BESA (the Building Engineering Services Association), which developed the industry’s primary standard for ventilation hygiene (TR19) almost 20 years ago, has unveiled a suite of training courses to support the standard.
The launch will be bolstered by an accreditation scheme due for launch in early 2017.
The need to provide a safe working environment for staff; reduce fire risks and avoid contamination of food preparation areas has pushed ductwork and kitchen extract cleaning to the top of the agenda for building owners.
All employers are subject to health & safety at work legislation, which requires them to maintain conditions in occupied spaces that protect the wellbeing of their staff. Asthma and other respiratory conditions are increasing in the UK and bacterial spores in ductwork have been linked to outbreaks of MRSA and other serious infections in hospitals and clinics.
Building owners also face rising costs and more stringent conditions imposed on them by insurers concerned about fires being spread through poorly maintained ventilation systems.
The importance of keeping food preparation areas free of contamination is another increasingly important area of potential reputational risk and depends on air systems being kept clear of airborne contaminants.
Growing understanding and awareness of all these issues among building owners and managers is driving market growth for ventilation hygiene companies. These specialists have a crucial dual role to play in tackling the environmental health issue of poor indoor air; while simultaneously reducing fire risk.
Since it was first developed in 1998 by BESA, TR19 has been widely accepted by the building engineering services sector and British insurers as the standard to which ventilation systems should be cleaned. The guiding principle of TR19 is that a defined, measurable level of cleanliness should be achieved to improve safety and comfort in buildings.
It was updated and expanded two years’ ago to complement the British and European Standard BS EN 15780: ‘Ventilation for Buildings – Ductwork – Cleanliness of Ventilation Systems’, which highlights the important role ventilation hygiene plays in maintaining healthy indoor conditions for building occupants.
TR19 exceeds the requirements of the standard in most respects and is a more comprehensive vehicle for delivering a total ventilation hygiene solution. It also includes kitchen grease extract systems, which are not yet covered in BS15780.
In addition, TR19 helps building owners satisfy their obligations under the Regulatory Reform (fire safety) Order 2005.
BESA’s training scheme supports TR19 and seeks to ensure high standards throughout the sector by promoting the high level of technical competence needed to ensure ventilation cleaning meets legal requirements.
BESA technical director Tim Rook said: “Ventilation hygiene is an area of real strategic importance for BESA and the industry at large. We are extremely fortunate to be able to draw on the expertise of the dedicated volunteers in our enthusiastic Ventilation Hygiene group, who were responsible for the creation of TR19 in the first place.”
“Their market is already enjoying healthy growth as a result of increased awareness among building owners of the crucial health and safety role played by hygiene specialists. However, we also have to guard against is the inevitable ‘cowboy’ element, who seek to undercut bona fide firms and fail to invest in the training and equipment needed to provide a professional and, therefore, safe service,” he continued.
“The training courses and subsequent accreditation provided by BESA will allow properly professional ventilation hygiene firms to prove their competence and impress on clients the importance of having this work done to the highest standards,” added Mr Rook.
For more information on the ventilation hygiene training courses visit the BESA website at www.thebesa.com