NC-2009 IEQc3.1: Construction IAQ Management Plan—During Construction

  • NC CI IEQc3.1 Type3 Construction IAQ Diagram
  • Good IAQ benefits everyone

    Managing indoor air quality (IAQIndoor air quality: The quality and attributes of indoor air affecting the health and comfort building occupants. IAQ encompasses available fresh air, contaminant levels, acoustics and noise levels, lighting quality, and other factors.) systematically during construction is becoming more and more common as contractors gain more experience with LEED. It benefits the health of everyone who works on the site, not just the eventual occupants of the building. 

    Not a one-time thing

    Earning this credit can be fairly easy, but it does require careful coordination and buy-in from all the subcontractors and field personnel involved in the project. It’s important to remember that IAQ management is not a one-time compliance event that can be checked off a list—it must be an ongoing effort for the duration of the construction process.

    The contractor should create the IAQ management plan before construction even begins, and check on compliance at various times throughout the process—including collecting photos for credit documentation.

    HVAC wrappingSMACNA guidelines call for measures like wrapping ductwork to prevent dust from entering it during construction. (The commissioning process is supposed to catch poorly coordinated practices like the meeting of the sprinklers and ductwork here.) Photo – YRG Sustainability

    Know the standard

    LEED requires you follow the SMACNA 2007 guidelines. (See Resources.) Chapter 3 of the guide describes Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) management. The standard was udated in 2008, but is virtually identical to the older version referenced in earlier versions of the LEED rating system. Note that although the SMACNA guidelines say they are for "occupied buildings under construction," these guidelines must be used by all LEED projects attempting this credit—occupied or not.

    The SMACNA document offers not a checklist but guidelines. The guide addresses several sources for construction indoor air pollution and offers best practices to address them. It’s a good idea to incorporate as many of the recommended guidelines as are applicable to your project.

    The following are the major areas covered by SMACNA.

    • HVAC Protection: Make sure that dust and construction debris do not accumulate in HVAC ducts. Strategies include wrapping HVAC ducts in plastic and storing ductwork in dust free areas before installing.
    • Source Control: Address the sources of construction pollution and looking for ways to reduce them. Strategies include using low-VOC materials, paints, coatings, adhesives, sealantsA sealant has adhesive properties and is formulated primarily to fill, seal, or waterproof gaps or joints between 2 surfaces. Sealants include sealant primers and caulks. (SCAQMD Rule 1168. )Sealants are used on wood, fabric, paper, corrugated paperboard, plastic foam and other materials with tiny openings, often microscopic, that may absorb or discharge gas or fluid. (as covered in IEQc4.1–4.4); exhausting gas-fueled construction equipment directly to the outside; and storing VOC-containing materials away from absorptive materials.
    • Pathway Interruption: Use negative pressure and or temporary hanging plastic to contain areas that may generate construction dust, for example, wood-cutting and drywall-cutting areas.
    • Housekeeping: Keep a clean work site by sweeping, wet mopping and using low-VOC cleaners.
    • Scheduling: Coordinate the movement of occupants to minimize their exposure to construction debris; schedule installation of absorptive materials to limit the materials’ exposure to VOCsA volatile organic compounds (VOCs) is a carbon compound that vaporizes (becomes a gas) at normal room temperatures. VOCs contribute to air pollution directly and through atmospheric photochemical reactions (excluding carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, carbonic acid, metallic carbides and carbonates, and ammonium carbonate) to produce secondary air pollutants, principally ozone and peroxyacetyl nitrate. and moisture.

     Poorly covered ductsHVAC components that are poorly protected from dust and construction debris, as in this photo, can cause equpiment malfunctions and poor IAQ during occupancy.

    More than just SMACNA

    In addition to the SMACNA requirements your project will be required to protect absorptive material from moisture. This includes any absorptive materials, like drywall, carpet, and ceiling tiles. Take pictures of this for documentation.

    If HVAC equipment will be used during construction, you will need to install MERVMinimum efficiency reporting value. 8 filters and replace them before the building is occupied.

