Indoor air quality problems of buildings continue to make headlines in Finland. Poor indoor air quality reduces comfort and may even make people ill. VTT is training two kinds of certified professionals to solve such problems: building health experts and indoor air quality experts.
The cause of these problems may be dampness and mold to which as many as 800,000 Finns are estimated to be exposed each year. Often the problems are also ventilation-related, their manifestations including stuffy air, draught, or too high/low temperature. Unpleasant odours are also typical.
Therefore, finding solutions to indoor air quality problems requires comprehensive competence on the factors affecting the condition of buildings and indoor air quality.
Authorities define the competence requirements
The Ministry of Social Affaires and Health's Housing Health Decree, which entered into force in May, officially defined, for example, the competence requirements for such specialists as building health experts and indoor air quality experts. At the same time, regulations on the use of "external experts" in public building and repair projects were issued. In the future, they will be required to have official certification.
The strictest requirements concern the already existing certification of a building health expert. A building health expert examines indoor problems of a building alone or leads a survey project in a larger building. The relevant competences include expertise in building condition and structural matters and in health issues. In addition to an extensive basic training, the requirements include the training of a building health expert, with overall extent of 45 credit points.
The indoor air quality expert's certification is a new degree, and here the focus of expertise is on examining indoor air quality conditions. An indoor air quality expert is capable of assessing the health effects of various damages, errors, and other factors. In addition to the basic training in the sector, the certification requires 18 months of additional studies, amounting to 25 credit points.
VTT certification helps identify reliable professionals
The Ministry of Social Affairs and Health has assigned VTT Expert Services Ltd and official provider of personal certifications in accordance with the Health Protection Act. Therefore, only professionals certified by VTT are entitled to call themselves building health experts and indoor air quality experts.
In addition to sufficient basic training and supplementary training, the degrees require extensive work experience. Certification also requires regular reporting and participation in supplementary training. This is to ensure sufficient maintenance and updating of professional competences.
Experts certified by VTT can be found at www.vtt-todistus.fi
To date, VTT has issued some 130 certifications to building health experts. No indoor air quality expert certifications have been granted yet. However, the first people trained for the task are expected to apply for their certifications in spring.
Building health experts certified by VTT can be found at www.vtt-todistus.fi. Searches for experts can be filtered by different factors, such as area.