Our Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) Handbook is being reviewed and updated to reflect the latest scientific evidence from the COVID-19 pandemic.

What is IAQ?

Indoor air quality (IAQ) is generally described as a measure of the condition of air in a room with respect to the health and comfort of its occupants. It includes the physical, chemical and microbiological makeup of the air.

Note the term IAQ means different things to different people and there is no single accepted definition.

The importance of IAQ in buildings has recently been highlighted through the COVID-19 pandemic, since adequate IAQ can help to minimise the airborne transmission spread of viruses.

IAQ and the NCC

New buildings[1] must meet mandatory NCC Performance Requirements for ventilation, which call for ‘adequate’ indoor air quality.

The minimum contaminant limits for ‘acceptable indoor air quality’ to verify this are defined in the IAQ Verification Methods in NCC Volumes One and Two.

There are also DTS Solutions deemed to meet the Performance Requirements for ventilation in the NCC.

More details on the NCC Performance Requirements for ventilation are in the NCC.

The IAQ Handbook

The IAQ Handbook (2021) helps practitioners with the design, construction and certification of new buildings when using the IAQ Verification Method/s.

It covers:

  • the principles behind the development of the IAQ Verification Methods
  • examples of how the IAQ Verification Methods can be applied in practice
  • information and data sources to support using the IAQ Verification Methods.

The IAQ Handbook was first developed by the ABCB in collaboration with the Australian Institute of Refrigeration, Air conditioning and Heating (AIRAH) in 2016. Minor changes to the handbook content have occurred since then to align with updates to the NCC.

Review and update of the IAQ Handbook

The Board agreed to review and update the IAQ Handbook so it reflects the latest scientific evidence from the COVID-19 pandemic.

The scope of the review and update of the IAQ Handbook focuses on:

  • new buildings, with limited consideration of existing buildings
  • aligning the content with NCC 2022
  • the IAQ Verification Methods in the NCC
  • identifying and considering relevant domestic and international research
  • consulting with relevant stakeholders.

The revised and updated handbook is planned for release by the end of 2022.

How you can contribute

As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, there is a renewed focus on IAQ in buildings, with extensive research being undertaken by governments, industry and academics.

You can help by identifying relevant domestic and international research and sharing it with us.

Relevant research and its source(s) can be provided to the ABCB through Consultation Hub.

Thank you in advance for your assistance.

[1] The NCC applies to new buildings and new ‘building work’ as specified by each jurisdiction.