     

Legend

  • Best Practices
  • Gotcha
  • Action Steps
  • Cost Tip

Construction Documents

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  • This credit relies heavily on SMACNA’s best-practice management guide that addresses construction IAQ management in five areas: HVAC protection, source control, pathway interruption, housekeeping, and scheduling. (See Resources.) Develop the project IAQ plan for use throughout construction. You can use the customizable IAQ plan provided by LEEDuser—see the Documentation Toolkit.


  • Poorly covered HVAC ductsWith all of the SMACNA guidelines, there is a right way to do it—and then there are the other ways, like this poorly covered ductwork. Do it right, and document it with photos. Photo – YRG SustainabilityYour project IAQ plan must address all five areas of the SMACNA guide, protection of absorptive materials, and use of MERV 8 filters (if applicable). Although you’re not required to employ every SMACNA guideline, it's a good idea to implement as many of the guidelines as possible unless you can reasonably justify not doing so. Projects that implement only a few SMACNA guidelines run the risk of having the credit rejected during LEED review. For example, it would be a red flag if your HVAC units arrived from the manufacturer wrapped in plastic, but you didn’t cover open-ended ducts to protect them once they were installed, or didn’t have any photos to back up the claim that ducts arrived wrapped.


  • The owner and design team need to ensure that IAQ guidelines, such as an IAQ plan, HVAC protection, source control, pathway interruption, housekeeping, and scheduling, have been integrated into the construction specifications.    


  • Masterspec offers sample LEED specifications for construction documents. It includes an entire section specific to IAQ management. (See Resources.) The contractor also needs to protect absorptive material from moisture. This is for both installed and stored absorptive materials, like drywall, carpet, and ceiling tiles. You should also take pictures of this for documentation. If HVAC equipment will be used during construction, you will need to install MERV 8 filters and replace them before the building is occupied.

     


  • Construction specifications can include IAQ-related items such as procedures to follow, a sample IAQ plan, and VOC limits on materials related to IEQc4: Low-Emitting Materials, no-smoking policies, the request to use dustless equipment, a request to have ductwork arrive pre-wrapped, and more.


  • Some contractors may charge a premium for implementing and documenting this credit, but in general, added costs should be minor as more firms start incorporating these as standard best practices. 


  • Hiring construction teams with LEED experience is helpful, as is reviewing LEED requirements and responsibilities with the contractor during the bidding process.


  • Accountability is key to successfully implementing an IAQ plan. Ensure that subcontractors are required implement their parts of the IAQ plan, and to get specific processes and materials approved. 

Construction

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  • Preparation Before Construction Begins


  • The general contractor (GC) should go over all LEED-specific issues—including IAQ management, the role of low-emitting materials, environmental materials tracking tools, construction waste management, and more—at an orientation meeting.


  • It’s a good idea for the GC to meet with subcontractors to reinforce the LEED responsibilities related specifically to their trades. This exercise helps to build trust and is crucial for obtaining buy-in from all participants in the process.


  • Enabling coordination and communication among the GC, subcontractors, and the design team early in the process can minimize scheduling delays and pushback from subcontractors.


  • The GC distributes the Indoor Air Quality plan outlining procedures and best practices to be distributed to subcontractors prior to the construction phase. The plan should clearly identify who is responsible for implementing each component of the plan—for example, “Wrapping installed open-ended HVAC ductwork is the responsibility of the mechanical contractor,” and “Quality control is the responsibility of the general contractor.” 


  • Develop a checklist for weekly activities that lists SMACNA guidelines, protection of absorptive material, and use of MERV 8 filters along with related to-do items, such as taking photographs to document the IAQ strategies. It’s a convenient way to stay on top of required tasks, and the checklist can be used at weekly meetings and posted around the site. See the Documentation Toolkit for a sample checklist.


  • During Construction


  • The contractor and subs should ensure that SMACNA practices are being followed. Each of the five major SMACNA areas is addressed in detail below.  


  • Decide whether HVAC units will be used during construction. If so, ensure that MERV 8 filters have been purchased and are used throughout the site. Remember that any filters used during construction must be replaced prior to occupancy.


  • Post copies of the IAQ plan in various places around the construction site to ensure that the plan is being followed. Hang signs that remind subcontractors to follow IAQ practices such as covering exposed ductwork with plastic, wet mopping regularly, and using low-VOC products and other SMACNA practices. See the Documentation Toolkit for sample signage.


