VIU Nanaimo Campus Looking West

Building Ventilation

Following the COVID-19 outbreak, VIU engaged a third-party engineering consulting firm to assess the state of VIU building mechanical systems. The assessment considered BC Building Code and WorkSafeBC (ASHRAE 62, Ventilation for Acceptable Indoor Air Quality) requirements as well as recommendations from the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE). The findings have been positive with few identified deficiencies. The deficiencies are being addressed with mechanical system upgrades or with the introduction of room air purifier (RAP) units with HEPA filters. See diagram below.

Good indoor air quality requires ventilation and filtration.

In summary, VIU’s actions to date are the following:

  1. Assessed building mechanical systems to ensure adequate ventilation exists and that they meet BC Building Code for the corresponding occupant load.
  2. Further to meeting BC Code, we are installing MERV-13A-rated filters in all air systems for improved protection.
  3. We are addressing any ventilation deficiencies with mechanical system upgrades or with the introduction of room air purifier (RAP) units with HEPA filters.

Frequently Asked Questions

Adjustments include: increasing the amount of outdoor air being drawn into the building and in a few cases, establishing maximum occupant loads.

Improvements include: installing additional mechanical equipment, replacing existing equipment, or installing Room Air Purifying (RAP) units.

Mechanical systems filtration provides extra protection against pathogens by trapping and collecting large and small particles. The efficiency of the filters is reported using the MERV rating, with the latest recommendation by ASHRAE calling for filters with rating MERV-13 or higher. Currently, MERV-13A filters are being installed on all mechanical systems, which is consistent with the latest industry recommendations in response to COVID-19.

Buildings are run on a networked Building Automation System (BAS) that provides live data feedback to Facilities Services. This feedback informs staff of most situations where systems may not be functioning properly. Facilities staff and building occupants can also inform Facilities of possible issues.

Please notify Facilities with a Service Request. Alternatively, you may call Facilities Reception at 250-740-6500 or email Facilities Services will consider follow-up on Mechanical Systems a high priority, and follow-up to confirm the system is operating properly, or correct the issue if necessary.