Many businesses having renovation work done in their building don’t have the luxury of moving staff to another building or to temporary accommodation. And people are becoming increasingly concerned about airborne pollution. So the building operator often instructs the contractor to keep dust to a minimum. But how can contractors control dust during building operations?
The problems start when materials such as concrete have to be cut, cored or chopped. Sheetrock is another material that causes raised dust levels, as does the sanding of various surfaces. And to make matters worse, the Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning (HVAC) system can conduct dust to other parts of the building.
Good Working Methods Can Cut Dust
Good working practices can help to mitigate the dust problem to some degree. For example, when working with concrete, wet sawing or coring of the material can greatly reduce the dust generated. However, the Health and Safety Executive points out that as soon as the water evaporates the dust problem returns.
Another approach is to fit vacuum attachments to grinders and other tools and incorporate high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filters into the vacuums. The filters should trap the dust. The normal HVAC system needs to be closed off during the work so that dust isn’t spread around the building. However, a steel spiral duct, such as a Dust Spares steel spiral duct, can be used in combination with a HEPA filter to convey dust away from the working area and vent it outside.
Steel spiral duct work is less noisy than rectangular ducting and is airtight, so dust can’t leak out of the system.
The HEPA filter can also be attached to a piece of equipment called an “air scrubber”. These can change the air in a room several times an hour, which may also benefit the construction workers. There are some low-tech methods of confining dust too, such as “sticky” mats.
Finally, if there is continuing concern about dust levels, an aerosol dust monitor can be a cost-effective way to measure the true level of dust in the atmosphere. These are also useful for monitoring how effective dust control measures are and whether the particulate levels are dropping. They come in hand-held or desktop versions and are an inexpensive way to collect data on air quality as work progresses.