To provide a consistent approach when dealing with renovations in the City of Toronto and to mitigate health and safety concerns associated with this work through enhanced communication, selection of products and recommended work practices.
Renovation projects can introduce a number of contaminants into the work environment, which have the potential to impact indoor air quality (IAQ). These contaminants may be released in to the environment through activities involving demolition, construction , installation of new building materials and/or, reconfiguration of existing building materials and workstations and include but are not limited to dust, volatile organic compounds (VOCs), biological contaminants (e.g. mould, fungus) and designated substances.
The following information and recommendations are provided to assist in maintaining acceptable indoor air quality in buildings where renovation work will be conducted. Proactive measures, including the use of these guidelines, can successfully eliminate or control contaminant levels, alleviate concerns, and maintain occupant comfort both during and after renovation activities. It is the intent of this document to increase awareness about the health and safety aspects of renovations and to encourage the use of best practice guidelines as a means of addressing concerns.
Any project, work or activity that has the potential to release or introduce contaminants into the work environment, either through demolition or construction of building structures, the installation of new building materials or the reconfiguration of existing building materials and workstations.
This communication strategy should involve dissemination of information between the division initiating and scheduling the renovation project, building occupants, Facilities Operations, occupational health and safety consultants, joint health and safety committees and the Occupational Health, Safety and Worker’s Compensation unit, if needed.
City personnel responsible for scheduling of the work (e.g. project managers) should determine which occupants are likely to be impacted by a renovation project and notify management of the impacted area of the work prior to its commencement. Information provided to management of the impacted areas should include the following:
For longer projects, periodic updates should also be given. Management of impacted areas should share this information with their employees and joint health and safety committees that represent these employees.
In addition to the project notification, those City personnel responsible for scheduling of the work should provide information on potential contaminants that can be introduced into the environment during renovation work and the control strategies that will be used throughout the project to prevent or at a minimum mitigate release. It is also important that a strategy be in place to facilitate a timely response to indoor air quality concerns.
Unless already available, city personnel responsible for overseeing the renovation work will ensure that a Hazardous Materials Assessment for the area is completed prior to the start of the renovation project. The purpose of the assessment is to determine if a designated substance is present and likely to be disturbed as part of the work. If a designated substance is present and likely to be disturbed as part of the renovation work, there are specific requirements in accordance with the Designated Substances Regulation that must be followed, including but not limited to:
Refer to the Designated Substances Regulation for details.
Individuals who are involved with identifying, sourcing and purchasing materials (e.g. coatings, paints, sealants, adhesives, insulation etc), products (e.g. panels, carpets) and furnishings used in renovation work must specify that such materials, products and furnishings meet low emission criteria, and integrate this into the purchasing process and decision-making process when selecting contractors.
Individuals who are involved with the oversight of the renovation project must ensure that current emission rates are being incorporated into the purchasing process. Product emission rates are available through various agencies such as US EPA and industry specific associations (i.e. Carpet and Rug Institute). Review the general information provided by the product labels and the material safety data sheet (MSDS).
Ensure that MSDSs for all of the products and chemicals used during the renovation are at the work site.
Review plans that may involve increases in the number of occupants (i.e. occupant load), relocation of walls/partitions, installation of new equipment or changes in the use of space to ensure that from an air quality perspective:
Where possible and practical, reduce the emissions and/or the impact of volatile organic contaminants from new carpets and furnishings by:
To maintain acceptable indoor air quality and to mitigate potential health related concerns during renovation work, city personnel with oversight responsibility for the renovation work need to:
In the event that management of the affected area becomes aware of health & safety concerns associated with the renovation work, such concerns are to be communicated to city personnel overseeing the project for his/her action.
Occupational Health & Safety Co-ordinating Committee (OHSCC), December 11, 2001
Reviewed by OHSCC: November 26, 2008, June 24, 2014 & April 26, 2016
Executive Management Team (EMT), February 18, 2002
February 18, 2002
April 26, 2016