Indoor Air Quality

Summary

Indoor environmental quality (IEQ) concerns are generally related to ventilation systems, the air, materials, and operations inside a building, moisture intrusion, and individual sensitivities. In a University building, the first contact for an indoor environmental quality concern is the maintenance organization for that building.

Other concerns not related to building air quality, but which may be perceived as an air quality issue, are noise, transient odors from paint, roof repair, construction, lighting, workstation design, or job stress. These issues need to be addressed between management of the affected department and the department overseeing the cause of the source.

Regulations

The Environmental Protection Agency and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration have not promulgated regulations for indoor air quality. Assessment and resolution of indoor environmental quality issues are based on professional guidelines and industry best practices.

Procedures for Inquiries and Requests for Assistance

University Personnel

Department Management and faculty and staff shall contact building maintenance for initial requests.  
Common contacts are:

  • Athletics (Facilities Office, 335-9410)
  • Business Services/Tenant Properties (Heritage Property Management, 351-8404)
  • Iowa Memorial Union (Operations, 335-3138)
  • University Housing/Residence Services (Facilities and Operations, 335-9970)
  • UIHC (Facility Operations Maintenance & Engineering, 384-5208)
  • UI (Facilities Management Work Control Center, 335-5071)

Physicians and Workers Compensation Providers

Inquiries and requests should be directed to EHS’s IEQ Specialist. EHS or an EHS-recommended consultant may perform testing for a specific contaminant to determine if an employee with an individual sensitivity can work in his or her current location.

Professional Consultants

Inquiries from external consultants should be directed to EHS’s IEQ Specialist.

Procedures for Evaluations and Responses

Building Maintenance (First Level Response)

  • Building maintenance will conduct initial investigations of the building systems related to thermal comfort, moisture, and HVAC systems, and check the general condition of the complaint area. 
  • Incorrectly functioning building equipment must be repaired. If the repair may eliminate the IEQ complaint source, the complaint area will be monitored for improvement before forwarding the issue.  
  • If the issue is not resolved, building maintenance will inform the department and forward results of the investigation to Environmental Services.

Environmental Services (Second Level Response)

  • Environmental Services will conduct an expanded investigation by evaluating basic air quality parameters in the complaint area and looking for common air contaminant sources. 
  • If Environmental Services is unavailable to perform the expanded investigation, the name of an acceptable consultant will be given to the department.
  • In the event the investigation is unable to identify and correct the source of the issue, Environmental Services will contact EHS.

Environmental Health & Safety Office (Third Level Response)

  • The Environmental Health & Safety Office (EHS) will make recommendations on the final disposition of issues not yet resolved in the response process.  
  • If the complaint warrants further investigation, EHS will continue the investigation internally if personnel are available, or recommend a consultant.  In the event that costs are incurred for expendable supplies or analytical laboratory fees, EHS will obtain approval from the affected unit for cost reimbursement.
  • If EHS does not feel the complaint warrants further investigation, the department will be notified of the decision and any appropriate recommendations.

Laboratories Services for Sample Analysis

Analytical laboratories performing analysis will be nationally recognized laboratories with quality control programs. Sample collection conducted by any party will use professionally recommended methods in consultation with the analytical laboratory.

Costs

  • Costs related to an indoor air quality evaluation are generally the responsibility of the department with the affected person(s) or the requester of the services such as a medical provider or workers compensation carrier. 
  • University service units will determine costs on a case-by-case basis, taking into account availability of staff experts, resources, and factors involved in the case.