How to Specify Air Duct Cleaning Work to Ensure the Right Outcome

For most facility managers, setting up a robust and appropriate tender specification for a specialist service such as air duct cleaning or maintenance of a ventilation hygiene system from scratch would be a considerable challenge.

Fortunately, the Building Services Research and Information Association (BSRIA) has written a Standard Specification of Ventilation Hygiene, which is intended to provide the basis for a ventilation hygiene contract between a Client and a Contractor. This document walks the facility manager through the various areas that need to be considered in specifying how the work is to be undertaken, and provides an excellent starting point to producing a tender document or contract of work.

The BSRIA standard specification covers the following sections;

SCOPE This is relatively self-explanatory, and sets out such details as definition of terms and the requirement to adhere to appropriate standards.

MANAGEMENT OF VENTILATION HYGIENE This section includes ensuring there is absolute clarity between the client and contractor as to what modifications may be needed to the air ducts in order to undertake the cleaning work, especially with regard to access doors, and also to explicitly make it a contractor responsibility to make good and clear up afterwards.

INSPECTION, SAMPLING AND TESTING This section covers any requirement to take samples from the inside of the ventilation system, and to be clear about how any biological testing is to be carried out.

LEVEL OF CLEANLINESS In this section the client would define shall define the level of cleanliness required, and how this is to be measured as well as any requirement for disinfection.

CLEANING METHODS This is the section where the client states the need for the contractor to provide a method statement, and justification for any variations envisaged to their standard method. The section also lays out some standard best-practice requirements.

HIGH RISK EXTRACTION SYSTEMS Where there may be any known hazardous substances or materials used within the ventilation process, then this section is available to detail the cleaning approach and precautions necessary for dealing with these particular hazards.

DISINFECTION Where disinfection is required, this section contains best practice requirements such as ensuring manufacturers guidelines are followed, COSHH information is made available, and that there is no adverse impact to the occupants of a building.

ELIMINATION OF ODOURS This section covers the requirement to conduct a proper inspection for sources of odour and to ensure that the contractor is responsible for removing any sources in an appropriate manner.

CLEANING AFTER FIRE AND SMOKE DAMAGE This section is purely for the eventuality that there is smoke or fire damage to the ventilation duct system.

HAZARDOUS MATERIALS This section sets out the process to be followed if unexpected hazardous materials were to be found within the internal air ducts.

WASTE DISPOSAL Ensures that the Contractor declares that they are licenced to remove waste, and has an audit process in place to monitor this activity.

FAULT REPORTING This section sets out the procedure in the event a fault with the system being identified.

POST-CLEANING REPORT This section specifies not only that a certificate of cleaning is required at the end of the job, but also what interim reporting is required, e.g. after particular stages. If new access doors are necessary, then the location of these will have to be captured on the client’s plan for future reference.

SYSTEM BALANCE AND REBALANCING AFTER CLEANING Finally, this section is where the client can make it a clear responsibility of the service provider to reset any system controls (e.g. volume control dampers) to the original settings.

All in all, the BSRIA Standard Specification of Ventilation Hygiene is a very useful framework for facility managers to create tender documents for ventilation cleaning in a tried and tested format.

Iain Jones is working for Pro-Duct Clean Ltd who specialise in air duct cleaning services to a range of industrial clients throughout the UK.

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One Comment

  1. I am unable to read articles online very often, but I’m glad I did today. This is very well written and your points are well-expressed. Please, don’t ever stop writing. ria-air

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