Air quality

Clean and safe air in and around your buildings.

The quality of air in both indoor and outdoor environments is critical to the health, comfort and well-being of building users. BRE provides a wide range of air quality testing and advisory services to ensure that the air in and around your buildings is of optimum quality and meets regulatory and environmental requirements.
Our services include:

Monitoring air quality

  • Measuring air pollutants, including gases, particles and volatile organic compounds (VOCs), to demonstrate compliance with health-related and environmental standards and certification schemes (e.g. WELL, BREEAM), and develop solutions to air quality problems.

Improving indoor air quality

  • Identifying and quantifying pollutants, their sources, health risks and the action required.
  • Dealing with odour, damp, ventilation, radon and other air quality problems.

Minimising outdoor air pollution impacts

  • Advising on the design and operation of buildings and ventilation systems to minimise the impact of outdoor pollution on indoor air quality, eg by effectively locating ventilation inlets.
  • Dispersing and mitigating pollutants from process emissions.
  • Determining effective stack heights, monitoring air pollutants, and controlling dust from construction and demolition sites.

Investigating materials emissions

  • Identifying, measuring and minimising emissions from building components, materials, paints, office equipment, furnishings, combustion appliances and consumer products – measurements are carried out to ISO Standard 16000-10 to show compliance with relevant legislation.

Measuring ventilation

  • Quantifying building ventilation rates for to compare them with standards and requirements for health.
  • Measuring inter-zonal airflows, for example to prevent the spread of infections.

Testing to meet your particular needs

  • Bespoke testing in controlled test chambers/rooms, actual environments (e.g. aircraft cabins and test vehicles) or in mock-ups of indoor environments.

For more information

Call us on 0333 321 88 11 if you would like to know more about our air quality services or would like to discuss a specific air quality issue – or email

Training courses

Example project – investigating a school’s indoor air quality

Following complaints from staff concerning a new build school, BRE was commissioned to evaluate the environmental conditions in the school. We carried out comprehensive four week programme of surveys, inspections, monitoring and testing to investigate the factors that may have led to ill health among building occupants, assess occupant comfort, and establish whether the school building complied with Building Regulations and contractual and statutory air quality requirements.
The programme included:

  • Thermal comfort assessment (temperature and relative humidity).
  • Inspection of heating and air handling systems (including controls).
  • Air quality monitoring (CO, CO2, particulate matter, SO2, NO2, VOCs, formaldehyde).
  • Airtightness and air change rate measurements.
  • Lighting assessment (daylight; electric lighting; glare; task-based lighting).
  • Background noise assessment.


The findings were presented in a full technical report, and later in person to senior educational officers at the local authority. The main findings and recommended remedial actions were also presented in layman’s terms to school staff and to maintenance staff working for the school’s contracted facilities management organisation. This included guidance on use of features such as trickle vents and HVAC controls.

BRE was later commissioned to undertake follow-up monitoring to verify that remedial actions had been effective.