BREEAM Indoor pollutants VOCs
 Aim and benefits
VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds) are substances that have a high vapour pressure at room temperature. In effect, this means they are released in to the air from materials without having to heat them.
VOCs can be human made, or naturally occuring and not all VOCs are harmful to human health. Most smells/odours are VOCs including smells from plants used to communicate. However, many VOCs are harmful to human health, and while typically not imminently toxic in the concentrations likely come across, there is significant evidence that they have a compound effect over time on human health. Issues can range from experiencing sick building syndrome, to increases in chances of leukemia.
VOC concentrations can be up to 1000 times higher indoors than outdoors (although likely five times higher), and with significant time being spent indoors by a large proportion of the population, this presents a problem. The concentrations of VOCs are frequently higher in new build/refurbishments.
 When to consider
It is important for the success of the credit to ensure early engagement is undertaken by the Design Team. The Assessor should ideally get the architect to complete a specification document confirming that the initially specified finishes (i.e. paints, varnishes, wood panels) meet the BREEAM compliance in line with Table 20.
The second point at which this credit need be considered is when letting packages to sub contractors. The requirements of the credit need to be clearly stated in the sub contractors tender pack and then contract so that they are fully aware of the products that need to be used. There is frequently (although not always) a small cost uplift in using low VOC products.
 Questions to ask while seeking compliance
 Tips and best practice
 Typical evidence
 Applicable Schemes
The guidelines collated in this ISD aim to support sustainable best practice in the topic described. This issue may apply in multiple BREEAM schemes covering different stages in the life of a building, different building types and different year versions. Some content may be generic but scheme nuances should also be taken into account. Refer to the comments below and related articles to this one to understand these nuances. See this document for further guidelines.
- List applicable schemes here
 Related articles on Designing Buildings Wiki
- Air filtration and clean Indoor air quality standards.
- Air quality.
- At a glance - Indoor air quality.
- BREEAM and air quality.
- BREEAM Indoor air quality plan.
- BREEAM Indoor air quality Ventilation.
- Clean indoor air for healthy living - New air filter standards.
- Ensuring good indoor air quality in buildings.
- GREENGUARD Certification.
- Health effects of indoor air quality on children and young people.
- Indoor air quality.
- Indoor environmental quality.
- Volatile Organic Compounds.
Issue support documents
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Issue support documents are written for named BREEAM Issues or sub-issues. More info. (ac) = awaiting content.
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- BREEAM Sustainability champion
- BREEAM Environmental management
- BREEAM Considerate construction
- BREEAM Monitoring of construction site impacts
- BREEAM Aftercare support
- BREEAM Seasonal commissioning
- BREEAM Testing and inspecting building fabric
- BREEAM Life cycle cost and service life planning
- BREEAM Stakeholder consultation (ac)
- BREEAM Commissioning (ac)
- BREEAM Handover (ac)
- BREEAM Inclusive and accessible design (ac)
- BREEAM Post occupancy evaluation
 Health and Wellbeing
- BREEAM Visual comfort Daylighting (partly ac)
- BREEAM Visual comfort View out
- BREEAM Visual comfort Glare control
- BREEAM Indoor air quality plan
- BREEAM Indoor air quality Ventilation
- BREEAM Thermal comfort
- BREEAM Internal and external lighting (ac)
- BREEAM Indoor pollutants VOCs (ac)
- BREEAM Potential for natural ventilation (ac)
- BREEAM Safe containment in laboratories (ac)
- BREEAM Acoustic performance
- BREEAM Safety and security (ac)
- BREEAM Reduction of energy use and carbon emissions
- BREEAM Energy monitoring
- BREEAM External lighting
- BREEAM Low carbon design
- BREEAM Passive design
- BREEAM Free cooling
- BREEAM LZC technologies
- BREEAM Energy efficient cold storage (partly ac)
- BREEAM Energy efficient transportation systems
- BREEAM Energy efficient laboratory systems
- BREEAM Energy efficient equipment (partly ac)
- BREEAM Drying space
- BREEAM Transport assessment and travel plan
- BREEAM Public transport accessibility
- BREEAM Sustainable transport measures
- BREEAM Proximity to amenities
- BREEAM Cyclist facilities
- BREEAM Alternative modes of transport (ac)
- BREEAM Maximum car parking capacity
- BREEAM Travel plan
- BREEAM Home office (ac)
- BREEAM Water consumption
- BREEAM Water efficient equipment
- BREEAM Water monitoring
- BREEAM Water leak detection (ac)
- BREEAM Hard landscaping and boundary protection
- BREEAM Responsible sourcing of materials
- BREEAM Insulation
- BREEAM Designing for durability and resilience
- BREEAM Life cycle impacts
- BREEAM Material efficiency (ac)
- BREEAM Construction waste management
- BREEAM Recycled aggregates
- BREEAM Speculative floor & ceiling finishes
- BREEAM Adaptation to climate change
- BREEAM Operational waste
- BREEAM Functional adaptability (ac)
 Land Use and Ecology
- BREEAM Site Selection
- BREEAM Ecological value of site
- BREEAM Protection of ecological features
- BREEAM Minimising impact on existing site ecology
- BREEAM Enhancing site ecology
- BREEAM Long term impact on biodiversity (ac)
- BREEAM Impact of refrigerants
- BREEAM NOx emissions
- BREEAM Flood risk management (ac)
- BREEAM Surface water run-off (ac)
- BREEAM Reduction of night time light pollution (partly ac)
- BREEAM Reduction of noise pollution
Once an ISD has been initially created the '(ac)' marker can be removed
This particular index is based around the structure of the New Construction and RFO schemes.