Little-Recognized Standards Are a Big Factor in Building Operation

April 3, 2006

Ever considered how many standards exist for the operation of a building? The answer to this question depends on many variables, ranging from how complex the building is to how one defines a standard. Regardless of how many standards exist, there are a few little-recognized standards that are highly relevant to building operation and useful for building owners and managers to know about and understand.

Temperature Variations in Buildings
The purpose of ANSI/ASHRAE Standard 55-2004, Thermal Environmental Conditions for Human Occupancy, developed by the Atlanta-based American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) under the procedures of the New York City-based American National Standards Institute (ANSI), is to specify the combination of indoor thermal environmental factors and personal factors that will produce thermal environmental conditions acceptable to a majority of the occupants within an office space. Some of the environmental factors addressed in this standard are the air temperature surrounding a person, thermal radiation, humidity, air speed, the activity level of a person, and the amount of clothing that a person has on. Based on these factors, the standard offers a range of operating temperatures intended to accommodate 80 percent of a building’s occupants. Not surprisingly, the standard recognizes that it may not be possible to achieve an acceptable thermal environment for all occupants of a building due to individual differences.

Air Quality
The purpose of ANSI/ASHRAE Standard 62.1 - 2004, Ventilation for Acceptable Indoor Air Quality is to specify minimum ventilation rates and indoor air quality that will be acceptable to building occupants and that are intended to minimize the potential for adverse health effects. This standard applies to all indoor or enclosed spaces that people may occupy, except where other applicable standards may dictate larger amounts of ventilation, such as spaces where additional ventilation is required to ensure the safety of workers. Although the standard considers chemical, physical, and biological contaminants that can affect air quality, it does not address thermal comfort requirements, which are included in ASHRAE 55 (mentioned previously). ASHRAE 62.1 covers new construction and existing buildings, and addresses construction and system start-up, as well as operation and maintenance. Visit ( to obtain ASHRAE standards.

Pipe Color Coding
Pipes in newer or newly renovated buildings are color-coded for ease of identification using ASME/A13.1 - 1996, Scheme for the Identification of Piping Systems. This standard was developed by the New York City-based American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME); it’s intended to establish a common system to assist in identification of hazardous materials conveyed in piping systems and to identify any hazards that could be the result of release into the environment. This scheme does not apply to pipes buried in the ground or to electrical conduits.

ASME/A120.1 - 2001 Safety Requirements for Powered Platforms for Building Maintenance establishes safety requirements for powered platforms (scaffolds) for buildings where façade inspection and repair, some window cleaning, and related services are accomplished by means of suspended equipment at heights in excess of 35-feet above a safe surface (such as street or roof levels). It does not apply to other suspended powered platforms used for remedial renovations or modifications to buildings. ASME/A120.1 pertains to either permanently installed or transportable equipment. All ASME standards can be obtained at (

Window Cleaning
ANSI/Intl. Window Cleaning Association I-14 Window Cleaning Safety Standard is the standard governing safety during window cleaning. ANSI/IWCA I-14 requires both the property owner/manager and window-cleaning contractor to exchange written assurances to ensure worker safety and public protection. Generally, property owners/managers are required to provide documentation to their window-cleaning contractor, which assures window cleaners that permanently installed equipment has been inspected and maintained. If window-cleaning contractors use their own transportable equipment, the areas of the building where the equipment is attached must be inspected to verify that they will hold the equipment and loads. A copy of this inspection and/or verification must be given to the window-cleaning contractor prior to the service being performed. I-14 requires window cleaners to be licensed where applicable, adhere to all employment and safety laws, use trained window cleaners, and furnish equipment that is designed, maintained, and inspected pursuant to the standard. ANSI/IWCA I-14 is available from BOMA Intl. by calling (800) 426-6292 or at (

For more information on these and other issues, call BOMA Intl. at (202) 408-2662 or visit (

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