  • Assign an IAQ manager to assist the GC. This person can run spot-checks for SMACNA and other best-practice compliance.  


  • HVAC Protection


  • Follow SMACNA strategies for HVAC protection that are appropriate to your project. These include items such as the following:

    • Wrapped, stored ductworkThis ductwork was ordered wrapped, and was stored away from construction work until installation. Photo – YRG Sustainabilitywrapping ductwork and or ventilation equipment in plastic once it arrives on site;
    • ordering ductwork pre-wrapped in plastic before it is delivered to the site;
    • placing ductwork or ventilation equipment in a room away from construction work to protect it from dust until it is installed and covered;
    • covering exposed grilles with plastic once ductwork is installed;
    • and laying plastic over underfloor air systems to keep out construction debris.

  • Ordering ductwork pre-wrapped in plastic or having open grilles sealed once installed may add slightly to costs, but pre-wrapped ductwork, for example, makes HVAC protection easy to achieve.


  • Source Control


  • Follow SMACNA strategies for source control that are appropriate to your project. These include items such as the following.

    • For construction materials storage, do not use VOC controlThis project used low-emitting paints, sealants, and adhesives, and stored them in a closet to protect air quality. Photo – YRG Sustainabilitymechanical rooms or air-mixing rooms as many products give off gases that can be absorbed by other materials or could be distributed to other areas through the ventilation system.
    • Use only low-emitting adhesives; sealants; paints, coatings; flooring products; composite woods; and furniture, wall, and ceiling systems. 
    • When cleaning the construction space, use low-VOC cleaners.
    • Combustion-based construction equipment used in the interior of a building should be exhausted directly to the outside. Long-snake exhaust pipes can be attached to this type of equipment for easy exhausting out of windows.
    • When combustion-based, stand-alone heating units are used for supplemental heating during construction, it may be best to keep the heating units outdoors to exhaust and pump the heat to the indoors.

  • Using low-emitting materials helps projects gain the Low-Emitting Materials series of credits—IEQc4.1: Adhesive and Sealants, IEQc4.2: Paints and Coatings, IEQc4.3: Flooring Systems, and IEQc4.4: Composite Wood and Agrifiber Products.


  • Using low-VOC construction materials and cleaning products helps to pass the air-quality test for IEQc3.2: Construction IAQ Management Plan Before Occupancy


  • Using low-VOC products—adhesives, sealants, paints, coatings, flooring systems, and composite wood—should add little to no extra cost. 


  • It is a good idea for the GC to set up a supervisory mechanism, such as designating an IAQ manager to run quality control checks and to ensure that the proper products and procedures are being used. 


  • The IAQ management plan should specifically state who is responsible for ensuring that low-VOC materials are used onsite, and the GC should verify that the products and procedures being used by each subcontractor are in compliance.


  • Pathway Interruption


  • Follow SMACNA strategies for pathway interruption that are appropriate to your project. These include items such as the following:

    • Elevator shaftsThe base-building elevator shafts were sealed on this project to prevent movement of dust. Photo – YRG SustainabilityTemporary barriers and self-contained dustless apparatus, such as concrete grinders and drywall sanders, can be helpful to isolate and protect finished construction areas from areas that are still under construction. Isolate construction dust produced by activities like cutting drywall or wood. 
    • Separate construction zones from occupied zones.

  • Contain construction air pollution by exhausting air to create negative pressure in construction areas. 


  • Plastic barriers are the most inexpensive, but drywall or cloth partitions can be used as well.


  • Housekeeping


  • Follow SMACNA strategies for housekeeping that are appropriate to your project. These include items such as the following:

    • Wet moppingWet mopping on a daily basis during construction keeps down dust. Photo – YRG SustainabilityWet mopping helps keep construction dust particles from becoming airborne.
    • Frequent sweeping helps control construction dust and keeps construction materials free of debris.

  • Housekeeping is a no- to low-cost measure and is simple to implement.  


  • These practices may be slightly time-consuming, but will help to create a healthier working environment for all the construction workers onsite on a daily basis. Communicating this point frequently to everyone on the site can help to build compliance. 


  • Scheduling


  • Carefully schedule construction and any necessary occupant moves in a manner that reduces occupant exposure to construction pollution. 


