FM companies challenged about indoor air quality
MEP contractors and consultants raised the issue at the MEP UAE Conference 2018 as questions were raised about the HVAC system maintenance in the UAE
Facilities management (FM) companies in the region have been questioned about their involvement in maintaining indoor air quality in the built environment.
MEP contractors and consultants raised the issue at the MEP UAE Conference 2018 as questions were raised about the HVAC system maintenance in the UAE.
Arvind K. Bhatnagar, general manager, TTE focused on the issue of duct cleaning and maintenance. He said: “A building can be perfectly designed, but when it comes to facilities management, there’s no foresight on duct cleaning. In most buildings, residents could be breathing air out of 20-year old ducts that have not be cleaned.”
He also said that when there’s a design clash with MEP contractors about false ceilings, contractors are asked to remove redundant air flow systems to make space. Bhatnagar questioned: “Clients are unaware that in future, residents will be breathing air blowing over the open false ceiling. If there’re no return air ducts, how will they clean the ducts?”
If a building’s FM contract includes duct cleaning in the fine print, it will mean that the tenants pay slightly more. In return, they will be assured of good indoor quality air.
He said that facilities management is now limited only to asset maintenance. “If the maintenance or FM contract specifies that air quality checks be conducted regularly and ducts should be cleaned, then it will be cleaned. Nobody will do it free of cost,” he said.
Brian Suggitt, managing director, Systemair, and chairman, Eurovent Middle East, reminded us that since we spend 90% of our time indoors, we need control mechanisms for energy usage.
He said: “We need to use the right products. A simple air handling unit with the right fan, filtration and monitoring systems can improve air quality and energy efficiency at the same time, and thus save money.”
He, however, said that the challenge was to get the owners to want such products, consultants to specify them, and suppliers to provide the specified products.