BS 8485:2015 -Code of practice for the design of protective measures for methane and carbon dioxide ground gases for new buildings

Toxic, asphyxiating or explosive gases can leak from the ground and accumulate in buildings, posing health risks. This standard describes how to characterize sites and prevent the entry of carbon dioxide and methane into new buildings – and it has now been substantially expanded and revised to reflect changes in good practice and reference other standards since the last edition was published in 2007. 

Hazardous gases may be present in the ground naturally, or from contamination, mine working or buried wastes. Two of the major risks are methane, which is flammable and an asphyxiant, and carbon dioxide, which is toxic and an asphyxiant.

BS 8485:2015 provides guidance on site investigation, determining ground gas parameters and using those to identify protective design solutions. It is not prescriptive – recognising that there are many factors involved, that a range of design solutions are available for different situations, and that professional judgement is often needed. Emphasis is placed on justification and recording of risk assessments and design decisions.

The standard has now been rewritten and much expanded - from 19 pages to 87. It includes clearer guidance on interpreting gas monitoring data and selecting membranes, changes to gas protection scores, and many new features such as:

  • Worked examples for a range of conditions and building types
  • Flow charts to guide the user
  • A method of site characterization without gas monitoring data 

Note that the standard applies to new buildings only, and is focused on carbon dioxide and methane. It does not provide recommendations for other hazardous ground gases, although new annexes do give guidance on relevant references for radon and volatile organic compounds.

BS 8485 will be indispensable for builders, developers, architects and engineers; manufacturers of products such as membranes; regulators and local authorities; environmental health officers and building control officers.

Please note that this standard will be available soon.

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