  • Carefully examine the sequencing of material installation before construction begins.  Schedule installation to protect absorptive materials from construction pollution. For example, do not store or install acoustic ceiling tiles before painting occurs or flooring products are installed because the ceiling tiles will absorb the off-gassing paint or floor adhesives and will contaminate the air over a longer time period. This could also compromise the project’s ability to attain IEQc3.2: Construction IAQ Management Plan—Before Occupancy. 


  • Scheduling is a no-cost measure but needs to be coordinated before construction begins.


  • Wrap-Up and Documentation


  • Take photos throughout the construction process to demonstrate that your IAQ plan has been followed. There is no specific number of photos required, but they must be taken at two or more different stages of the project. For reference, prior to 2009 this credit required at least 16 photos—see the Documentation Toolkit for examples.


  • All five SMACNA control measures have to be documented in a photo log. It is easy to take pictures of covered ducts, but don’t forget to also take photos of more process-oriented strategies such as housekeeping and pathway interruption. The pictures should clearly show all the control measures adopted during construction. Photos should be submitted with a brief description, the time and date, and an indication of what SMACNA practice is demonstrated. 


  • MERV 8 filtersThese MERV 8 filters were installed prior to initial system start-up, and replaced prior to occupancy. Photo – YRG SustainabilityIf the building’s air handlers are used, replace all filters (MERV 8) required during construction with new filters—after construction and before occupants move into the space.


  • Replace construction filters with MERV 13 filters if the project is also attempting to earn credit for IEQc5: Indoor Environmental Pollutant Source Control.


  • It is usually a good idea to do a “mini air flush” (if your project is not attempting IEQc3.2) before occupancy to help remove any lingering VOCs from the construction process. This can be as simple as putting industrial sized fans in the window and pumping in fresh air overnight or running the HVAC exhaust on high for a few days. (See IEQc3.2: Construction Indoor Air Quality Plan—Before Occupancy if the team wants to do a full flush-out for an additional LEED point.)


  • Fill out the LEED Online form and upload the IAQ plan, photos with SMACNA descriptions, and cut sheets of MERV filters used onsite during construction, if air handlers were used.


  • Alternatives to installing MERV 8 filters include not using the building HVAC units, bringing in a stand-alone temporary system, or using natural ventilation.

Operations & Maintenance

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  • O&M staff can use the IAQ plan for future renovations.

  • USGBC

    Excerpted from LEED 2009 for New Construction and Major Renovations

    IEQ Credit 3.1: Construction IAQ management plan - during construction

    1 Point

    Intent

    To reduce indoor air quality (IAQIndoor air quality: The quality and attributes of indoor air affecting the health and comfort building occupants. IAQ encompasses available fresh air, contaminant levels, acoustics and noise levels, lighting quality, and other factors.) problems resulting from construction or renovation and promote the comfort and well-being of construction workers and building occupants.

    Requirements

    Develop and implement an IAQIndoor air quality: The quality and attributes of indoor air affecting the health and comfort building occupants. IAQ encompasses available fresh air, contaminant levels, acoustics and noise levels, lighting quality, and other factors. management plan for the construction and preoccupancy phases of the building as follows:

    • During construction, meet or exceed the recommended control measures of the Sheet Metal and Air Conditioning National Contractors Association (SMACNA) IAQ Guidelines For Occupied Buildings Under Construction, 2nd Edition 2007, ANSI/ SMACNA 008-2008 (Chapter 3).
    • Protect stored on-site and installed absorptive materials from moisture damage.
    • If permanently installed air handlers are used during construction, filtration media must be used at each return air grille that meets one of the following criteria below. Replace all filtration media immediately prior to occupancy.
      • Filtration media with a minimum efficiency reporting value (MERVMinimum efficiency reporting value.) of 8 as determined by ASHRAE Standard 52.2-1999 (with errata but without addenda1)
      • Filtration media is Class F5 or higher, as defined by CEN Standard EN 779-2002, Particulate air filters for general ventilation, Determination of the filtration performance
      • Filtration media with a minimum dust spot efficiency of 30% or higher and greater than

