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EPA Building Air Quality Guide-1991

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Page 14 of 227

About This Document 1 1 About This Document BEFORE YOU BEGIN The goal of this guidance document is to help you prevent indoor air quality problems in your building and resolve such problems promptly if they do arise. It recommends practical actions that can be carried out by facility staff, outside contractors, or both. The document will help you to integrate IAQ-related activities into your existing organization and identify which of your staff have the necessary skills to carry out those activities. This is a long document. It would be convenient if all of the ideas it contains could be summed up in a few short recommendations, such as: "check for underventilation" and "isolate pollutant sources." However, such statements would only be helpful to people who are already familiar with indoor air quality concerns. If the owner's manual for your car said to check your pollution control valves every year, but didn't say how to find out whether they were working properly, you would need either a more detailed manual or the money to hire a mechanic. Don't be discouraged by the number of pages in your hands. Once you begin to understand the factors that influence indoor air quality in your building, you can move from section to section, reading what you need to know at the moment and leaving the rest until later. Some Basic Assumptions EPA and NIOSH recognize that many factors influence how an individual owner or manager can put the information in this guide to use. The skills of facility staff and the uses of the building can vary widely, affecting the types of IAQ problems that are likely to arise and the most effective approach to resolving those problems. The assumptions used in preparing this guide include: ■ The expense and effort required to prevent most IAQ problems is much less than the expense and effort required to resolve problems after they develop. ■ Many IAQ problems can be prevented by educating facility management, staff, and occupants about the factors that create such problems. When IAQ problems do arise, they can often be resolved using skills that are available in-house. ■ The basic issues and activities involved in preventing and resolving IAQ prob- lems are similar for buildings of many different designs and uses. ■ If outside assistance is needed to solve an IAQ problem, the best results will be achieved if building owners and manag- ers are informed consumers. How this Guide is Organized This guide is divided into topic areas marked by tabs. Tab I marks introductory material directed toward all users of the document. Tab II is directed to building owners and facility managers who do not have a current IAQ problem and want to prevent such problems from arising. If you currently have an indoor air quality problem, Tab III provides guidance to help resolve that problem. The appendices marked by Tab IV present information that may not be critical to resolving most indoor air quality problems but could be useful reading for additional background

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