What does BS 40102 mean for you?

BS 40102 is a new British standard currently in development covering health and wellbeing, thermal comfort, indoor air quality and overheating in non-domestic buildings.

In this article we cover the background and development timeline of BS 40102, what it is likely to include and what it could mean for businesses.

Please note, BS 401202 is currently in the comment resolution stage of the draft proposal and may change. This article will be updated as and when new information is released. Last updated June 2022.

What is BS 40102?

BS 40102 started life as PAS 3003, an industry specification designed to assess indoor environmental quality and mitigate the effects of overheated and poorly ventilated non-domestic buildings with the ultimate aim of improving mental and physical health of occupants.

PAS 3003 was merged with a proposal from the British Standards Institute and fast-tracked into BS 40102.

The standard addresses concerns that regulatory and commercial pressures, which have led building developers to focus on reducing operational energy costs, have come at the expense of occupant safety and comfort. For example, inadequate ventilation.

As concerns grow over the long-term impact and cost of ill health and subsequent pressure on public services, it is important that improvements are made to the quality of non-domestic buildings.

The standard will establish a framework for the assessment of buildings to identify where issues occur, and to set requirements for monitoring and evaluation of health and wellbeing parameters.

BS 40102 is split into two parts:

Part 1: Health and Wellbeing in Buildings

Part 2: Thermal Comfort, Indoor Air Quality and Overheating

“PART 1: This part will give recommendations for the measuring, monitoring and reporting of the well-being and IEQ performance of an occupied building and the associated building services. It will provide an evaluation and rating system, the aim of which is to enhance indoor environmental quality (IEQ), to create healthier buildings and improve the well-being of building occupants; including but not limited to staff, visitors, tenants and customers. The IEQ performance score generated as an outcome of this evaluation will provide organizations with a benchmark score which can be used to identify areas of below par performance and enable improvements to be made accordingly.”

BSI Standards Development

This will be applicable to all forms of non-domestic buildings, including existing building stock.

The IEQ performance score can then be used as a benchmark score for businesses to identify areas of improvement.

PART 2: Part 2 will provide technical benchmarks that address the health and wellbeing issues identified in Part 1, essentially developing a best practice approach to thermal comfort, overheating and internal air quality.

BSI Standards Development
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What is IEQ?

Indoor environmental quality (IEQ) is used to measure anything in a building that could impact the occupants’ health and wellbeing. It is a more holistic way of measuring the conditions than simply focusing on air quality, as it covers additional factors like damp, lighting and sound.

It’s important because in the UK and Europe we spend the majority of our time indoors. Studies have demonstrated that things like poor lighting, distracting noise and thermal discomfort can have a significant impact on the productivity and mental health of occupants. 

Why is this happening and what does BS 40102 mean for you?

The objective of BS 40102 is to provide “robust and appropriate technical standards for thermal comfort and internal air quality” in non-domestic buildings. It is expected to be adopted in retrofit projects to improve the health and wellbeing of occupants.

The new standard is expected to provide real tangible benefits such as increasing employee/tenant loyalty, cost and energy savings, and a reduction in greenhouse gases.  

It is worth noting that there are already similar standards in place which loosely cover some of the issues raised in BS 40102.  For example, the WELL Standard does already provide guidelines for occupant health and wellbeing. BS 40101 also addresses IEQ but primarily focuses on the evaluation of building performance. 

On a practical level, the standard will be considered best practice when retrofitting buildings. British Standards are not law (although the contents may be covered in legislation) but demonstrate a commitment to upholding the highest standards.

To conform to the standard, organisations will need to do things such as:

  • Improve thermal comfort 
  • Improve indoor air quality in relation to factors which can be harmful to humans, such as humidity, CO2, CO, NO2, volatile organic compounds (VOC), particulates, microbes and moulds 
  • Ensure that changes to how airtight the building is improves energy conservation
  • Design, install and commission ventilation systems effectively  
  • Provide a whole-building approach to projects to ensure a safe route to net zero carbon buildings

When will BS 40102 be implemented?

BS 40102 has already been drafted and opened to public comment. It will enter the ‘comment resolution’ stage at the end of October, which is the final step before it is officially approved and subsequently published. The standard is being fast tracked – the original proposal was originally tabled in August 2021 – so we can expect it to be implemented fairly quickly after the comment resolution stage is completed. This is likely to happen in early 2023.

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