        90% arrestance on a particle size of 3–10 µg

    Potential Technologies & Strategies

     Adopt an IAQIndoor air quality: The quality and attributes of indoor air affecting the health and comfort building occupants. IAQ encompasses available fresh air, contaminant levels, acoustics and noise levels, lighting quality, and other factors. management plan to protect the heating, ventilating and air conditioning (HVAC) system during construction, control pollutant sources and interrupt contamination pathways. Sequence the installation of materials to avoid contamination of absorptive materials, such as insulation, carpeting, ceiling tile and gypsum wallboard. Coordinate with IEQ Credit 3.2: Construction IAQ Management PlanA construction IAQ management plan outlines measures to minimize contamination in a specific project building during construction and describes procedures to flush the building of contaminants prior to occupancy. — Before Occupancy and IEQ Credit 5: Indoor Chemical & Pollutant Source Control to determine the appropriate specifications and schedules for filtration media.

    If possible, avoid using permanently installed air handlers for temporary heating/cooling during construction. Consult the LEED Reference Guide for Green Building Design and Construction, 2009 Edition for more detailed information on how to ensure the well-being of construction workers and building occupants if permanently installed air handlers must be used during construction.

Technical Guides

IEQ Space Matrix - 2nd Edition

This updated version of the spreadsheet categories dozens of specific space types according to how they should be applied under various IEQ credits. This document is essential if you have questions about how various unique space types should be treated. Up to date, 2nd Edition.


U.S. EPA Controlling Pollutants and Sources

The EPA website provides information regarding typical sources of indoor and outdoor pollutants and methods for resolving indoor air quality concerns. Find detailed information on exhaust or spot ventilation practices during construction.


IEQ Space Matrix - 1st Ed.

This spreadsheet categories dozens of specific space types according to how they should be applied under various IEQ credits. This document is essential if you have questions about how various unique space types should be treated.  This is the 1st edition.

Publications

California Air Resources Board Indoor Air Pollution Report, July 2005

This report, released in July 2005, covers the significant health effects caused by indoor air pollution, including respiratory illness and disease, asthma attacks, cancer, and premature death. The report describes the health effects, sources, and concentrations of indoor air pollutants; existing regulations, guidelines, and practices for indoor air pollution; and ways to prevent and reduce indoor air pollution.


The State of Washington Program and IAQ Standards

This standard was the first state-initiated program to ensure the design of buildings with acceptable IAQIndoor air quality: The quality and attributes of indoor air affecting the health and comfort building occupants. IAQ encompasses available fresh air, contaminant levels, acoustics and noise levels, lighting quality, and other factors..


Indoor Air Quality: A Facility Manager’s Guide, published by the Construction Technology Centre Atlantic

A comprehensive review of indoor air quality issues and solutions.

Organizations

Sheet Metal and Air Conditioning Contractors’ National Association, Inc. (SMACNA)

SMACNA is an international organization that developed guidelines for maintaining healthful indoor air quality during demolitions, renovations, and construction. The professional trade association publishes the referenced standard as well as Indoor Air Quality: A Systems Approach, a comprehensive document that covers air pollutant sources, control measures, IAQIndoor air quality: The quality and attributes of indoor air affecting the health and comfort building occupants. IAQ encompasses available fresh air, contaminant levels, acoustics and noise levels, lighting quality, and other factors. process management, quality control and documentation, interpersonal communication , sample projects, tables, references, resources, and checklists.


Masterspec

Masterspec offers guidance on how to write LEED specifications into construction documents. It includes an entire section specific to IAQIndoor air quality: The quality and attributes of indoor air affecting the health and comfort building occupants. IAQ encompasses available fresh air, contaminant levels, acoustics and noise levels, lighting quality, and other factors. management.

Construction IAQ Management Plan

The Indoor Air Quality Management Plan outlines procedures and best practices covering all five areas of SMACNA guidelines. Shown here is a template formatted with the sections the IAQIndoor air quality: The quality and attributes of indoor air affecting the health and comfort building occupants. IAQ encompasses available fresh air, contaminant levels, acoustics and noise levels, lighting quality, and other factors. plan should cover and giving guidance on how to customize the template to develop your own IAQ plan. Also shown here is a sample IAQ plan from a Harvard University project.

