Huntingdonshire District Council HQ still too dry

16:00 23 January 2014

Huntingdonshire District Council.

Huntingdonshire District Council.

Archant

Staff at Huntingdonshire District Council’s headquarters might have to find space on their desks for humidifiers to solve the ­building’s low humidity problem.

Water vapour measurements taken at the £16.5million Pathfinder House in Huntingdon between November 2012 and January last year revealed ­relative humidity “routinely fell below” the recommended level.

The Chartered Institute of Building Service Engineers suggests a relative humidity of 60 per cent, while anything under 50 per cent could impact on people’s health.

Further tests were carried out in August when 43 measurements were taken on nine days in the two buildings.

The levels were higher than previously, but, according to a HDC Safety Advisory Group report, still “cause for concern” and often low enough to cause “adverse health effects”.

Reporting to the advisory group in September, the council’s environmental health officer Keith Lawson said action had to be taken “to provide a comfortable working environment”.

Now the council is considering offering staff who report ­problems with humidity “desk-bound” humidifiers.

Any further work looks to have been ruled out by the Chief Officers Management Team after three quotes were obtained but not acted on.

It is thought the problem with humidity was discovered after an officer complained about their contact lenses drying out. Humidity had not been included in the original build specification.

The minutes of the advisory group’s latest meeting are due to be discussed at tomorrow’s (Thursday) HDC cabinet meeting.

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