Last edited 17 Jan 2018

BREEAM Indoor air quality plan


[edit] Aim and benefits

To recognise and encourage a healthy internal environment through the specification and installation of appropriate ventilation, equipment and finishes.

Poor indoor air quality is linked to health deterioration and therefore this issue seeks to minimise sources of pollution and optimise indoor air quality. There are many pollutants present inside our buildings and the materials we use to construct them. Of particular concern are volatile organic compounds (VOC) emissions and formaldehyde as these are known to cause cancer in animals. Indoor Air Quality Plans (IAQP) should therefore be produced to manage the contaminants within new buildings and will contain advice on the levels of contaminants that are acceptable, measures for specifying materials with low emission levels, detail procedures for flushing out buildings and advise on pre-completion testing to ensure acceptable levels have been met.

The IAQP should cover:
• Removal of contaminant sources;
• Dilution and control of contaminants during construction;
• Detail procedure for pre-occupancy flush out;
Specification for third party independent testing.

By specifying materials in accordance with the plan and flushing out the pollutants from the construction process sufficiently prior to building occupation, we can provide healthier work and living spaces reducing the potential for indoor air pollution and supporting the physical health of building occupants.

[edit] When to consider

Fully fitted buildings As early as possible. The objectives of the Plan are meant to be used in the Ventilation strategy. So it’s best to do prior to RIBA stage 2 to feed into HVAC design and complete prior to Detailed Design Stage (RIBA Stage 3 freeze) so that architects can implement into their specifications.

Shell and Core and Simple Buildings Projects – N/A

[edit] Step by step guidance

Pre-assessment -

  • ensure a specialist is being appointed to produce the plan. A sustainability consultant/mechanical engineer/architect may have knowledge to produce the report, otherwise external consultants can be sourced.
  • Ensure the specialist is aware of the BREEAM criteria and all the 5 headings in the guidance are considered as a minimum.
  • Ensure the client is aware of the third party testing and allows for appointments if they are willing to proceed with the recommendations and wish to target the additional credit for Post Construction Emission Levels.

Design Stage -

A copy of Indoor Air Quality Plan to be submitted as an evidence document

The Indoor Air quality Plan should be provided to the architect as typically it will list the standards that the finishes (usually specified by the architect) should comply with

[edit] Questions to ask while seeking compliance

Who is writing the indoor air quality plan?

[edit] Tools and resources

Guidance Note regarding Indoor Air Quality Plan [Please note: This is available to licensed assessors only]

BRE Knowledge Base related articles

Template Indoor Air Quality Plan

[edit] Tips and best practice


  • Make sure it is someone’s responsibility to actually write this report.
  • This is a relatively low cost credit if you are struggling to find credits to boost you up to the next rating which aren’t already in the design.
  • Ensure that main contractor implements a policy of requesting the relevant certification for products (paints, varnishes finishes) during procurement.

Best Practice

  • If you wanted to go above and beyond BREEAM requirements, you could suggest making it mandatory for contractors to hand a copy of this guide (or an amended guide relating to maintaining air quality in use) to the occupants.

[edit] Typical evidence

Compliant Indoor Air Quality Plan - Typically you will receive a written report as an “Indoor Air Quality Plan”, however any form of evidence which complies with the BREEAM evidence principals would be acceptable for this purpose.

It may be helpful to provide clients with a template report, which contains each of the headings required. An example of this can be found in Tools and Resources.

This document was originally created on 10/01/18 in a collaboration of the following BREEAM Professionals: Jane Morning, Cat Clarkson, Azita Dezfouli, Rebecca Day, Joe Hodgkinson and Tom Abbott

BRE Global does not endorse any of the content posted and use of the content will not guarantee the meeting of certification criteria.