BESA survey highlights issues of poor air quality
Published:  08 September, 2016
BESA, IAQ, indoor air quality

Nearly 70% of office workers are concerned that poor indoor air quality could be having a negative effect on their day-to-day productivity and well-being, according to a YouGov survey commissioned by the Building Engineering Services Association (BESA). In addition, a third of office workers are concerned that poor indoor air quality could be having a negative effect on their health.

Opening windows is the most commonly used form of ventilation, with 60% of office workers saying it is the first thing they do if they need ‘fresh air’. However, opening office windows runs the risk of further polluting the working environment by letting in outdoor toxins, the survey found.

Given that people spend 90% of their time indoors and, on average 212 days a year at work, BESA has called on the industry, building managers and the general public to ensure proper, effective, well maintained ventilation system are operating in all offices across the UK.

Among the survey’s findings were the following.

• 68% of office workers experience lapses in concentration on a monthly or more frequent basis.

• 67% of those surveyed reported suffering from fatigue on a monthly or more frequent basis.

• 54% of office workers surveyed experience decreased productivity on a monthly or more frequent basis.

• 41% of people experience watery or irritated eyes when in the office on a monthly or more frequent basis.

Almost 40% of office workers who suffer from at least one of the symptoms listed believes poor ventilation is the main reason for the problems they experience. The BESA survey follows a report published by the Royal College of Physicians earlier this year which revealed that air pollution, both indoor and outdoor, could be linked to at least 40 000 premature deaths a year in the UK.

Paul McLaughlin, BESA chief executive, says, ‘Many people in the UK end up working more than 40 hours per week and, generally, we spend upwards of 90% of our time indoors. It is, therefore,crucial that buildings provide a healthy working environment.

‘More and more people are becoming aware of the inadequate ventilation options in their offices, as well as the negative effect this is having on their health and their productivity.’

BESA is collaborating with a number of industry bodies, including CIBSE and the Institute of Healthcare Engineering & Estate Management, to raise awareness about indoor air quality and produce detailed guidance for contractors, designers and facilities managers.



Welcome to Modern Building Services Online, the web edition of Modern Building Services (MBS) journal and the UK's most popular Building Services engineering site. Modern Building Services covers the entire Building Services Engineering industry. This site contains archived content from the journal, plus web-specific content.

When you go to our digital edition, you can also access the archive of digital editions.


Modern Building services has a group
on Linkedin - join us!


  • Energy and sustainability: Performance and analysis manager

     An exciting opportunity will arise shortly for an exceptional person with extensive experience of managing sustainability within large complex organisations. Can you demonstrate extensive experience of energy management, proven ability to drive program......

more jobs »


"Is the Building Services industry lagging behind in the implementation of BIM?"