Feature Article

Construction IAQ Management: Job-Site Strategies for Ensuring a Healthy Building

To prevent entry of dust and other contaminants, all HVAC ducts are wrapped with plastic while construction is under way on the Cottonwood Administration Building owned by Intergen.

Photo: Brystar Contracting, Beaumont, Texas
Providing a healthy building is a team effort, involving participation on all levels—from initial design right through to building operation and maintenance. Sometimes overlooked in indoor air quality planning are measures that must be implemented during the process of construction or renovation to prevent the introduction of air quality problems from those activities. These strategies can be generally termed “construction IAQ management,” and it is here that we direct our attention.

Our current focus on construction IAQ management is not at all meant to minimize the importance of IAQ strategies that are part of building design or operation. Indeed, these areas are critical. Through careful building design—and the proper implementation of that design during construction—we control water intrusion into buildings, we ensure adequate insulation and air sealing so that condensation doesn’t occur, and we specify materials and products that won’t offgas pollutants. In fact, as we will see, many of the IAQ problems that result from mistakes made on the job site are directly related to design—and failure to plan for the unexpected. Then, through careful operation and maintenance procedures once a building is occupied, we avoid the use of harmful cleaning compounds and surface treatments, we track off dirt at the entryway (see


Vol. 10, No. 10), and we remove such contaminants as dust with regular cleaning.

Even with a good design, including details to prevent moisture problems and good housekeeping measures, the construction process itself can be

a source of IAQ problems. This article covers ways to prevent those problems in new construction and renovation projects. Most of the strategies covered here apply to both commercial and residential building, though the primary focus is on construction in the commercial sector.

Published May 1, 2002

(2002, May 1). Construction IAQ Management: Job-Site Strategies for Ensuring a Healthy Building. Retrieved from https://www.buildinggreen.com/feature/construction-iaq-management-job-site-strategies-ensuring-healthy-building