NEWS

Parliament Q&A

Written reply by Masagos Zulkifli, Minister for the Environment and Water Resources, to Parliamentary Question on Indoor Air Quality on 2 September 2019

Question by Ms Rahayu Mahzam: To ask the Minister for the Environment and Water Resources (a) whether there are systems in place to assess indoor air quality standards in public places and work places; (b) whether there are measures to enforce certain standards of indoor air quality in public places and work places; and (c) what measures are in place to ensure that materials used in building construction are safe and do not contribute to indoor air pollution.

Answer by Minister:
1      There are measures in place to manage the indoor air quality (IAQ) in buildings. Under the Building Control Act and Regulations, building designs are required to comply with the performance requirements for fresh air intake and ventilation rate as specified in the Singapore Standard Code of Practice for Air-conditioning and Mechanical Ventilation in Buildings (SS 553). Building developers are encouraged to use green building materials, such as low emissions building products certified by the Singapore Green Building Council or Singapore Environmental Council. Indoor environmental quality and the use of green building materials are an integral part of the assessment of a building’s environmental performance, to be certified under the Building and Construction Authority’s (BCA) Green Mark schemes.

2      Building owners and facility managers should also take guidance from the Singapore Standard Code of Practice for Indoor Air Quality for Air-Conditioned Buildings (SS 554), which specifies good practices in managing IAQ as well as the standards and limits of IAQ parameters. Supplementing the SS 554 are the Workplace Safety and Health Guidelines on Management of Indoor Air Quality in Air-Conditioned Workplaces published by the Workplace Safety and Health Council, which provides guidance to building owners and facility managers on the implementation of IAQ management programmes in workplaces.

3      The National Environment Agency (NEA) conducts IAQ surveys in public places and monitors public feedback on IAQ. The surveys show that most of the causes of poor IAQ are linked to factors such as the use of furnishings or products with high volatile organic chemicals, and inadequate design and maintenance of the building air ventilation system. Hence, NEA has been working closely with relevant agencies to conduct educational sessions on IAQ for building owners and facility managers, to highlight the importance of building ventilation maintenance and raise awareness on choosing low-emissions furnishings or products to maintain good IAQ. NEA also assists building owners and facility managers in identifying the sources or causes of indoor air pollution in their premises, and providing advice on measures to improve IAQ.

4      Building owners, facility managers and occupants all have a role in maintaining good IAQ. Occupants can provide feedback on IAQ to building owners and facility managers to take mitigation measures. Building owners and facility managers should adopt best practices to ensure the buildings are clean and well-ventilated.


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