Committee for Health-related Evaluation of Building Products

In einem Hausrohbau abgelagerte BaustoffeClick to enlarge
Building products may be a major source of indoor air pollution

Building products may be a major source of indoor air pollution

Source: BG/

Building products may be a major source of indoor air pollution by volatile organic compounds and semivolatile organic compounds (VVOC, VOC and SVOC).

AgBB: Health-related Evaluation of Emissions of Volatile Organic Compounds (VVOC, VOC and SVOC) from Building Products

To establish the fundamentals for a uniform and reproducible health-related evaluation of building products in Germany, the Committee for Health-related Evaluation of Building Products (Ausschuss zur gesundheitlichen Bewertung von Bauprodukten - AgBB) has developed criteria for testing and an evaluation scheme for VOC emissions from building products suitable for indoor usage (2015*). The evaluation scheme sets quality standards relevant to health for future production of building products for use indoors and fosters the development of particularly low-emission products. It is not aimed at subsequent evaluation of products already installed. The procedure for product testing, its background and the evaluation may be found in detail at AgBB evaluation scheme.

LCI (Lowest Concentration of Interest) values are auxiliary parameters used in health-related evaluation of emissions of individual substances from building products. They are updated at intervals of one year or more. To avoid misinterpretation, they are published only as part of the complete text of the AgBB evaluation scheme. Updates are identified by the year of their publication. Currently discussed or agreed changes of LCI values and new substances under consideration are given in the list of prospective LCI value changes to your information before the next update. For substances not yet included in the list of LCI values, it is possible to apply for LCI values to be established by submitting available data to the AgBB (LCI-application form). The same applies to well-founded requests for modification of an existing LCI value.

AgBB Workshops
The AgBB scheme was discussed and improved in Germany in several workshops (in 2001, 2002 and 2004) with all relevant stakeholders. In 2007, a two-day international conference took place in Berlin within the framework of the German EU presidency. Over 100 participants from 16 countries discussed experience with indoor air quality, various emission-based labelling systems and product optimisation strategies, and emphasised the need for European harmonisation as regards emissions from building products.

Since the introduction of the health-related evaluation scheme for VOC emissions from building products the AgBB has intended to assess also the emissions of odours from building products. During the past few years, the methodology for the measurement of odours has been developed, and now also standardized in the ISO 16000-28. This know-how will be tested in a pilot phase in cooperation with the manufacturers to check to what extent the assessment of odours from building products can be made. Before the beginning of this pilot phase, a 1st workshop on sensory testing of building products took place on the 5th of December 2011 at the Deutsche Institut für Bautechnik (DIBt). During this workshop all relevant stakeholders (manufacturers, measurement institutes, regulators, and scientists) discussed about the existing experience in the measurement and evaluation of odours from building products in order to create a common platform for the pilot phase.
The Committee for Health-related Evaluation of Building Products (AgBB)
The AgBB Committee was founded in 1997 by the ‘Working Group on Environment-related Health Protection‘ (Länderarbeitsgruppe "Umweltbezogener Gesundheitsschutz", LAUG) of the Permanent Working Group of the Highest State Health Authorities (Arbeitsgemeinschaft der Obersten Landesgesundheitsbehörden, AOLG) of the Federal States (Länder).

The following authorities are represented in AgBB:
•    Health Institutes of the Federal States (Ländergesundheitsbehörden)
•    Federal Environment Agency (Umweltbundesamt)
•    German Institute for Building Technology (Deutsches Institut für Bautechnik, DIBt)
•    Conference of the State Ministers and Senators for Town Building, Building and Housing Affairs (Konferenz der für Städtebau, Bau- und Wohnungswesen zuständigen Minister und Senatoren der Länder, ARGEBAU)
•    Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing (Bundesanstalt für Materialforschung und -prüfung, BAM)
•    Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (Bundesinstitut für Risikobewertung, BfR)
•    Co-ordinating Committee 03 for Hygiene, Health and the Environment’ of the Building and Civil Engineering Standards Committee within DIN (Koordinierungsausschuss 03 für Hygiene, Gesundheit und Umweltschutz des Normenausschusses Bauwesen im DIN (DIN-KOA 03))
The Federal Environment Agency acts as secretariat for AgBB.
* At its meeting on 20 February 2008, the AgBB decided that when revised versions of the AgBB scheme and updated LCI lists are published, the relevant previous version will continue to apply for one more year. This was done in order to give the manufacturers concerned sufficient time to adapt their products to the new requirements.

AgBB evaluation scheme