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Indoor Environmental Quality - Healthy Buildings

From left: Joe Scholz and Nick Stokoe

The CIBSE event held on September 14th in collaboration with IHEA was on the topic of healthy buildings and an interesting topic provided from two speakers – Nick Stokoe of Cundall and Joseph Scholz of QED Environmental  Services, with an attendance of 21 over the 2 hour period.

Nick introduced the WELL Building Standard certification process and criteria as demonstrated by the first building in Europe, being a fit out for the Cundall office in London, with lessons learnt for such an assessment resulting in the achievement for a gold rating. It was recognised that generally many of the principles are similar to Green Star buildings although WELL originates from the US and requires certification from an accredited person visiting from the States. In some aspects of the criteria, there could be a conflict to being “green” such as more fresh air versus energy to condition this and on that basis a hypothetical outcome could be a green star rating which is slightly lower; but then enhanced by the WELL  factor. As this is now being considered for Australia under the Green Council, it will be interesting to see the outcome for a building being assessed for both. 

Nick leads Cundall’s Adelaide office and has been involved in a wide range of energy efficient projects on landmark buildings such as the new Royal Adelaide Hospital and University of South Australia’s Health Innovation Building. He is also one of the most experienced NABERS professionals in the country and he was the nation’s first Green Star – Performance Accredited Professional.

Joseph presented the QED quality assessment process that was initiated initially for hospital (health care) buildings; but is able to be applied to all buildings that require an audit to establish the risks that are available to occupants involving both the environment and its building services delivery. This was demonstrated by examples of the event categories and risk levels that are applicable in order to determine priorities for remediation, particularly involving plant/systems maintenance and record keeping for comparative analysis. This also selects maximum levels of infectious criteria that form the basis for comparative assessment from tests undertaken, to determine the degree of such risk. Such a process also enables a specific prioritised approach to be followed in the event of an infection outbreak, which assists in delivering a more prompt resolution than otherwise could be delayed by analysis over a holistic range of cause factors.

Joseph is an Environmental Engineer (Hons) and Director at QED Environmental Services having been responsible for the technical development of QED’s national indoor air quality management programmes and more recently, investigating the link between the Indoor Environment and health and wellbeing as to these may be rated and then improved in buildings around Australia. He has been a member of numerous industry groups and professional associations dealing with the Built Environment, including CASANZ Indoor Air Quality SIG Chair; the Property Council Sustainable Development Committee (WA); Green Star Certified Assessor and Faculty member and Technical Expert for air quality on the Green Star Performance Rating Tool.