhausted to the outside of the building. Careful installation
and daily inspections should be performed to ensure ducting does
not release construction debris into uncontaminated areas of the
- The negative pressure systems should continuously operate while
work is in progress. Damage and defects in the enclosure system
are to be repaired immediately upon discovery.
After completion of the work, the entire work area
(including walls, ceilings, floors, and other work surfaces) should
be cleaned and vacuumed. All surfaces should be free from visible
- Depending on the expected impact, some projects should be scheduled
off-hours. If this is not feasible, a buffer zone should be established
around the work area where no building occupants are permitted.
Building occupants should not be allowed to remain in the area where
construction activities are in progress.
- Projects that generate malodorous or toxic air contaminants may
create special scheduling needs if the sampling methods and information
available to Industrial Hygienists precludes making immediate assessments
of employee exposures. For example, contaminants that require submitting
samples to a lab and waiting for results before employees can be
advised whether exposures are acceptable pursuant to recognized
occupational exposure limits require special scheduling considerations.
5.4. Reoccupancy Criteria/Commissioning
5.4.1 Prior to reoccupation of the project area,
the worksite should be cleaned until there is no visible haze in the
air and no settled dust is found on surfaces.
5.4.2 There should be low to no detectable odors
5.4.3 The HVAC system should be restored
to good operating conditions when odors and visible emissions have
dissipated or otherwise been eliminated.
There are no reporting requirements; however, EH&S
may be contacted for a copy of this procedure.
Information and external references
Sample Letter that can be distributed to affected
To: Unit Managers
From: Frank Lloyd Wright, Project Manager
Subject: Possible Indoor Air Quality Impact - Painting
and Carpet Installation at My Favorite Campus Building
Please be advised that on July 24-26, my favorite campus
building will be painted and re-carpeted. The work will take place from
7:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. all three days. This process involves activities
that may generate unpleasant odors, noise, or dust in your workspace.
Specifically, we anticipate dust from surface preparation and odors from
both the paint application and the carpet installation.
We will take steps to ensure the work is done in accordance
with occupational safety and health standards and use controls where feasible
to minimize the impact this project will have on your workspace. Even
with these precautions, we cannot guarantee that fugitive emissions will
not have a short term and transient effect on some employees, especially
persons with preexisting medical conditions or unusual sensitivities.
Therefore I encourage you to take whatever measures you feel are necessary
to deal with this temporary inconvenience. If you have any questions about
the project or the materials involved, please feel free to contact me.
Thank you very much for your cooperation.
Initiator: Alvin Samala