Weekly IAQ Checklist

A checklist like this can be used at regular meetings between the GC and subcontractors to ensure that IAQIndoor air quality: The quality and attributes of indoor air affecting the health and comfort building occupants. IAQ encompasses available fresh air, contaminant levels, acoustics and noise levels, lighting quality, and other factors. management plan measures are being followed.

IAQ Photo Documentation

All five SMACNA control measures have to be documented in a photo log. It is easy to take pictures of covered ducts, but don’t forget to also take photos of more process-oriented strategies such as housekeeping and pathway interruption. The pictures should clearly show all the control measures adopted during construction. Photos should be submitted with a brief description, the time and date, and an indication of what SMACNA practice is demonstrated.

Jobsite Signage

Use jobsite signage like this sample to remind contractors of SMACNA requirements for this credit.

LEED Online Forms: NC-2009 IEQ

The following links take you to the public, informational versions of the dynamic LEED Online forms for each NC-2009 IEQ credit. You'll need to fill out the live versions of these forms on LEED Online for each credit you hope to earn.

Version 4 forms (newest):

Version 3 forms:

These links are posted by LEEDuser with USGBC's permission. USGBC has certain usage restrictions for these forms; for more information, visit LEED Online and click "Sample Forms Download."

Construction Submittal

HardhatDocumentation for this credit is part of the Construction Phase submittal.

10 Comments

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Megan White Sustainability Manager Webcor Builders
Nov 12 2013
LEEDuser Member

Are MERV equivalent filters for international projects accepted?

Hello - I'm working on a project in Japan, and the MERVMinimum efficiency reporting value. rating system is not used here. They have filters that can perform equivalent to MERV 8 and MERV 13 filters, but they don't have the official MERV rating. Have you seen any projects use the approach of MERV equivalence as an approach for projects in Japan or in other international areas?

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Tristan Roberts LEED AP BD+C, Editorial Director – LEEDuser, BuildingGreen, Inc. Nov 12 2013 LEEDuser Moderator

Megan, check out the credit language above. It was updated by USGBC a little while back to account for filtration standards used outside the U.S. You might find it helpful.

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Maggie Pipek
Sep 04 2013
Guest

HVAC Equipment Installation prior to Roof

The contractor would like to install the HVAC equipment although the roof is not on the building yet. It would seem to me that as long as the contractor protects the equipment from moisture and contaminents this should still be in compliance with LEED requirements. They are not planing on using the equipment. Is there anything I am missing or should warn the contractor about?

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Allison Beer McKenzie Architect, Director of Sustainability, SHP Leading Design Sep 05 2013 LEEDuser Expert

As long as the equipment is well protected, I can't think of any reason why this strategy would not be ok.

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Benj Herrera LEED AP BD+C
Jul 24 2013
Guest

date of occupancy on the LEED Online Template

Just want to inquire what is an OCCUPANCY DATE in the LEED on line
template? Is it the date the Owner received the Certificate of Occupancy
from governing authority to permit them to occupy and use the building? Or
is it the date after the flush out and the turnover of the building to the Owner and started to move in with the furnitures and fixtures being mobilized to the building? Please advise.

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Susan Walter Sr Project Architect, Wilmot/Sanz Jul 25 2013 LEEDuser Expert

We use the first day that the owner physically occupied and used the space. It isn't unusual for our projects require a lot of time to install equipment after the C of O is issued.

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Benj Herrera LEED AP BD+C Jul 25 2013 Guest

Thanks Susan. Does it mean that the occupancy date should be the day when the Owner received the C of O and the first day they legally occupied
and used the space?

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Susan Walter Sr Project Architect, Wilmot/Sanz Jul 25 2013 LEEDuser Expert

To me it is the day that staff show up, roll up their sleeves and get to work.

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Benj Herrera LEED AP BD+C Jul 25 2013 Guest

So it is the first day of work and open for business to the public. right? thanks Susan

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Heather Holdridge Sustainability Coordinator Lake/Flato Architects
Jul 10 2013
LEEDuser Member

Moisture absorption narrative

Would anyone be willing to share the narrative they wrote for the description of methods by which absorptive materials were protected from moisture damage? The contractors I'm working with are having a hard time developing this so it would be helpful to have an example to share. Thanks!

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Feb 13 2016
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