Guide defines indoor air quality competencies

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Two respected professional associations have collaborated to produce a first-ever compendium of knowledge and skills that competent indoor air quality (IAQ) practitioners should possess. The newly released Body of Knowledge (BoK) document from the Indoor Air Quality Association (IAQA) and the American Industrial Hygiene Association (AIHA) also offers non-experts a glimpse of the wide scope of often interrelated biological, chemical and mechanical system factors that can affect building occupants’ health and well-being.

Competent practitioners are expected to be able to identify and understand the sources contributing to indoor air quality, have the technical skills to measure and assess them, and the ability to implement corrective action. This requires knowledge of science, human health and building systems, as well as the ability to perceive symptoms of sick building syndrome (SBS), mass psychogenic illness (MPI) and building related illness (BRI) and connect them to possible causes.

“This document will serve as the reference standard for the IAQ field and its practitioners for years to come, and those interested in the field will be able to utilize the BoK as a guideline for their IAQ methods and procedures,” says Donald Weekes, the IAQA’s immediate past president.

“The foundational elements of the final document were built on a thoughtful exchange of perspectives and experiences,” concurs Wane Baker, past chair of AIHA’s indoor environmental quality committee and vice chair of the ASHRAE environmental health committee.

The BoK was developed by a joint technical committee and reviewed by stakeholders from both associations and the broader practice area. IAQA has 20 chapters and more than 2,500 members throughout the United States and Canada. AIHA is a longstanding professional association currently representing approximately 10,000 occupational and environmental health and safety professionals.