Managing IAQ During School Renovations

  February 25, 2010

According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), one of the major contributors to bad indoor air quality in schools is renovation and repair activities.

Existing schools can have some fairly old technologies in them, such as lead-based paint, or flooring with asbestos. Or past water damage might have caused unseen mold issues in walls. Construction activities themselves are dusty and new building materials might off-gas.

Especially when work is going to be done while the school is occupied, demolition and construction activities will have to be conducted with care and greater supervision.

Some of the steps that EPA recommends for protecting building occupants, particularly children who are much more affected by indoor air quality issues than adults include:

-testing for the presence of lead and asbestos.
-keeping occupants as far away from demolition or construction activities by physical distance, proper ventilation and barriers such as plastic sheeting.
-doing everything possible to keep pollutants confined, such as wet sanding drywall or keeping lids and caps on solvents, adhesives and paints as much as possible.

For other suggestions from the EPA on how to mitigate the negative effects of renovation on IAQ in schools, check out http://epa.gov/iaq/schooldesign.


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